CIFAR and OSMO partner to give women training opportunities in AI


Two Canadian non-profits, OSMO and the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR), are partnering to launch the AI For Good Summer Lab program, an initiative that provides undergraduate women in STEM fields with exposure to training and networking opportunities in artificial intelligence.

“We will be able to help maintain Canada’s leadership in AI by leading the way in diversity and inclusion.”

The CIFAR-OSMO AI For Good Summer Lab was originally co-founded in 2017 by Angelique Mannella, the founder and CEO of AM Consulting, offering services for corporates, start-ups, and venture capital firms, as well as Doina Precup, a Canada CIFAR AI Chair, professor at McGill University, member of Mila AI institute, and researcher at DeepMind.

The program provides a cohort of women from across the country the opportunity to learn about AI. It focuses on innovative approaches to teaching and learning in artificial intelligence, as well as creating valuable insights and industry connections, with an emphasis on making a positive impact on society.

“Our government knows that we need diversity of backgrounds, experiences and thought to breed great research,” said Minister of Science and Sport Kirsty Duncan. “The CIFAR-OSMO AI For Good Summer Lab provides women with access to some of Canada’s top research leaders in AI and gives them the opportunity to help Canada’s health, environment, communities, and economy thrive.”

The lab takes place over seven weeks from May 8 to June 21, 2019, bringing together a cohort of 30 women from across Canada. The program mixes lectures, workshops, and self-directed team projects. Instructors and mentors include university researchers, graduate students, and practitioners from startups, companies, inter-governmental organizations, and city government. The program claims to put a strong emphasis on curiosity-driven learning and mentorship from both peers and industry.

The new partnership between OSMO and the CIFAR is a part of the expansion of the AI For Good Summer Lab across several locations in Canada, over three years. CIFAR will provide financial and in-kind support of $300,000 over three years to support and grow the program.

“I could not be happier to be working with CIFAR to increase diversity and inclusion in AI research and development,” said Mannella. “Thanks to CIFAR’s excellence and expertise in supporting world-class training programs, we will be able to increase the impact of the AI For Good Summer Lab and help maintain Canada’s leadership in AI by leading the way in diversity and inclusion in AI research and development.”

Through its partnership with CIFAR, the AI For Good Summer Lab program will be included under the national program of activities as part of the CIFAR Pan-Canadian AI Strategy, which recently added new AI chair members, as well as 13 new research programs.

Image courtesy AI for Good

Isabelle Kirkwood

Isabelle Kirkwood

Isabelle is a Vancouver-based writer with 5+ years of experience in communications and journalism and a lifelong passion for telling stories. For over two years, she has reported on all sides of the Canadian startup ecosystem, from landmark venture deals to public policy, telling the stories of the founders putting Canadian tech on the map.