Call for Proposals: Climate Change AI Innovation Grants 2023

We are proud to announce the winners of the 2023 Innovation Grants Program!
More information here.

Quick facts

The purpose of this grant

Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) can help support climate change mitigation and adaptation, as well as climate science, across many different areas, for example energy, agriculture, forestry, climate modeling, and disaster response (for a broader overview of the space, please refer to Climate Change AI’s interactive topic summaries and materials from previous events). However, impactful research and deployment have often been held back by a lack of data and other essential infrastructure, as well as insufficient knowledge transfer between relevant fields and sectors.

The relationship between AI and climate change is also nuanced, and can manifest in various ways that either contribute to or counteract climate action. Thus, the use of AI for climate action must be performed responsibly, and ideally with quantifiable impacts.

With the support of Quadrature Climate Foundation, DeepMind, and Global Methane Hub, we are excited to announce funding of USD 1.2M for projects at the intersection of AI and climate change. We are also grateful to the Canada Hub of Future Earth for serving as the fiscal sponsor for this program.

Grant information

This program will allocate grants of up to USD 150K for conducting research projects of 1 year in duration. Research projects shall leverage AI or machine learning to address problems in climate change mitigation, adaptation, or climate science, or shall consider problems related to impact assessment and governance at the intersection of climate change and machine learning.

Along with the project, the grantees must publish a documented dataset (or simulator), which was created by collating, labeling, and/or annotating existing data, and/or by collecting, simulating, or otherwise making available new data that can enable further research. We require the dataset to comply with the FAIR Data Principles (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable).

Projects are expected to result in a deployed project, scientific publications, or other public dissemination of results, and should include a carefully considered pathway to impactful deployment. All grant IP — e.g., the dataset/simulator produced and (if applicable) trained models or detailed descriptions of architectures and training procedures — must be made publicly available under an open license.

Relevant research includes but is not limited to the following topics:

For context, a list of the research projects funded during the 2022 Innovation Grants cycle is available here.

Proposals focused on using AI/ML to address climate change mitigation in the electric power sector (including, but not limited to Optimal Power Flow and related multi-level problems like Unit Commitment) may also optionally request support from a DeepMind Engineer, in addition to the financial award. Applicants who may be interested in taking advantage of this option will be asked to indicate this in the CMT submission form.


Each application must have a Principal Investigator (PI) who is affiliated with an accredited university in an OECD Member country. The PI must be eligible to hold grants under their name at their accredited university; this may include, e.g., faculty, postdocs, or research scientists (depending on the institution). There are no eligibility restrictions on co-Investigators, and multi-country and multi-sectoral collaborations are encouraged (e.g., including members outside OECD Member countries or from non-research institutions).

Current members of the Climate Change AI Board of Directors and Climate Change AI staff cannot apply to this grant as a PI, and they may not receive funds towards their own salary. Program Chairs and Meta-Reviewers for this grant may not apply or receive funds in any way (however, Reviewers may, and conflicts of interest will be appropriately managed during the review process).

We do not fund research activity that is currently funded by other grant programs. If other grant proposals for the same project have been submitted and/or are under consideration, the relation of the present proposal to those other proposals needs to be clearly explained. If the proposal is selected for funding, no aspect of a project should be double funded by other funding bodies.


Activity Date
Call release date Nov 2, 2022
Informational webinars Dec 19, 2022 - view recording
Jan 19, 2023 - view recording
Proposal submission deadline Mar 1, 2023
Notification of results May 15, 2023
Award start date Aug 15, 2023
Award end date Aug 15, 2024

Selection criteria

Proposals will be reviewed through a single-blind process by independent reviewers.

Projects will be evaluated on the following criteria:

In addition, the following aspects will be considered favorably during the review process:

Across the full cohort of grantees, we will additionally seek to allocate grants to represent multiple sectors of climate change mitigation and adaptation, as well as coverage across many geographic regions.

Application instructions

All applications must be received by March 1st, 2023 at 23:59 (Anywhere on Earth time, UTC-12). Applications should be made via the CMT website, which will require the following information.

