Joint Canada-UK AI initiative to dole out over $10 million CAD for research projects

navdeep bains

Ten international research projects involving universities in Canada and the UK are set to receive approximately $5 million and £5 million from the federal government over the next three years as part of a transatlantic artificial intelligence (AI) initiative.

The initiative’s aim is to build competitive economies and maximize the social and health benefits of AI in Canada and the UK

The Canada-UK Artificial Intelligence Initiative is administered by three Canadian federal research funding agencies in collaboration with four research councils part of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI). Through the initiative, the countries are supporting collaboration in AI between stakeholders in Canada and the UK. The aim is to build competitive economies and maximize the social and health benefits of AI.

The projects will be co-led by organizations from both countries, and are intended to advance understanding of important AI challenges, such as tackling abusive online language, improving labour market equality, informing the development of AI transportation systems, and creating technology to better detect and monitor global disease outbreaks.

“Artificial intelligence is transforming all industries and sectors, opening up more opportunities for Canadians,” said Minister of Science, Innovation and Industry Navdeep Bains. “Today, we take one step further toward ensuring that AI innovation and growth builds competitive and resilient economies, and maximize the social and health benefits in both Canada and in the UK.”

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The Canadian institutions receiving the investment include:

  • Simon Fraser University: $500,000 for one project
  • The University of Alberta: $1.4 million for three projects
  • The University of Ottawa: $519,000 for one project
  • The University of Manitoba: $517,000 for one project
  • The University of Toronto: $519,00 for one project
  • McGill University: $1.5 million for three projects

The UK institutions expected to receive investments are the University of Sheffield, Lancaster University, the University of Glasgow, University College London, the University of Leeds, Imperial College London, the University of Cambridge, and the European Bioinformatics Institute. No further information has been released about the individual projects and what they entail.

The Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council, and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, in addition to four UK research councils, are also all participating in the Canada-UK Artificial Intelligence Initiative.

In recent years, Canada has ramped up efforts to foster international partnerships in the field of AI. In April, the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research launched a series of workshops examining the societal effects of AI, in partnership with similar French and UK agencies.

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In May, the federal government publicized the Declaration of the International Panel on Artificial Intelligence and released more details on the panel that will see Canada and France working together to guide the responsible development of AI.

Canada’s AI Strategy, introduced in 2017, committed $125 million to the Pan-Canadian AI Strategy. Its goals are to increase the number of AI researchers and graduates in Canada, develop global thought leadership on the economic, ethical, policy and legal implications of AI, and support the nation’s AI research community.

“The responsible development and application of artificial intelligence [have] the potential to extend our impact in ways we can hardly imagine today,” said Michael J. Strong, president of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. “These projects not only capture the imagination, they also reflect a robust international collaborative approach to addressing critical research issues of our time.”

Image source Wikimedia Commons

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.

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