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Google.org Impact Challenge on Climate Innovation

Let’s work together to build innovative climate solutions

The Google.org Impact Challenge on Climate Innovation commits $30M to fund big bet projects that accelerate technological advances in climate information and action. Selected organizations may receive up to $5M in funding, along with access to Google’s technical expertise and products, to accelerate progress toward a more sustainable and resilient future.

About the challenge

At Google, we believe that when it comes to solving a problem as big and urgent as climate change, we get more done when we work together.

We want to support the work of nonprofits, experts, and organizations around the world that will accelerate advances in climate information and action. We are looking for solutions that help the global community illuminate previously opaque climate challenges and enable collective climate actions. Past Google.org supported initiatives help map emissions on a global scale, restore ecosystems, and enable small businesses to understand their carbon footprint.

Applications for the Google.org Impact Challenge on Climate Innovation are now open.

Application criteria

  • Ambition

    We are looking for transformational solutions that have potential for global impact. While your idea does not need to immediately reach millions of people globally, you should articulate how it could ultimately do so. We encourage collaboration between multiple organizations, as coalitions may be helpful for achieving the scale of solutions we’re hoping to support.

  • Impact

    Projects should drive tangible, real world impact for both the climate and people. The proposal should explain how it will tackle climate change and/or the extent to which it will support others to do so too. Successful applications will be grounded in data and research.

  • Innovative use of technology

    Ideas should apply technology by creating or enabling new solutions and approaches. Applications can also propose innovative applications of existing technology - solutions that apply AI and machine learning are encouraged!

  • Feasibility

    Successful proposals will have well-developed and realistic execution plans supported with the resources and expertise needed for implementation. Taking on big, scalable ideas with technology at their core is difficult, and we look for teams that are equipped to implement the proposed project.

How it works

  • Organizations apply

    All eligible organizations will submit a project proposal for how they would use funding and additional Google support to meaningfully address a key climate challenge.

  • Organizations selected

    Google.org, along with partners and experts, review and select the top applicants as possible projects.

  • Funding and support

    Selected organizations will receive significant funding, along with access to Google’s technical expertise and products, to accelerate progress toward a more sustainable and resilient future.

Join a workshop

We hosted an online workshop to help organizations understand how to submit a strong and well-crafted application.

Please watch an on-demand recording of the workshop here.

Previously funded climate projects

Google has been committed to supporting organizations that are working on climate-related challenges. Here are some projects already underway:

Google’s commitment to sustainability

At Google, we are committed to working together to build a more sustainable future for everyone. By organizing information about our planet, and making it actionable through technology, we help people make a more positive impact together.

Learn more about sustainability at Google.

Photo by Iwan Baan for Google
Photo by Iwan Baan for Google

FAQS

About

What is the Google.org Impact Challenge on Climate Innovation?

The Google.org Impact Challenge (GIC) is an open call to nonprofits, social enterprises, universities and research institutions around the world to submit their ideas for projects that accelerate progress in climate information and action. Selected organizations will receive $5M USD in funding, along with access to Google’s technical expertise and products.

What do you mean by “Climate Innovation”?

Building off of Google.org’s Impact Challenge on Climate in 2020, we are looking for solutions that expand our understanding of climate change through data, thereby informing our actions and strategies – projects that map emissions on a global scale; that show people the most effective places to restore ecosystems; that help small businesses understand their carbon footprint.

Why is Google hosting the Google.org Impact Challenge on Climate Innovation?

Open data and advanced digital tools, including AI and machine learning, are unlocking the information governments, researchers and nonprofits need to take quick and decisive action – and ensure those actions have results. We believe there’s a unique opportunity now to bring the best of what technology can offer to ensure we have the information and tools we all need.

When is the Google.org Impact Challenge on Climate Innovation?

We will accept applications beginning on 23 June 2022 and applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis. The organizations selected to receive funding will be announced no earlier than November 2022.

What will funding recipients receive? How big will the funding be?

Selected organizations will receive $5M in funding and Google and its partners will provide customized support to help bring projects to life.

What if I still have questions after reading the FAQs?

Please contact us at climateinnovation-challenge@google.com.

Entry & eligibility

Who is eligible?

The Challenge is open to any not-for-profit charity, other not-for-profit organization, public or private academic or research institution, or for-profit social enterprise company with a project that has an explicit charitable purpose. Your organization must have a registered office in your country of residence. Organizations located in Crimea, Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Russia, the so-called Donetsk People's Republic (DNR) and Luhansk People's Republic (LNR), or Syria and projects in those countries are not eligible to apply. Unfortunately, individuals without organizational affiliation are ineligible.

Can we apply if we’re a for-profit business with a social impact?

For-profit businesses that are registered or formed under the laws of one of the eligible countries may apply if their suggested project has an explicit charitable purpose and they are willing to open source any IP created (or distributed) with the funding.