Basic information. The CMT submission portal will require the title and abstract of the proposal; the name, affiliation, and country of affiliation of the Principal Investigator; the names, affiliations, and countries of affiliation of any co-Investigators; and additional short declarations about the project. The first name in the CMT author list will be treated as the Principal Investigator. Only one Principal Investigator may be named, but there is no limit on the number of co-Investigators. Please note that the institution of the Principal Investigator will be used to determine eligibility, and will be responsible for receipt and any further distribution of the funds if a grant is awarded.

Project Description. A detailed description of the project (maximum 12 pages including figures/tables, using no smaller than 12pt font size, single line spacing, and 1 inch margins), with unlimited additional pages allowed for references. The Project Description should be submitted as one PDF attachment via CMT, and include the following subsections (please use the same order and headers to separate the subsections):

Budget and Budget Justification. An itemized Budget (1 page) indicating the total amount requested and how these funds will be used if a grant is awarded, and a brief Budget Justification (1 page) of these amounts, submitted as one PDF file through CMT. Eligible expenses include salaries for Investigators, students, and other research staff; materials, equipment, software, and compute; and expenses associated with conferences and other project-related travel. The Budget should also indicate any institutional overhead, at a maximum rate of 10% of the total amount requested. If this project has other sources of funding, the Budget should make clear which research activities are proposed to be funded by the present grant, and which research activities are funded by other sources. Please note that funds will be contracted solely to the accredited university with which the Principal Investigator is affiliated; any further dissemination of funds to partner institutions must be managed by the lead institution.

We encourage you to use this Budget Template and adapt it to your project needs by adding or subtracting lines and/or columns to it.

CVs of key personnel. CVs for the Principal Investigator and all co-Investigators, as a single PDF file (no page limit).

About Climate Change AI

Climate Change AI is a nonprofit initiative to catalyze impactful work at the intersection of climate change and machine learning. Since it was founded in June 2019, CCAI has inspired, informed, and connected thousands of individuals from across academia, industry, and the public sectors, through its foundational reports on AI and climate change, networking and knowledge-sharing events, educational initiatives, and global grants programs. See our website for further details.



Q: What is the definition of “university” under the eligibility criteria?
A: We define a university to be an accredited, degree-granting non-profit institution.

Q: What counts as an OECD Member country under the eligibility criteria of this grant?
A: This refers to the 38 OECD Member countries listed on the OECD website. These countries are: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Korea, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Türkiye, United Kingdom, United States.

Q: I am not an AI or ML expert; can I apply?
A: Yes, as long as your project includes an aspect of AI/ML which addresses one of the areas described in “Purpose of this grant”. You may want to consider finding an AI or ML expert to collaborate with; our workshops, online discussion platform, happy hours, and community directory could be helpful for this.

Q: I am not a climate expert; can I apply?
A: Yes, as long as your project addresses a problem of climate change, with a pathway to impact clearly described. You may want to consider finding an expert in the relevant climate-related domain to collaborate with; our workshops, online discussion platform, happy hours, and community directory could be helpful for this.

Q: I’m from a non-OECD Member country but currently at an institution in an OECD Member country; can I apply?
A: Yes, as the funds will be disbursed through your institution, not to you directly.

Q: I’m from an OECD Member country but currently at an institution in a non-OECD Member country; can I apply?
A: At this time, you unfortunately cannot apply as a Principal Investigator; for logistical reasons, we are currently only able to disburse funds to institutions in OECD Member countries. However, you may participate as a co-Investigator in a grant proposal, provided the Principal Investigator meets the eligibility requirements. Our workshops, online discussion platform, happy hours, and community directory could be helpful in finding collaborators.

Q: I’ve been affiliated with Climate Change AI in the past, been a co-author with members of Climate Change AI, or otherwise involved with Climate Change AI. Can I apply?
A: Yes, except under specific circumstances. Specifically, Program Chairs and Meta-Reviewers for this grant may not apply or receive funds in any way (however, Reviewers may). Current members of the Climate Change AI Board of Directors cannot apply to this grant as a PI, and they may not receive funds towards their own salary. Other Climate Change AI affiliates are welcome to apply in any capacity.

