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Food Resilience Climate Data Initiative

Microsoft Azure for Research Award program

Food Resilience Climate Data InitiativeIn response to President Obama’s Climate Action Plan, Microsoft is offering a second Climate Data Initiative (CDI) Award program. This program supports the White House Climate Data Initiative’s goals of preparedness for and resilience to climate change impacts. The latest award will provide scientists and decision-makers with access to Microsoft Azure cloud-computing resources to develop innovative data-driven projects focused on the challenge of the resilience of food sources to climate change. This effort will help give communities across the United States the information and tools they need to plan for current and future climate impacts

The Microsoft Azure for Research program will grant 12 months of free cloud computing resources to 20 awardees selected from proposals submitted by the application deadline. Each award provides up to 180,000 hours of cloud computing time and 20 terabytes of cloud storage to be used for the project.

Application instructions

Researchers can apply to the Food Resilience Climate Data Award program by providing a simple proposal that states the intent of the project and an outline for how your project will use the 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 “Agriculture” to ensure that your proposal is considered for this award.
  • Submission: Use the online application form to submit your proposal.
  • Deadline: Proposals will not be accepted after August 15, 2015.

Find answers to questions about submitting proposals in our proposal process FAQ.

Innovation Challenge

Early next year, Microsoft and the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) plan to announce an innovation challenge related to climate change to inspire the creation of innovative tools and applications that utilize the open data made available to the public via To aid in this effort, we are making an initial subset of the USDA datasets and Microsoft’s powerful business-intelligence tools—such as Power Maps and Pivot Charts—free and accessible through Microsoft Azure Marketplace, giving federal agencies and the public data and tools needed to respond to the Innovation Challenge. Check back for more details.

USDA datasets

The USDA has made the following datasets available from the Microsoft Azure Marketplace for research purposes.

  • NASS Quickstats API
    The National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) offers the Quick Stats application programming interface (API) that provides direct access to a database containing official published aggregate estimates related to U.S. agricultural production. It includes hundreds of sample surveys covering virtually every aspect of U.S. agriculture and providing state- and county-level aggregates: Agricultural Resource Management Survey (ARMS).
  • ARMS Farm Financial and Crop Production Practices
    The field-level phase collects information on production practices and costs (such as fertilizer, pesticide, labor, tillage, and seed) for target commodities. The farm-level phase collects financial information for farm businesses and a variety of financial and demographic information (such as age, education, occupation, off-farm income) for farm operators and their households. The survey collects information from 48 states. It is designed to provide representative data of the continental United States and to support state-level estimates for 15 key agricultural states.

In addition, the following datasets are available for research purposes from the USDA.

  • NASS CropScape API
    The National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) offers a CropScape API that provides direct access to a raster image dataset containing an agricultural-specific land cover classification published once annually at the end of growing season. Resolution is 30 to 56 m. APIs are also published for political/administrative boundary layers.
  • NASS VegScape API
    The National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) offers the VegScape API that provides direct access to a raster image dataset containing crop condition vegetation indices published on daily, weekly, and biweekly timescales throughout the year. Resolution is 250m. There are five published indices: NDVI, VCI, RVCI, RMVCI, and MVCI. APIs are also published for political/administrative boundary layers.

Microsoft Azure for Research program

The Microsoft Azure for Research program was established to provide researchers with free access to Microsoft Azure for academic applications. Learn more about Microsoft Azure for Research.

The program also provides free hands-on Microsoft Azure training courses tailored for the scientific community. Learn more: