How can Earth Observation and Artificial Intelligence help people in need?

©contains modified Copernicus Sentinel data (2014–20), processed by ESA/Norut–SEOM Insarap study, Planetek Rheticus Service/GEP, CNR-IREA & BRGM/ENVEO, CCI & FFG

Apply here by 21 January 2022 at 23:59 (CET)!

What challenges does the World Food Programme face in its day-to-day operations?

Around 26 million people fall into poverty each year as a result of extreme climate events. Our collective goal of achieving Zero Hunger by 2030 cannot be achieved if we do not do better in managing climate risks before they materialize. More than 80 percent of people dealing with food insecurity live on marginal lands that are regularly affected by climate extremes, floods, droughts and storms.

  1. Climate Risk Insurance
  • A phenomenon known locally as “tiomena” (red wind) is exacerbating the drought and famine situation in Madagascar. Migrating sand dunes and windblown sand blanket farmland, crops, forests, and infrastructure, devastating the agricultural productivity and living conditions of the local residents. Learn more.
  • In addition to the widely reported forest fires in the United States and Australia, such disasters have also been taking place in countries such as India, Syria, Tunisia, Libya, Algeria, etc.
  • Landslides are often caused by a combination of heavy rainfall, earthquakes, modern land-use practices, and deforestation. In tropical Africa, Latin America, and Southeast Asia, the occurrences of landslide events are on the rise. The impact of a landslide can be extensive, including loss of life, destruction of infrastructure, damage to land and loss of natural resources. Learn more.
  • Locusts, armyworm, fruit flies, banana diseases, cassava diseases and wheat rusts are among the most destructive transboundary plant pests and diseases that greatly affect the livelihoods of smallholder farmers around the world. Learn more.

What you can expect from the initiative:

This is an intensive and highly hands-on innovation acceleration initiative with a focus to design-build-test-iterate your solution together with WFP staff in country offices or business units that will have an impact on WFP’s day-to-day operations.

  • Funding: Up to EUR 90,000 in funding to develop and test your solution.
  • Project Management: Project management support from the WFP Innovation Accelerator to liaise between you and WFP staff in the area/s related to your idea.
  • Further support from the European Space Agency:
  • Tailored mentorships provided by EO and AI experts from ESA to guide and support you along your journey.
  • Access to EO data, software, and platforms via the European Space Agency. Find out more here.
  • Access to ESA communities and networks, together with business development support.

Minimum application criteria:

  1. This Call is partly funded by ESA under the Future-EO Programme, an optional programme of the Agency. Therefore, the Agency can only consider Applicants from companies or organisations having their registered seat in one of the following Participating States: Austria, Belgium, Canada, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania. Luxemburg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and The United Kingdom. Your organization can be for profit or not-for-profit.
  2. Your solution must use data from European Earth Observation missions (e.g. Copernicus, national missions or commercial providers) with a substantial degree of innovation, such as but not limited to, AI.
  3. Your innovation must at least be at the Minimum Viable Product (MVP) stage. Proof-of-concept is preferred.
  4. Ideally, your solution will address the problem statement outlined by the World Food Programme.

Selection criteria:

After we receive your application, a panel of judges will evaluate your application based on the following criteria:

  1. Solution-problem fit
  • Is your solution truly innovative?
  • How likely is it that your solution will be an EO & AI European leader in the market in three-to-five year’s time?
  • Does your solution have the potential to address commercial markets (B2G and B2B)?
  • Is your forecasted addressable market large enough to sustain your business idea?
  • Do you already have strong customer engagement (relevant contracts, demonstrated interest in your product services, customer supporting your development, etc.)?
  • Do you have a credible business growth plan?
  • Does your team have the required technical expertise?
  • Does the team have the required managerial and business expertise?

Get inspired by EO and AI technologies

Watch this video to learn more about the European Space Agency and the Earth Observation Programme.



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WFP Innovation Accelerator

WFP Innovation Accelerator

Sourcing, supporting and scaling high-impact innovations to disrupt hunger.