Q: Are doctoral students eligible to be the PI at an eligible lead institution?
A: Anyone who is eligible to be the PI according to the policies of the lead institution is eligible from our perspective. We recommend that you check with your university directly regarding their policies on who can be a PI.

Q: By the grant start date, I will be eligible to hold grants under my name at an accredited university in an OECD Member country. However, at the time I submit my grant proposal, I will not yet be eligible to do so. Can I still apply as the PI on a proposal?
A: This is dependent on the policy of the university at which you seek to hold the grant. We recommend that you check with the university directly.

Q: Am I eligible to apply for these funds if I have applied to other sources for the same research activity?
A: The exact same research activity cannot be double funded. However, this grant may be used to fund a component of a project whose other components are under consideration or have received funding from other sources. This structure should be clearly described in your budget.

Q: Can I apply multiple times with different projects?
A: Yes, you are welcome to apply multiple times. However, as mentioned above, we will seek to select a cohort of grantees “to represent multiple sectors of climate change mitigation and adaptation, as well as coverage across many geographic regions.” This may in turn reduce the probability of multiple proposals from the same team being funded.

Q: I applied for the 2022 Innovation Grants program and my proposal was rejected. Can I apply again with the same proposal?
A: Yes, you are welcome to apply with the same proposal. However, make sure to include relevant updates, including an updated budget and justification.

Q: I participate(d) in a project funded by a previous CCAI Innovation Grants program. Am I still eligible to apply for the current cycle of the Innovation Grants program?
A: Yes, PIs and co-PIs who already received a grant in a previous year are eligible to apply for the current cycle of the CCAI Innovation Grants. There are two avenues: (i) apply with a new project proposal; or (ii) propose a continuation of an existing project. Re-applying for a grant with the exact same work that has already been funded by the Innovation Grants program is not allowed.

Q: What organizations are eligible to be deployment partners?
A: There are no restrictions on the types of organizations that are allowed to be deployment partners. For example, they can be private companies, public institutions, non-governmental organizations, governmental organizations, or intergovernmental organizations. However, organizations that are subject to United States export control restrictions are not eligible to be deployment partners (see, e.g., the US International Trade Administration Consolidated Screening List). Additionally, per the stipulations of CCAI’s US 501(c)(3) nonprofit status, projects we fund cannot entail political lobbying or campaigning for political candidates.

Application and review process

Q: Can I send my application via email?
A: No, all applications must be via CMT.

Q: Do I need to use a particular software, like LaTeX or Word, to write the proposal?
A: No, you may use any software to write the proposal, as long as it follows the requirements on length, font, line spacing, and margins.

Q: When submitting my project via CMT, may I select multiple subject areas that my project falls under?
A: Yes, we encourage you to select all subject areas relevant to your project in order to help us identify the most appropriate reviewers.

Q: Is review of the proposals double-blind?
A: No, the review process is single-blind (reviewers’ identities are hidden from proposal authors, but proposal authors’ identities are visible to reviewers). Proposals are encouraged to be very specific about their pathway to impact, and this is likely to contain de-anonymizing information that reviewers would need in order to evaluate the feasibility of the proposed project.


Q: I’m uncertain about the start and end dates for my project. What should I do?
A: Just give your best guess, with an explanation of the reasons for your uncertainty if you believe it would help in evaluating your proposal.

Q: Are the start and end dates of the grant fixed, or can I propose different dates?
A: While we definitely prefer that projects commence and end on the posted start and end dates, we understand that this may be difficult in certain circumstances. In such circumstances, we are willing to consider adjusted timelines that make more sense for a particular project. Please be sure to justify any proposed adjustments to the timeline within your application so we can appropriately take this into account. Please note also that proposals with custom start/end dates may be subject to bespoke additional reporting requirements and would need to be able to report at least some substantive progress before the currently-posted end date of Aug 15, 2024.

Q: By when do I need to publish my dataset?
A: By the end of the year-long grant, there should be a well-defined plan for data release, with data released no later than one year after the completion of the grant.

Q: When will project funds be disbursed?
A: The grant will be contracted solely to the accredited university with which the Principal Investigator is affiliated. The funds will be disbursed in one transfer, after signing the grant agreement and prior to (or around) the start date of the project. Any further dissemination of funds to partner institutions must be managed by the lead institution.

