EcoHealth Alliance Announces AI For Earth Grant from Microsoft

NEW YORK – June 12, 2018 – EcoHealth Alliance, a nonprofit organization working at the intersection of animal, environmental, and human health on a global scale, has joined Microsoft’s AI for Earth program. The collaboration includes a grant which will assist EcoHealth Alliance in its goal of putting an end to the Pandemic Era.

The grant will support EcoHealth Alliance’s data and technology team which designs and develops cutting-edge tools to detect and prevent new and emerging disease outbreaks. It also gives EcoHealth Alliance access to Microsoft’s computational resources as well as collaboration with their teams. Over the next year, EcoHealth Alliance will expand its capacity to conduct automated risk analysis for disease outbreaks by leveraging Microsoft’s AI (artificial intelligence) tools to scan millions of scientific articles and automatically extract relevant information. That information can be used to conduct automated risk analysis for individual outbreaks as well as to populate the world’s most complete database of global disease outbreaks.

“In such a connected world, disease outbreaks can move fast; fortunately, artificial intelligence can move faster,” EcoHealth Alliance President Dr. Peter Daszak said. “That’s why we’re excited to join the AI for Earth roster and to fully utilize Microsoft’s computational resources to fight new and emerging diseases.”

AI for Earth is a Microsoft program aimed at empowering people and organizations to solve global environmental challenges by increasing access to AI tools and educational opportunities, while accelerating innovation. AI for Earth grants provide Azure compute resources and AI tools to NGOs, academic institutions, and research organizations that work on challenges in climate change, biodiversity, agriculture, and water.

EcoHealth Alliance emphasizes the relationship between animal, environmental, and human health and sheds new light on these connections through a One Health lens. The organization has, for instance, shown that land-use change like deforestation is responsible for 31 percent of emerging disease outbreaks. EcoHealth Alliance seeks solutions for various additional drivers of new and emerging diseases such as intensive agricultural practices, illegal wildlife trade, and global trade and travel.

EcoHealth Alliance is one of the newest organizations to be recognized by Microsoft for its impact and potential, and joins a growing number of AI for Earth grantees worldwide.

About EcoHealth Alliance
Building on over 45 years of groundbreaking science, EcoHealth Alliance is a global nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting wildlife, environmental, and public health from the emergence of disease. Approximately 60 percent of emerging infectious diseases like Ebola, HIV, Zika, SARS, MERS, and West Nile virus have all originated in animals before spilling over to human populations. Using environmental and health data covering the past 60 years, EcoHealth Alliance scientists created the first-ever global disease hotspots map that identified at-risk regions to determine where research and field work are needed to help predict and prevent the next pandemic crisis. That work is the foundation of EcoHealth Alliance’s rigorous, science-based approach working in more than 30 countries worldwide. EcoHealth Alliance’s strength is founded on innovations in research, training, global partnerships, capacity building, and policy initiatives.
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