DC receives $250,000 funding from Government of Ontario’s Colleges Applied R&D Fund

Durham College (DC) announced today that its Office of Research Services, Innovation and Entrepreneurship (ORSIE) has been awarded $250,000 through the Government of Ontario’s Colleges Applied Research and Development Fund (CARDF), administered by Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE), to study artificial intelligence (AI) in business solutions.

The funding will be used to research how “narrow AI” can help small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) uncover new business insights while also providing intelligent and autonomous solutions that help increase a company’s productivity and growth. Narrow AI is any software that uses technologies such as machine learning, decision support, natural language processing and automation to make business recommendations, autonomously make decisions, or take action in a manner that would be considered intelligent.

“The AI research DC is undertaking addresses a significant need for SMEs across our economy,” said Debbie McKee Demczyk, dean, ORSIE. “This funding will support those research efforts, as we help SMEs adopt AI to solve their business challenges. Our hope is that, through collaborative research, and the implementation of advanced systems, we can help the SMEs of Southern Ontario become more competitive in an increasingly digital economy.”

The funding announcement also coincides with the recent launch of the AI Hub at DC, a new research centre within ORSIE dedicated to advancing the adoption of artificial intelligence as a way to improve business productivity and competitiveness. Through the AI Hub, firms that would not typically have access to the benefits of state-of-the-art AI techniques, will be able to capitalize on  advances in machine intelligence, automated learning, decision support, optimization, robotics, language/meaning understanding, and advanced manufacturing practices.

DC also received ten College Vouchers for Technology Adoption from CARDF. Valued at $10,000 each, under this program the college is will work with 10 growth-oriented local SMEs who are looking to adopt technology to improve their operations and increase productivity. This will be achieved by using one of three methods – process automation, customized online collaboration tools and data visualization.

Supported by the Ontario Ministry of Research, Innovation and Science, in partnership with OCE and Colleges Ontario, the $20-million CARDF program not only seeks to drive collaboration between post-secondary institutions and industry, it also aims to create efficiencies so industry can access the skills, services and innovations offered by colleges, while also providing experiential learning opportunities for students.

“Our province needs talent to continue to sustain its growing innovation eco-system. Investing in applied research and development is a step towards a brighter and more prosperous future for our province,” said Reza Moridi, Minister of Research, Innovation and Science. “By bringing together colleges and the R&D sector, we’re creating opportunities for our students and ensuring they are ready for the jobs of tomorrow.”

Companies with an interest in how AI and digital transformation can enhance their businesses are encouraged to contact the AI Hub by visiting http://www.durhamcollege.ca/TheAIHub, emailing theaihub@durhamcollege.ca or calling 905.721.3223.