Q: Can we request a no-cost extension on the grant if the funding is not used up by the end of the project period?
A: We prefer that projects commence and end on the posted start and end dates. However, if there are special and unforeseen circumstances, we are able to consider no-cost extensions of up to a year.


Q: My project would require a budget greater than the maximum allowed (USD 150K). What should I do?
A: In order to distribute grants equitably and fund a larger number of projects, we will not allocate more than USD 150K to a single project. You should describe and apply to us for a USD 150K portion of your project, and apply for additional funding elsewhere. Additional funding sources are allowed, as long as no aspect of the project is double-funded by other funding bodies. Make sure to describe this in your budget, including any additional funding sources you have secured or intend to apply to.

Q: Will you consider proposals that request less than the maximum budget?
A: We will consider project proposals with any budget up to USD 150K. The amount of funding requested is not a criterion on which your proposal will be assessed, and it will not influence our evaluation of your project. We recommend you to propose the budget that you actually need to carry out the project.

Q: My institution takes an overhead greater than 10% of the grant. Am I still eligible to apply?
A: You are still eligible to apply, but you will need to obtain an exemption from your institution regarding overhead, as your institution will not be allowed to take more than 10% overhead.

Q: How is the 10% cap on overhead defined?
A: The overhead should be at most 10% of the total amount requested, and this overhead amount should be internal to the total budget requested. For example, if the total budget proposed is $150K, then at least $135K must be direct project costs, and at most $15K can be overhead.

Q: Is my project allowed to be funded by multiple sources?
A: The proposed project may have multiple funding sources that fund different aspects of the project and/or different sub-projects. However, no aspect of a project should be double funded by other funding bodies.

Q: Does the grant have a cost sharing requirement (i.e., a requirement that the PI supply some percentage of matching funds from another source within the project budget)?
A: No, there is no cost sharing requirement.

Q: Are the costs associated with developing digital apps using AI/ML, such as licensing and software costs, an eligible expense?
A: Yes, the grant can cover the development of digital apps and their associated cost. We also encourage you to discuss this in the “pathway to impact” section of your proposal.

Q: Is equipment cost an eligible expense? Do we need to account for depreciation?
A: Equipment needed to realize your project is considered an eligible expense. Depreciation does not need to be accounted for in the budget.

Q: Can field data collection costs be included in the project budget?
A: Yes, field data collection costs are an eligible expense.

Q: May I use my own format for the budget, rather than using the provided template?
A: Yes, you may.

Scope and relevance

Q: Does this grant call include other environmental or social issues that do not directly pertain to climate change?
A: All proposals should clearly describe the relevance to climate change, as well as the pathway to impact for the climate problem. As problems of climate change intersect with a host of other issues, we welcome grantees to lean into these connections and consider their project holistically.

Q: Does the machine learning proposed in the project need to be ‘novel’?
A: No, in the sense that it is perfectly acceptable to use a previously published ML algorithm or architecture. However, the scientific knowledge generated in this project (e.g. trying the previously published ML technique in a novel setting, combining existing techniques in a novel way, etc.) should be novel, i.e., informative and not previously published.

Q: Will the development of novel AI/ML techniques be considered a strength of the proposal?
A: The development of novel AI/ML techniques will not be considered a strength in and of itself. Projects should employ or address AI/ML in a way that is well-motivated and well-scoped for the problem setting, which may or may not include the development of novel techniques.

Q: The pathway to impact for my project is highly speculative. Will this hurt my proposal?
A: We encourage submissions anywhere on the spectrum from guaranteed-but-small impact to high-risk/high-reward. The important part for evaluation is that you thoroughly and accurately describe the pathway to impact, including your level of uncertainty about any aspects, and take steps to reduce or address uncertainty where possible. E.g., it may hurt your proposal if the speculation is due to lack of domain research, but not if it is due to irreducible uncertainty about future outcomes, physical processes, etc.

Q: My proposed project involves human or animal experimentation that requires explicit ethics approval. Does getting the grant provide this approval?
A: No. You should include in your project description (and budget, if appropriate) any approvals or regulatory oversight necessary for your project, and obtaining those are your responsibility.

