Government announces CIFAR Pan-Canadian Artificial Intelligence Strategy


In Budget 2017, the Government of Canada announced funding for a Pan-Canadian Artificial Intelligence Strategy to be developed and implemented through CIFAR, the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research. The strategy will attract and retain top academic talent, increase graduate and undergraduate training in AI, and support research into social and economic questions around AI.

The strategy has five major goals:

  • Build a critical mass of talent within existing geographic areas of research excellence
  • Increase the number of outstanding faculty in deep artificial intelligence nationwide
  • Dramatically increase the number of Canadian graduate and undergraduate students being trained in deep AI
  • Create national programs that build a pan-Canadian artificial intelligence community
  • Position Canada as a scientific leaders in artificial intelligence research, and build on this science to ensure continuing prosperity and progress for all Canadians

The CIFAR Pan-Canadian AI Research strategy includes:

  • Three AI institutes. The strategy will fund AI institutes in Canada’s three major centres for artificial intelligence research – the Vector Institute in Toronto, as well as institutes in Edmonton and Montreal. These three institutes will provide a critical mass of research and innovation excellence, and would work with researchers and industry across Canada.
  • Academic chairs. Canada CIFAR Chairs in Artificial Intelligence will be funded at universities in Canada. International competition for artificial intelligence researchers is intense. Funding for the chairs will help Canada retain and recruit top academic researchers, and allow them the freedom to carry out research, train students, and interact with industry.
  • A national training program. The program will recruit and train young researchers, including both graduate and undergraduate students. It will include funding for graduate students who will work with the Canada CIFAR chairs, as well as training for students at the three institutes and across Canada.
  • Research into economic and social impacts of AI. Development of artificial intelligence will have profound implications for the economy, government and society. The strategy will fund work into the potential changes that will be created by AI, as well as policy recommendations on how best to manage them.


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