Two years ago, we announced AI for Humanitarian Action as part of the Microsoft AI for Good program, a $165 million initiative to help unlock the power of data and AI to address some of the biggest challenges facing society today. Since 2018, the need to accelerate the pace of innovation has increased rapidly due to growing inequality and the COVID-19 pandemic. Building on the progress of the past two years and the urgency of the moment, we’re expanding the program beyond nonprofits.
The program will provide up to USD$300,000 fair market value in Azure and data science services, including up to 1000 hours of engagement by data science experts and Azure enablement support. Nonprofits, United Nations Organizations, International Organizations, research, academic, and governmental organizations are eligible to submit project proposals. Private sector organizations can also apply if a nonprofit/humanitarian partner is directly engaged in the proposed project.
The AI for Accessibility program awards grants in areas that are vital for building a sustainable future:
Employment: The unemployment rate for people with disabilities is more than double that of people without. We see opportunities in using AI to help people develop more advanced skills in the workplace and evolve the culture around inclusive hiring.
Daily life: We see great opportunities in building modern solutions for people with disabilities by making software and devices smarter and more contextually relevant.
Communication and connection: Communication is fundamental to providing equal access to information and opportunities. Lack of options excludes some from employment, transport, housing, and other facets of society. Technology can create new possibilities regardless of how a person listens, speaks, or writes.