Google.org Impact Challenge on Climate call

As part of Google’s updated climate commitments the tech giant has committed €10M to fund ideas that use technology to accelerate Europe’s progress towards a greener, more resilient future. Last week Google also announced its ambitious aim to run its operations solely on carbon-free energy by 2030, and pledged to work with governments, utilities, and policymakers to drive system-level change.
The Google.org Impact Challenge on Climate will fund bold ideas that aim to use technology to accelerate Europe’s progress toward a greener, more resilient future. Selected organisations will receive funding from a €10M fund and customised post-grant support to help bring their ideas to life.

What is the Google.org Impact Challenge on Climate?
The Google.org Impact Challenge on Climate is an open call to support organisations throughout Europe who are working towards a greener, more resilient future. Google.org will provide grants to selected organisations out of a €10M fund.
We are looking to fund new and existing charitable projects across Europe that use technology and
innovation to accelerate Europe’s progress towards a greener, more resilient future. These are projects
that will mitigate the impacts of climate change in Europe and beyond, and increase communities’
resilience to its effects. We are looking for ideas that address topics like increased access to or use of
renewable energy, decarbonisation of transportation, improvements to air quality, natural resource
planning and protection, and circular economy and design.
When is the Google.org Impact Challenge on Climate?
From September 14 - November 6, 2020. The organisations selected to
receive grants will be announced no earlier than March 2021.
What will grant recipients receive? How big will the grants be?
Google.org will provide grants to selected organisations out of a €10M fund and customised post-grant
support to help bring their ideas to life. We expect each grant may range from €250,000 to €2,000,000, but will ultimately be allocated based on project needs. We encourage applicants to submit budgets that accurately reflect the scope of their proposal. Likewise, any additional resources provided will also be tailored to project needs.
Who is eligible?
The Challenge is open to any not-for-profit charity, other not-for-profit organisation, public or private
academic or research institution, or for-profit social enterprise company with a charitable project that is
located in one of the following countries: Albania, Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina,
Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Kosovo, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Montenegro, Netherlands, North Macedonia, Moldova, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, San Marino, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, and United Kingdom. Unfortunately, individuals without organisational affiliation are ineligible.
Can my organisation submit a joint application with another organisation?
Only one organisation may be the applicant of record, but we welcome and encourage collaboration -
especially between technical and social sector experts. The application allows you to specify partners
who will be critical to your work. If your application is selected to receive a grant, the applicant
organisation will be the sole recipient of the grant, but may subgrant or subcontract with other
organisations to complete the proposed project as long as all organisations comply with the terms of the grant agreement.

Project info

A project is your organisation’s proposed concept and implementation plan for how you will use
technology to accelerate progress towards a greener, more resilient future or support others to do so. If
selected for a grant, grant funds will be supporting the implementation of this project - so we need to
know exactly how the grant will help you realise your plan.
Can the project be in the idea stage? Does this have to be a new idea for my organisation?
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 a grant will change the trajectory of your progress toward
implementation, scale, and impact.
Over what time period should the grant funds be spent?
We expect the grant to be spent over the course of 12 to 36 months.
Can the grant 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 organisations may only use grant funds for staffing and overhead directly related to the charitable project. For universities and other academic institutions, overhead expenses should be limited to 10% of the total budget or less. This maximum rate applies to the primary grantee, sub-grantees, and sub-contractors.
What kind of support will Google provide to help me implement my project?
All selected grantees will be invited to participate in the Google for Startups Accelerator. By submitting
your project, you are agreeing to arrange for senior staff members to participate in the Accelerator
programme (either virtually or in-person).

EIT Climate-KIC will be partnering with Google on its Impact Challenge on Climate as well, https://www.climate-kic.org/news/eit-climate-kic-to-work-with-google-on-impact-challenge/.

More information is available here: https://impactchallenge-app.withgoogle.com/climate-challenge/#!/page/1, https://impactchallenge.withgoogle.com/site/static/climate2020/downloads/faqs_en.pdf,
https://impactchallenge.withgoogle.com/site/static/climate2020/downloads/application.pdf.
What do you think? @nadia, @matthias, @owen

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@bojanbobic ping

First idea that comes to mind: improving the food rescue app software that I started and have been working on for the last 6 months in a project outside the Edgeryders company. Could be well framed to fit the climate protection narrative, as food waste in all its forms is responsible for more than 20% of current global greenhouse gas emissions; that’s the result of my calculations here.

If others here like this idea, I’d gladly join writing the funding application. The application would be a collaboration with one of the two organizations maintaining this app so far, but Edgeryders OÜ can be the applicant.

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Hey what a cool project. I didn’t know about it before. So if you find old discarded food that still has a barcode on it and you scan it?

Thank you, John! This project was the reason why I didn’t have any time the last six months :smiley:

Then the software will provide you instructions how to assess if that food is still edible. The original idea was to tell people how long after the best-before date a food item is still edible, but that was rather too simplistic as it cannot take into account different conditions of storage and pure chance of something having mold spores on it (and becoming moldy) or not.

If you have an Android device at hand, you can install the app from Google Play and test it. The basic functionality and content is there in both English and German, but it’s not too useful right now because it needs to know about more products and be fed with more content about food assessment etc… Still, it will recognize about every third product from its barcode in Germany – and where not, people can also search tips by food category.

Also, the software works completely offline, not needing the Internet at all, because it has a database of 400,000 barcodes and categories of food items on the device. (I think I like this aspect the most, because it is very much against the trend of making everything depend on the Net and sending user data to all kinds of servers.)

So I’d say it’s a solid basis that deserves quite some refinement now :slight_smile:

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… more than 50% of ‘food were thrown away’ in households.

This surprised me a little, I imagined a lot more had to do with transportation and the distribution. How did you find, or get to, that figure for Germany? How could one estimate it for other contexts?

@zmorda ocilab

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This is from a study of University of Stuttgart, as quoted in a German newspaper article from May 2019. Here’s the relevant excerpt, translated to English:

That figure relates to ready-made food for human consumption, after harvest, measured in mass. That makes 12.7 million tons a lower estimate for food waste in Germany. It is also possible to calculate much more radically:

That makes meat eating part of the food waste problem, because meat production utilizes 10 calories of animal feed to make one calorie for human consumption, and it is often possible to use the same land to produce calories for direct human consumption.

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I think I like this idea. I took a look at the application form. Shall we have a chat to see what the proposal could be about?

Also had a look at the application form and now I think the idea is not suitable for this challenge. It’s in an earlier stage than what the Google Impact Challenge on Climate is looking for. We’d rather need a different funding opportunity. I’m now looking at the WFP Innovation Accelerator, which might be a better fit.

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@zmorda, this is relevant to Zeliji no?

Update: A workshop for potential applicants, organised by Google and EIT Climate-KIC, is taking place on 22 October 15:00 GMT, sign up here. Each selected grantee will receive funding between €250,000 and €2,000,000 and support from Google. EIT Climate-KIC is part of the jury. Applications are now open and will close on 6 November 2020. For more details about the application criteria, terms and FAQs, please visit the Challenge website .