AI for Accessibility: Request for Proposals for Education

15 February 2021

Photo is illustrative. Alex Knight from Unsplash.

The Microsoft AI for Accessibility program is calling for project proposals that advance AI-powered innovations in education that will build equity for students with disabilities. The AI for Accessibility programme offers grants through data science skills, Azure compute credits, and cash to help innovators harness the power of AI to empower more than one billion people around the world with a disability.

Deadline for applications: 12 March 2021.

Eligible candidates: universities, non-profits, startups, and other organizations

Priorities: this request for proposals is prioritising scalable solutions in the following three themes:

  • Theme 1: Adaptive and assistive technology
  • Theme 2: Access to Curricula and Content (including any content, services or instructional tool that schools, students, teachers, or parents use for educational purposes)
  • Theme 3: Student Mental Health and
  • Intersectionality

Selection Process and Criteria

  • Selected projects will be invited to pitch ideas to a selection committee who will score projects on the following criteria:
    • Innovation: the uniqueness of the outcome or approach;
    • Impact: the expected value and potential impact;
    • Approach: feasibility and capability to complete the project in 12 months;
    • Data: viability of the current data set(s) or the plan to acquire data for project
    • success; willingness to contribute collected data to an open data community; all
    • data must be representative of a diverse population of people with disabilities;
    • Diversity: diversity of the research team and/or target audience;
    • Community: evidence of disability community support and involvement;
    • Sustainability: evidence of ability to sustain the project post-Microsoft funding/
    • partnership;
    • Budget: allocation of funds to maximize impact.
  • Projects will be selected and funded in April, with project work starting in May.


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Microsoft AI for Accessibility grants

Microsoft AI for Accessibility grants is a Microsoft initiative that supports projects which use AI to empower people living with disabilities. It looks for individuals or teams who are not only passionate about making the world more inclusive, but also firmly rooted in the communities they intend to benefit. A focus is given on that are developed by or with people with disabilities. The grants are clustered in 4 main topics: Education, Employment, Community, Home.