Satellite image analysis tool wins SFI challenge


Prof Charles Spillane and Dr Aaron Golden

TAPAS provides data on the effectiveness of agricultural interventions for climate change adaptation

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Read more: Artificial Intelligence Climate Change Science Foundation Ireland IFC

A revolutionary AI-based satellite image analysis tool that measures adaptation to climate change in agriculture has been named the winner of the SFI Future Innovator Artificial Intelligence (AI) for Societal Good Challenge.

The winning TAPAS team led by Dr Aaron Golden and Professor Charlie Spillane from the National University of Ireland, Galway (NUI Galway) received € 1 million for their interdisciplinary project resulting in a tool capable of delivering data objectives on the effectiveness of agricultural interventions for adaptation to climate change.

The TAPAS project was co-financed with Irish Aid as part of SFI’s partnership with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and initially focused on test sites in Senegal undergoing agri-food interventions strengthening adaptation.


Adaptation to climate change in developing countries is expected to cost between $ 140 billion and $ 300 billion per year by 2030. It is therefore essential to assess the effectiveness of resilience-building interventions through measurement, reporting. and verification of adaptation to climate change in the agricultural and food sectors. of development. More than 130 countries are now prioritizing agricultural adaptation in their national plans to meet the necessary ambition of the Paris Agreement on climate change.

Professor Mark Ferguson, Managing Director of Science Foundation Ireland and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Irish Government, said: “Congratulations to Dr Aaron Golden, Professor Charles Spillane and Dr Andy Jarvis. This new solution shows exactly what can be accomplished when interdisciplinary expertise comes together under a challenge-based funding structure that facilitates ideation through invention. I am thrilled for the team and look forward to following TAPAS as the impact of this solution unfolds around the world.

“I also want to congratulate the finalists, Professor Patricia Maguire and the AI_PREMie team, for the important work they are doing in advancing fetal and women’s health with their cutting edge diagnostic app.”

“The TAPAS project team and I are absolutely delighted to receive this award in recognition of the importance of the breakthrough technology we are developing with TAPAS, which we believe has the potential to empower society around the world. proactively reduce the impact of the climate. Change, especially communities in the developing world whose economies depend almost entirely on agriculture, ”said Dr Golden. “It has been an honor to work with such excellent collaborators at the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), and SFI’s unique and innovative challenge-based funding process, with support from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, has really helped to thrive as an interdisciplinary group of scientists to make this transformative project a reality.

Team co-leader Professor Spillane added: “Adapting to climate change is a crucial challenge of the 21st century, especially in the agricultural sector where nearly 20 million (around 40%) of agricultural land world are threatened by the adverse effects of climate change. The current lack of a universally deployable system for measuring adaptation to climate change has motivated us to develop one, combining AI with satellite remote sensing of agricultural systems. Starting at COP26, our TAPAS technology for measuring adaptation will inform public and private investments to ensure the most effective climate change adaptation interventions are deployed globally.

As part of the SFI AI for Societal Good Challenge, a second prize of € 500,000 was awarded to Professor Patricia Maguire, University College Dublin (UCD), and her AI_PREMie team in recognition of the potential impact of their risk stratification based on AI. platform for preeclampsia.

TechCentral Reporters

Read more: Artificial Intelligence Climate Change Science Foundation Ireland IFC

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