Durham College’s AI Hub leads the way with comprehensive support for local organizations introducing AI-powered technologies

$1.75-million Technology Access Centre grant will build AI talent, create new synergies 

Oshawa, ON – As more organizations incorporate artificial intelligence (AI) technologies in their daily operations, Durham College’s (DC) AI Hub is strengthening its reputation as an industry resource, increasing its research and development capacity, sharpening frameworks for delivery and growing its expert talent pool.

DC’s AI Hub is one of 16 recipients of the College and Community Innovation (CCI) program’s Technology Access Centres (TAC) grants, and will receive $350,000 per year over the next five years, creating new opportunities to support multi-sectoral organizations in Durham Region and beyond.

The CCI program is managed by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) in collaboration with the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR).

As specialized centres of expertise, TACs offer timely innovation support to organizations from the private, public, health care or not-for-profit sectors in a college’s community. DC’s AI Hub TAC team will:

  • Enrich student training – Over the next five years, the AI Hub will hire: 15 students as members of the TAC delivery team; 100 students research assistants to support applied research and development projects; and 50 students with curricular work-integrated learning placements related to their field of study.
  • Support skills acquisition – The AI Hub’s training plan facilitates the development of in-demand technical, scientific, professional, leadership and entrepreneurial skills that will provide students on the TAC delivery team with the knowledge employers are looking for to address the skills gap for AI professionals.
  • Enhance service delivery plans – The launch of new services, including fee-for-service business and technical services and corporate AI training through DC’s Corporate Training Services, will further advance the Research & Development capacity the AI Hub is known for.

“The AI Hub team is fluent in the multi-sectorial business applications of AI technologies and the TAC grant will allow our researchers and industry partners to create new synergies that enable us to support clients from diverse sectors,” said Debbie McKee Demczyk, dean, Office of Research Services, Innovation and Entrepreneurship. “This funding will also create new opportunities for our students to gain valuable research experience and close the skills gap in this in-demand, evolving industry.”

Located in DC’s new Centre for Innovative Research, the AI Hub has a strong track record of engaging students in applied research and preparing them to fill the demand for qualified AI professionals. Over the last four years, 219 DC students have been trained through the AI Hub and 22 of these students were immediately hired by our partners.

Comprised of faculty researchers and students, the AI Hub TAC team will incorporate research outcomes into DC’s AI curriculum and invite industry partners into classrooms as guest speakers. These training opportunities will enable students to apply classroom learnings to real-world challenges and develop their technical, professional and soft skills, all of which provide competitive advantages as they enter the workforce.

DC has been consistently ranked by Research Infosource as one of Canada’s Top 50 Research Colleges over the past eight years and won Applied Research and Innovation Excellence Bronze in the 2020 Colleges and Institutes Canada Awards of Excellence and the 2020 Greater Oshawa Chamber of Commerce Business Excellence Award for Innovation.

 To learn more about DC’s applied research centres, visit www.durhamcollege.ca/orsie.


About Durham College
With campuses in Oshawa and Whitby, Durham College (DC) offers over 12,000 full-time post-secondary and apprenticeship students access to more than 145 programs, including five honours bachelor degrees and nine apprenticeship programs. 

DC enables students to develop career-ready skills for the ever-changing job market by providing an exceptional college education. With a focus on experiential learning, led by expert faculty, through field placements, applied research, co-ops and other hands-on opportunities, DC grads are known for having the skills and knowledge employers need.

 Media contact:
Jessica Rivers
Senior Communications Officer
Durham College