Q: Do the projects have to address global-scale problems, or can they address national and/or regional problems?
A: We do not have a preference on the particular geographical scope of the project, beyond its implications for evaluation of the selection criteria listed above. Past winners of the grants program have addressed a diverse range of geographical scopes and locations. We suggest that project teams propose the geographical scope that makes the most sense for their project.

Dataset and Deliverables

Q: Does the dataset have to be for supervised learning?
A: Not at all. In order to enable future impactful work, do ensure that you clearly describe the way you intend the dataset or simulator to be used.

Q: What constitutes publication of a dataset?
A: The dataset must be publicly released in a way that complies with the FAIR Data Principles (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable). This may take a different forms depending on what makes sense for your project (e.g., a static vs. a dynamic dataset).

Q: What deliverables do you expect from governance- and/or impact-assessment-related projects?
A: All of the grant IP has to be made publicly available, and that includes a dataset if it has been created. For governance- and impact-assessment-related projects, we recognize that sometimes there will not be a relevant dataset, in which case the dataset publication requirement can be waived.

Q: In addition to dataset creation, is the creation of open-source software or frameworks desirable?
A: We encourage the creation and dissemination of project components that will catalyze further work at the intersection of climate change and ML. This includes, but is not limited to, datasets and simulators, open-source software and models, digital apps, research publications, etc.


Q: What is climate change mitigation?
A: Climate change mitigation refers to the reduction of greenhouse gases in order to reduce the extent of climate change. As described by the IPCC Working Group III, this “is achieved by limiting or preventing greenhouse gas emissions and by enhancing activities that remove these gases from the atmosphere.” For examples of where AI and ML can help with climate change mitigation, please see Climate Change AI’s report on “Tackling Climate Change with Machine Learning.”

Q: What is climate change adaptation?
A: Climate change adaptation refers to activities that aim to prepare for or build resilience to the conditions created by climate change. For more information, please see resources from the IPCC Working Group II. For examples of where AI and ML can help with climate change adaptation, please see Climate Change AI’s report on “Tackling Climate Change with Machine Learning.”

Q: What is climate science?
A: Climate science is the study of the environmental processes that determine past, present, and future climate. For more information, please see resources from the IPCC Working Group I. For examples of where AI and ML can help with climate science, please see Climate Change AI’s report on “Tackling Climate Change with Machine Learning” as well as the proceedings of the Conference on Climate Informatics.

Q: What is meant by AI and ML?
A: Artificial intelligence (AI) refers to any algorithm that allows a computer to perform a complex task — typically, tasks such as speech, perception, and reasoning that are associated with human intelligence. Machine learning (ML) is a sub-area of AI referring to techniques whose behaviors or outcomes depend on “learning” — corrections or changes made as a result of seeing examples or descriptions — rather than being hard-coded in advance. ML is used to describe a wide variety of techniques that range in their complexity, including, e.g., linear regression, decision trees, and deep neural networks.

Q: The project evaluation criteria refer to “equity.” What is meant by “equity” in this context?
A: The word “equity” in this case refers to considerations of diversity, equity, and inclusion (rather than, e.g., the financial meaning of the term).


Q: Have you published the names and titles of winning projects of the Innovation Grants program from last year?
A: Yes, you can read about research projects funded during the 2022 Innovation Grants program in our blog post. In addition, you can find blog posts from some of the 2022 grantees by searching using the phrase “Innovation Grants” in the Text Search box on the CCAI blog.

Q: What happens if the PI of a proposal changes universities after applying for this grant (with their original institution as the lead institution), but before the grant start date?
A: We are willing to consider switches in the lead institution as long as the lead institution is an accredited university in an OECD Member Country and the PI is eligible to hold grants at the lead institution. Changes to the roles and composition of the team in order to satisfy the eligibility criteria (e.g., rearranging who is a PI vs. a co-PI on the grant) may also be admissible. In all cases, the PI of the proposal should notify us as soon as possible about any changes by emailing us at

Q: I have a question that isn’t answered here. What should I do?
A: Please contact us at


Supported By

Fiscal Sponsor