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Climate Data Initiative

Microsoft Azure for Research Award program

Climate Data InitiativePresident Obama announced a Climate Action Plan with a series of executive actions to predict, prepare for, and address the impacts of global climate change. One of the commitments from the President's Climate Action Plan launched the Climate Data Initiative, an ambitious new effort that will help give communities across the United States the information and tools they need to plan for current and future climate impacts.

Microsoft Research offers technology, tools, and collaboration opportunities to help researchers solve the toughest problems in geoscience and climate research. In response to the Climate Data Initiative, we launched a special opportunity request for proposals (RFP) through the Microsoft Azure for Research program.

Climate Data Award

We want to hear about your climate data projects using the cloud that can help transform the way we inform and prepare communities, businesses, and citizens. The Microsoft Azure for Research program will grant 12 months of free Microsoft Azure cloud computing resources with up to 180,000 hours of cloud computing time and 20 terabytes (TB) of cloud storage to be used for the project.

Application instructions

To apply for the Climate Data Initiative award, please provide a simple proposal that states the intent of your project with an explanation of how that project will use Microsoft Azure resources.

Please note the following application requirements:

  • Length: Your proposal should be no longer than three pages.
  • Title: The first word in your proposal title must be “CDI” to ensure that your proposal is considered for this award.
  • Submission: Submit your proposal via the online application form.
  • Deadline: Proposals can be submitted throughout the calendar year and are due on the 15th of even-numbered months. Proposals are then reviewed and award recipients are notified within four to eight weeks.
  • 2016 Proposal Deadlines 

    February 15 

    April 15

    June 15 

    August 15

    October 15

    December 15

Microsoft Research tools relevant to the Climate Data Initiative

Microsoft Research uses Microsoft Azure extensively to build projects that are highly relevant to the Climate Data Initiative. These include:

  • FetchClimate: This climate data-retrieval service provides past and present observations and future extrapolations.
  • Node Atlas: This cloud-based service facilitates ease of data entry and enables a new form of geospatial data exploration. Users can select and perform visual queries by drawing multiple overlapping polygons, lines, and points on a map interface. Search results are then retained both as answers and as the basis for new questions.
  • Layerscape: This cloud-based service enables data-driven storytelling by using a constellation of information management tools surrounding a powerful graphics engine.


Microsoft Research is one of the largest research organizations in the world with more than 1,100 scientists and engineers working in 13 labs across four continents. Our mission has stayed the same for more than 20 years: to advance the state of the art in computing through a combination of basic and applied research.

The reason is simple: innovation is the essence of Microsoft’s products and services. As our researchers solve the toughest problems in computing, share their ideas with the greater research community, and collaborate with Microsoft product groups, they are ensuring that the company—and the computing industry—will continue to find new ways for technology to enhance our world for years to come.

Microsoft Research has a long history of research relating to big data challenges—a major component of that involves our Earth, energy, and environment initiative, especially around geoscience and climate research; we are excited to participate in the Climate Data Initiative launch. We hope to explore and contribute to the translation of scientific research and information to practical use among policy- and decision-makers who are charged with anticipating, preparing for, and adapting to current and future impacts of climate change.