Durham College receives funding supporting Artificial Intelligence advisory services for businesses

Oshawa, Ont.Durham College (DC) is pleased to announce that its Hub for Applied Research in Artificial Intelligence for Business Solutions (the AI Hub) will receive advisory services and a contribution of up to $300,000 from the National Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC IRAP). The AI Hub is the applied research centre in AI for the college’s Office of Research Services, Innovation and Entrepreneurship (ORSIE).

This conditional funding, which started in late 2019 and has since been extended, has allowed the AI Hub to develop technology-based solutions for seven small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) from across the country and a variety of industries.

“This contribution is a credit to the success of our AI Hub team in creating real business solutions for SMEs by leveraging Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Natural Language Processing, and more,” said Debbie McKee Demczyk, dean, ORSIE. “We are grateful for NRC IRAP’s support which, in turn, allows our team to continue doing this valuable work.”

The NRC IRAP l funding enables DC faculty and student researchers to act as consultants to SMEs, applying their skills and training to solve industry challenges related to innovation and technology adoption. Thus far, the funding has supported the following successful projects:

  • Mapping, development and deployment of a fully functional rule-based Database and Administration Portal along with a testing webpage for Calgary-based Cognitive Solutions Inc.
  • Development of a suite of Machine Learning applications and scripts, which includes inference functions for on-the-fly textual testing and analysis, for AI agency Atomic X.
  • Phase 1 of the AI Wetland mapping tool development for Solstice Environmental Management, an Alberta-based environmental consulting firm.
  • Development of an AI tool built into the software of a New Brunswick-based digital services provider, Riddl Tech Inc., that can help client companies manage their social and environmental-impact data.
  • Development of proprietary conversational chatbot for Health Espresso/iCare Home Health Services Inc. that answers frequently asked questions about regional healthcare resources in Ontario based on a user’s postal code.
  • Creation of an event-based AI engine that envelops multi-faceted AI models to predict the fluctuations of the currency in light of changing global currencies and event indexes for online financial tech services company 4Pay Inc.  

Through their partnerships with the AI Hub, each SME gained access to researcher and student expertise and valuable programs and resources to help facilitate the adoption of AI into their business systems.

“Although the benefits are well known, the ability to develop an effective AI solution that can generate value at scale remains elusive for many companies,” said Dr. Elaine Popp, vice president, Academic. “We are thrilled that this funding from NRC will allow us to further support businesses as they implement AI capabilities into their business systems, all while giving our students more opportunities for experiential learning.”


About Durham College

At Durham College (DC), the student experience comes first. With campuses in Oshawa and Whitby and a learning site in Pickering, we offer approximately 13,400 full-time post-secondary and apprenticeship students access to more than 140 full-time and nine apprenticeship programs, including the Honours Bachelor of Behavioural Science and Honours Bachelor of Health Care Technology Management.

We enable students to develop the career-ready skills required to meet the demands of today’s job market by connecting them with expert faculty and offering quality programs. With a focus on experiential learning through field-placements, applied research, co-ops and other hands-on opportunities, DC grads have the skills and knowledge employers need.

The Oshawa campus features DC’s newest building, the Centre for Collaborative Education, which represents the college’s commitment to working with local business and community partners while bringing together local, Indigenous and global communities and members of key business sectors.

DC’s Whitby campus is home to the Skills Training Centre, where students receive hands-on training and instruction in industrial-grade shop labs for carpentry, HVAC, welding, elevating devices and crane operation, among others. The campus also features the W. Galen Weston Centre for Food, which includes Bistro ’67, a full-service, teaching-inspired restaurant, and Pantry, a retail store featuring food prepared by students in the college’s culinary programs.

For more information, visit www.durhamcollege.ca or call 905.721.2000.

For more information, contact:

Melissa McLean
Communications and Marketing