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New AI tool developed by Northeastern students connects farmers with environmental grants

Diane Grant and Rachel Kahn present their AI Grants Navigator on Friday at the Massachusetts State House.

After substantial flooding in 2023, Massachusetts’ Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs created a one-time grant program to help affected farmers. But a grant program isn’t any good if no one can access it. So two Northeastern University students created a navigation tool — powered by artificial intelligence — that consolidates information on grants offered by the EEA to make them easy to find. “The core problem was that the EEA grant information is currently very decentralized,” says Diane Grant, a rising fourth-year student studying computer science and political science. “They have 85 different grant programs, most of them managed by one or two managers, and so, because of that, it’s very difficult to be able to find something unless you know exactly what to look for.”

Grant and Rachel Kahn, also a rising fourth-year student studying computer science and political science, are part of the AI for Impact Co-op Program run by Northeastern University’s Burnes Center for Social Change. The program places 10 students with state agencies to work full time on experiential AI projects for the social good. The EEA was one of those agencies this spring. The EEA seeks to protect, preserve and enhance the state’s environmental resources while ensuring a clean energy future through the stewardship of open space, protection of environmental resources and enhancement of clean energy. But the office has found that it needs to better meet constituents’ needs surrounding the grantmaking process. The Northeastern students found that AI could help.

Read more on Northeastern Global News.

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