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Grants and In-Kind Support to USA, Canada, and International NGOs, Researchers, and Inventors for AI Support for People with Disabilities

Generative AI for Accessibility


Agency
Corporation

GrantWatch ID#
211826

Funding Source
Microsoft
Array ( [0] => American Samoa (USA); [1] => Guam (USA); [2] => Puerto Rico (USA); [3] => Virgin Islands (USA); [4] => Northern Mariana Islands (USA); )

Geographic Focus
All USA
USA Territories: American Samoa (USA);   Guam (USA);   Puerto Rico (USA);   Virgin Islands (USA);   Northern Mariana Islands (USA);
USA Compact Free Associations:The Federated States of Micronesia (USA)   Marshall Islands (USA)   Republic of Palau (USA)
International, Israel and Canada.

Important Dates
Deadline: 01/12/24 11:59 PM PST Save

Grant Description
Grants and in-kind support to USA, Canada, and International NGOs, researchers, and inventors for AI initiatives to assist individuals with disabilities. Eligible projects, research, and products will primarily address one of the following themes: accessibility; independence and empowerment; and communication and language. Applications that address other disability empowerment topics will be considered as well.

An estimated 1.3 billion people, or 15% of the world’s population, have some form of disability. They are often marginalized and face numerous barriers to accessing education, employment, and other basic needs. Despite technological advancements, the disability community is still underserved in many areas. Microsoft wants to fund generative AI research, projects, and products that:

  • Center people living with disabilities and prioritize their needs;
  • Are culturally relevant to the target audience;
  • Prioritize privacy, take active measures to reduce bias, and protect the rights of users;
  • Use ethically-sourced data sets that are broadly inclusive and, most importantly, include data representative of people with diverse disabilities and sociodemographic backgrounds;
  • Offer support and resources that enable people with disabilities to have agency and be independent; and
  • Demonstrate a commitment to accessibility across the entire project lifecycle.

Examples: 

Here are some examples of how generative AI can be used for accessibility. These are only meant to give you a broad sense of consideration areas, you are encouraged to explore further.

  • Image captioning – Computer vision models allow for better interpretation of images, graphics and more. This can be beneficial to those who are blind and low vision as well as people with other disabilities (e.g. color vision, cognition).
  • Text summarization – Large Language Models have proven themselves to be quite good at analyzing large amounts of text and providing succinct synopses, bullet points, and the like. They can also be used to rewrite complex text in simpler, clearer language. These kinds of tools can be incredibly helpful for anyone, but excel as a cognitive aid.
  • Dynamic Audio Description – Generative audio could be used to smartly incorporate audio description into existing videos. These kinds of solutions can help people with vision disabilities get more out of video-based trainings and derive more enjoyment from video-based entertainment

In this RFP, Microsoft is focused on projects that relate to the themes below. They will, however, consider applications that address other disability empowerment topics, as well.

  • Theme 1: Accessibility for All
  • Theme 2: Communication and Language
  • Theme 3: Independence and Empowerment

For additional information regarding these themes, see: https://sway.office.com/JE0PoxRpU6FQwmMy



Recipient

Additional Eligibility Criteria
Applications are invited from developers, NGO’s, academics, researchers, and inventors. All countries are eligible.

Pre-Application Information
The last date to submit the application is 11:59 PM PST on January 12, 2024.

Selected proposals will be invited to present to a review panel in February 2024. The review panel will make final award decisions by the end of March 2024.

Only proposals that involve generative AI will be reviewed during this cycle. All applications must be in English.

To estimate the monetary value of Azure computing resources you need, use the Azure calculator: https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/pricing/calculator/

RFP: https://sway.office.com/JE0PoxRpU6FQwmMy

Estimated Size of Grant
- Funding: Grants cover costs related to collecting or labelling data, developing models, or other engineering-related work.
- Azure & Tech Consulting: Microsoft provides Azure compute credits worth $10,000, $15,000, or $20,000, as well as Azure developer support and resources.
- Mentoring: Microsoft assigns a mentor based on your grant topic to help maximize the potential of your project.
- Community: You will be included in a supportive community of current grantees and alumni.
- Amplification: Microsoft provides access to a support platform to craft and share your project more widely.

Term of Contract
Projects must be completed within 12 months of the grant award (approximately 1 April 2025).

Contact Information
Application: https://ai4prod.microsoftcrmportals.com/AIAcccessibilityGrantApplication/

If you have any questions about this RFP or the Microsoft Accessibility Innovation program, please email AI4AQues@microsoft.com

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