Makerere University is Among the 20 Grantees of The Google AI Impact Challenge


Yesterday, Google launched the 2019 edition of the I/O conference and they announced a lot of cool stuff. However, a certain announcement went under the radar yesterday and it is about the finalists to Google’s AI Impact challenge.

Google finally announced the 20 finalists for their AI Impact challenge yesterday. Google says they received a massive 2,602 applications from 119 countries. Interesting enough, 40% of applications came from organizations with no previous experience with artificial intelligence. When the company was vetting the applications, they chose the best projects based on potential for impact, scalability, feasibility and the responsible use of AI.

The selected projects addressed issues in areas such as health, economic opportunity and empowerment.

The 20 organizations that made it to the finals will share a $25 million grant from Google and will be consulted by Google Cloud, mentored by Google AI experts and have the opportunity to join a customized accelerator program from Google Developers Launchpad.

Among the 20 winners is Makerere University from Uganda. Their project was for tracking and predicting air pollution patterns via low-cost sensors in Kampala, thereby improving air quality forecasting and intervention.

Makerere University is the only African institution that managed to be a part of the lucky 20. Among the total, 9 were from US and they were the majority. The rest of the countries (Lebanon, Colombia, Australia, France, UK, Indonesia, Brazil, Switzerland, Netherlands and India) had one institution each.

The winners will converge at San Francisco next week for the kickoff of the Google AI Impact Challenge Accelerator which is a six month program run b Google Developers Launchpad.