Compute for Climate Fellowship Announces Inaugural Winners and Opens Applications for 2024

Published on March 26, 2024

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The program funds proof of concepts for new ideas leveraging advanced cloud computing, including generative AI, to solve some of the biggest challenges in the fight against climate change.

The International Research Centre on Artificial Intelligence (IRCAI), an organization under the auspices of UNESCO, and Amazon Web Services, Inc. (AWS) today announced the first cohort of startups selected to join the Compute for Climate Fellowship, a global program supporting entrepreneurs applying advanced cloud computing and artificial intelligence (AI) to create new solutions that address the climate crisis. The four startups selected to receive a fully-funded proof-of-concept (POC) are:

  • Coastal Carbon is an AI-driven measurement platform that builds models using satellite imagery to track and measure underwater vegetation growth and carbon sequestration. The Compute for Climate-funded POC will train satellite-agnostic foundation models of earth and sea that can identify and quantify ocean blue carbon. This will help increase transparency and trust in ocean carbon removal, facilitating up to 1,000 times increase in ocean monitoring and data collection capacity, which was previously done manually by divers.
  • Phytoform Labs uses biotechnology, AI, and agriculture to develop novel crop genetics that create more climate resilient plants. Phytoform’s Compute for Climate-funded POC will enhance accuracy of its plant genetics insights platform to evolve new crop characteristics that will make plants more climate resilient.
  • Realta Fusion is developing compact magnetic mirror fusion energy systems to decarbonize industrial heat and power. Realta’s Compute for Climate-funded POC will develop a first-of-a-kind plasma stability simulation in the cloud, helping to democratize access for the whole fusion industry.
  • Xatoms, is a water treatment startup using AI and quantum computing to discover molecules that can purify polluted water. Xatom’s Compute for Climate-funded POC to develop a new AI algorithm capable of analyzing a large amount of chemical data, followed by simulations of novel molecules that can purify water.

“The competition was intense, and we diligently worked to select the very best. The Compute for Climate Fellowship is a testament to the power of collaboration and innovation between research, industry, and startups in addressing climate change. We are inspired by the ingenuity and dedication of the winners and look forward to seeing their projects come to fruition,” said Davor Orlic, Chief Operating Officer of IRCAI. “Through this collaboration with IRCAI and AWS, each of these innovative startups will build their POCs state-of-the-art AI solutions based on ethical AI principles to address some of the key challenges created by the climate crisis. IRCAI is also proud to give the startups access to its R&D expertise via its scientific programme committee on AI & Climate Change, and experts in the RAIDO and NAIXUS networks of AI excellence Centers in AI and sustainable development.”

The Compute for Climate Fellowship was announced in July 2023 and the first call for applications received ideas from startups in 24 countries around the world, including solutions that span the gamut of climate action, including sustainable agriculture, renewable energy optimization, biodiversity protection, and climate risk management. These projects not only represent innovative approaches to combating climate change, but also underscore the critical role of technology in shaping a sustainable future. The winners were selected for their potential to deliver tangible impact, scalability, and potential contribution to reducing carbon emissions globally.

“Speed is critical to addressing the climate crisis and this program focuses on accelerating the creation of new solutions which have the potential to ignite significant change,” said Howard Wright, Vice President and Global Head of Startups at AWS. “Each of the selected fellows are leveraging the full extent of AWS’s tech stack to tackle some of the most complex climate issues today—from fusion power to clean water and drought-resilient crops, and more. By helping them with access to the latest technologies, like generative AI, and expertise they need to get these solutions out in the world, we hope to spur a movement to support more ideas that can help us build a sustainable future.”

Next Round of Applications

Applications for the 2024 POC builds are now open. Climate tech startups, entrepreneurs, and researchers from around the world are welcome to submit ideas that use advanced computing technologies to address climate change mitigation or adaptation. This year, the program is expanding the scope of proposals to cover the following key areas:

  1. Clean Energy
  2. Low-Carbon Transportation
  3. Sustainable Agriculture and Food
  4. Circular Economy / Manufacturing / Industry
  5. Sustainable Buildings
  6. Greenhouse Gas accounting and sustainability management
  7. Carbon removal
  8. Environment (water, pollution, biodiversity) and climate risk

The program will offer funding, technical resources, mentorship, and access to AWS technologies and IRCAI research capacity to help turn innovative ideas into reality. This year,  AWS will fund up to $1.5 million in total AWS credits to fund the selected POCs for the Compute for Climate Fellowship.

Submissions received by June 7, 2024, will be considered for building this year. The selection process will prioritize projects that can be completed in 2-3 months, think big, and offer potential for significant environmental benefits, scalability, and alignment with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

Startups that apply but are not selected to join the program will have access to up to $5,000 in AWS credits through the AWS Activate program, as well as free workshops and training on how to use AWS Advanced Compute services to build their solutions. They will also be invited to join the IRCAI Industrial Club.

For more information on the fellowship, application guidelines, and success stories from the inaugural winners, visit


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International Research Centre
on Artificial Intelligence (IRCAI)
under the auspices of UNESCO 

Jožef Stefan Institute
Jamova cesta 39
SI-1000 Ljubljana


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