$US5m grant to fund development of AI-driven climate risk intelligence tool

Backed by Google.org, the partners will develop an AI-driven climate risk tool to generate real-time, high-resolution climate risk information on a global scale.

ClimaSens, a Melbourne-based climate resilience software startup supported by the Melbourne Accelerator Program, is poised to unlock the potential of climate risk intelligence in a new partnership with New York’s The New School Urban Systems Lab (USL), underpinned by a $US5 million grant from Google’s philanthropic initiative.

Backed by the Google.org’s Impact Challenge on Climate Innovation grant and Google’s technical expertise, ClimaSens, USL and partners will develop ClimateIQ, an AI-driven climate risk tool to generate real-time, high-resolution climate risk information on a global scale.

This tool will prove particularly vital for decision-makers managing extreme heat risks, an area in which ClimaSens has already demonstrated effectiveness through their work with the City of Melbourne and the Australian Red Cross with their HeatSens tool.

The grant and partnership allows ClimaSens to extend operations to the US and Europe, beginning with New York City.

ClimaSens CEO Joe Glesta said: “ClimateIQ embodies ClimaSens' mission to equip communities with the tools they need to navigate a complex climate landscape. By merging advanced analytics with a human-centric approach, we pave the way for informed decision-making and targeted resilience planning.

“This isn’t just about technology; it’s about empowering people to take control of their future.”

The development of ClimateIQ brings ClimaSens and USL together with the Beijer Institute of Ecological Economics at the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, the Stockholm Resilience Centre at Stockholm University, Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies, and the Virginia Climate Center at George Mason University to co-develop, test, and validate the tool.

Google.org Climate and Sustainability Lead Kevin Brege said: “Sea level rise, social vulnerability, extreme weather and loss of coastal ecosystems pose new threats to urban communities globally, but governments and community leaders don’t always have the tools they need to make the best use of limited preparedness resources.

“By leveraging the power of AI, ClimateIQ will enable cities and communities to anticipate emerging threats, prioritize equitable adaptation strategies, and improve risk assessment, planning and emergency response.”

Powered by the University of Melbourne, the Melbourne Accelerator Program (MAP) was launched in 2012 as one of the first startup accelerators in Australia and in 2016 was ranked the 8th best University-aligned accelerator in the world.

MAP invests in Australia’s most outstanding startups, equipping them with $20,000 equity-free funding, inner-city office space and access to Australia’s best business minds to help them accelerate their growth.