Challenge on AI powered community micro-grids

How can we use AI in the energy industry to better serve low-income families and disadvantaged communities?

Microsoft Research (MSR) is investigating how research can inform the development of new economic models for the energy sector that are based on community resilience and equity. (challenge-code MSR-C5)

To that end, we are interested in investigating the potential of AI model optimization for increasing energy efficiency of micro-grids and thereby reducing economic burdens on low-income households and marginalized communities. We seek to build better economic models focused on community resiliency and equity, and to effectively optimize towards those objectives.

Additional Context

Microsoft Research is interested in building Artificial Intelligence supported social technologies for equitable and resilient communities and using large AI models to bridge people, process and technology in the context of industrial systems.

We bring expertise in the development of AI powered control models for effective time-switching mechanism to make it feasible for micro-grids as a community’s economic resource. For reference to related work, please see We are also building scaled models to experiment on various scenarios.

We actively collaborate with grassroots organizations that are putting these technologies in the relevant communities as a proof-of-concept. These technologies if successful will not only be beneficial to grassroot communities but also academic and corporate communities with goals towards sustainability and equity.

We invite research proposals that

  • promote ongoing knowledge exchange;
  • contribute to a better understanding of communities and equitable partnerships and give voice to marginalised communities, for instance, through the use of public engagement methodologies and creative design processes;
  • can inform new frameworks for managing the energy sector that focus on community resilience and equity; and
  • draw on complementary expertise in the arts and humanities based in community engagement and research into cultures and traditions, perhaps using art, music, theatre or film, or approaches and methodologies from social and cultural studies, public policy and urban planning.

Working Arrangements

How it will work

  • MSR will work with the fellow to refine the project plan, agreeing on specific goals and outcomes as well as a timeline for shared collaboration milestones and a cadence for meetings virtually and in-person, as appropriate.
  • MSR will support the fellow in terms of onboarding and providing an MSR research contact and engaging in regular meetings.
  • MSR is set up for hybrid working but a level of in-person contact at our lab in Redmond, Washington would be beneficial, especially towards the start of the project.
  • We expect the fellow to factor into their budget proposal travel, accommodation and subsistence costs and any specific research costs they envision.
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