Can my organization submit a joint application with another organization?

Yes, we welcome and encourage collaboration between multiple organizations - especially between technical and social sector experts - as coalitions may be helpful for achieving the scale of solutions we’re hoping to support.

Only one organization may be the applicant of record, but the application allows you to specify partners who will be critical to your work. If your application is selected to receive funding, the applicant organization will be the sole recipient of the funding, but it may sub-fund or subcontract with other organizations to complete the proposed project as long as all organizations comply with the terms of the funding agreement.

In what language should I submit my application?

Applications must be submitted in English. We are able to work with organizations with varying levels of English ability throughout the review and selection process, but please note that post-funding support for selected organizations will be in English.

Can my organization submit more than one idea?

We encourage you to strongly consider which project best resonates with our submission criteria and your organization’s strengths. However, if you have two unrelated projects that you feel would each make good candidates, please submit a separate application for each. We will review each project independently. No organization may submit more than two applications, except as described below.

What if I work for a large organization, like a university, that has many departments - can we submit multiple applications?

Large organizations like colleges and universities are permitted to submit multiple applications. In the case of colleges and universities, we ask that each Principal Investigator submit only one proposal. Please note, the Google.org Impact Challenge is not an opportunity to fund research proposals. We are looking for projects with clear visions and action plans to create inspiring end impact.

Confidential information / IP

Will details of the project idea we submit be kept confidential?

No. Google.org will not treat your application as confidential or proprietary, and the details of your project may be shared with internal or external experts to evaluate your proposal: please do not submit any proprietary or confidential information in your application. If your organization is selected to receive funding, your project summary will be made available to the public on the Google.org Impact Challenge website and/or other Google channels.

Who owns the intellectual property created by the funding recipients?

We believe that projects supported by our funding should be able to benefit everyone. If you are selected to receive funding, the standard funding agreement will require any intellectual property created with funding from Google.org be made available to the public for free under a permissive open source license. If your organization is invited to move forward in the selection process, and you have a compelling reason why your organization needs to own the intellectual property created with Google.org funding, you will have an opportunity to request an exception and provide support for your request.

Project info

What do you mean when you say “project”?

A project is your organization’s proposed concept and implementation plan for how you will help the global community illuminate previously opaque climate challenges and enable collective climate action. If selected as a recipient, funds will be supporting the implementation of this project - so we need to know exactly how the funding will help you realize your plan.

Can the project be in the idea stage? Does this have to be a new idea for my organization?

Yes - we’re happy to consider early-stage ideas with a clear and feasible plan for implementation that will benefit society. Ideas need not be brand new - in fact, they may already be a work in progress. In all cases, we would like to hear exactly how funding will change the trajectory of your progress toward implementation, scale, and impact.

If another organization is currently implementing a similar concept, can we still submit the idea?

Yes, but please note that projects will be evaluated in part on their innovative approach and potential to scale. Please tell us how and why your implementation is innovative for the community, why your organization is uniquely suited to implement the concept in a way that will be more successful, or how you plan to partner with other organizations to achieve success.

What kind of support will Google.org provide to help me implement my project?

Organizations selected for funding may be invited to workshops and other support programs to help progress their project, hosted by Google.org and external organizations. Google.org may also work with your organization to scope pro bono support or employee volunteer engagements to help you with certain aspects of your project. By submitting your project, you are agreeing to arrange for senior staff members to participate in any support program (either virtually or in-person) offered in relation to the funding.

Over what time period should the funds be spent?

We expect the funding to be spent over the course of 12 to 36 months.

Can the funding be used to fund overhead and staffing costs?

Yes, but the large majority of the award should be devoted to the implementation of the project. For-profit organizations may only use funds for staffing and overhead directly related to the charitable project. All organizations should have overhead expenses limited to 10% of the total budget or less. This maximum rate applies to the primary funding recipient, sub-grantees, and sub-contracts.

Process

Can I get a copy of the application questions before I fill out the application?

Yes, you can find a copy of the application questions here.

Can we include appendices or additional information to the application?

No, unfortunately we are not able to accept attachments or additional information beyond what is included in the application form.

Can I save a draft of my application on the site if I want to edit it later?

No. Applications can’t be saved for later completion, so we recommend drafting your responses in a separate document first and only completing the application form when the entire application is ready for submission.

How do I make sure my application is successfully submitted?

Make sure all required fields are populated and within the given word limits, then click the “Submit” button. If the application has been successfully submitted, you will see a screen with a message confirming that we received your application, and you will also receive a confirmation email sent to the email address you provided.

I’ve submitted my application. What do I do now?

That’s great news - thank you for applying. No further action is required. We’ll reach out if we require any additional information, and will announce the selected organizations when decisions have been made.

Do I need a Google account to apply?

No, you don’t need a Google account.

Will every single application be reviewed?

Yes, we will review all eligible applications received.

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