June 9, 2020
Scale AI, a government-funded “supercluster” which aims to support Canada’s artificial intelligence (“AI”) sector, has announced an investment of $10 million to support the creation of at least ten university chairs dedicated to AI research across the country. This contribution will double the amount committed by Canadian universities, bringing the total commitment to $20 million.
Scale AI has stated that the development of the university chairs program is a key element of their strategy to help develop AI talent across Canada. The goal of the investment is to help attract and retain AI researchers, support research programs and develop the next generation of AI experts.
Although Canada is currently ranked as one of the top countries for training and employing AI talent, a report recently published by Element AI found that Canada is currently experiencing a “brain drain” of qualified AI professionals. The talent report analyzed where researchers moved for work after completing PhDs, and noted that Canada saw talent inflow of 33 percent compared to a talent outflow of 45 percent.
In addition to talent migration, Canadian universities also face competition from the private sector, with large tech companies, such as Google and Facebook often recruiting top AI researchers and academics into lucrative private sector jobs. In a press release provided by Scale AI, Hélène Desmarais, the co-chair of the organization’s board of directors, noted that talent retention remains a significant problem for Canadian universities, which require qualified professors to help train and mentor the next generation of AI professionals.
Research teams, universities or faculties that are interested are in the research chair program are invited to present their project to Scale AI. Further information about the application process can be found on the Scale AI website.
Author: Brittni Tee