Read the full strategy

June 18, 2020

Update from President & CEO Garth Gibson:

I’m excited to announce the Vector Institute’s new three-year strategy. This strategy will guide our continuing efforts to achieve our founders’ ambitious vision, with a focus on new and important AI research and a significant expansion of applied AI projects for industry and health care.

The strategy builds on the foundation we’ve established since Vector’s launch three years ago. In that time, we’ve developed a community of over 1000 incredibly talented AI researchers, practitioners and students, many of whom have engaged with our industry sponsors on intensive projects that explore state-of-the-art developments in AI and their practical application in business.We’ve supported the embedding of excellent AI scientists in Ontario’s public health institutions to help apply new AI tools to improve health care systems and outcomes.We’ve recognized 22 AI master’s programs with industry-relevant curricula in 11 post-secondary institutions across Ontario, and have drawn top master’s candidates to these programs by awarding 250 Vector Scholarships in Artificial Intelligence to meritorious students. We’ve brought together separate elements of Toronto’s AI ecosystem through our programs and have contributed to its growth.

Over the next three years, we will build on our foundation of validated programs to increase industry adoption of AI, support high-level talent development, advance application of AI in health care, and bolster Canada’s place as a premier hub of AI talent and research. We will do so through focus on the four pillars that comprise the strategy:

  1. Become a top 10 global centre for machine learning and deep learning research.
  2. Expand partnerships with Canadian industry through programs for talent, training, and applied AI projects.
  3. Towards better whole-life health, enable effective & appropriate research access to health data.
  4. Contribute thought leadership about Ontario and Canada’s role in AI, including economic and societal impacts.

Become a top 10 global centre for machine learning and deep learning research.

We will become widely-recognized as one of the world’s top AI research centres. To do this, we will add outstanding researchers to our faculty, increase our computing resources, and focus on addressing important questions in key research domains including health care, sequential decision making, generative models, machine learning and AI theory, and security, privacy, and fairness.

Expand partnerships with Canadian industry through programs for talent, training, and applied AI projects.

We will build on successful industry programs that have brought industry sponsors together with Vector researchers to expedite AI application and experiment with powerful models. Over the next three years, we will run 10 applied AI projects with sponsors, including projects focused on cutting-edge developments in health care, natural language processing, computer vision, and entity resolution. In addition, we will expand our upskilling and knowledge transfer capacity to engage over 3000 program participants.

Towards better whole-life health, enable effective & appropriate research access to health data.

We will build partnerships with health institutions to apply machine learning to health data to improve health outcomes, decrease health care costs, and uncover new health-related insights.We will also continue to lead the development of a modern governance framework that will ensure de-identified Ontario health data remains secure and private on Ontario Health Data Platform and Health AI Data Access Platform (HAIDAP), high-performance compute environments designed specifically for health-related AI projects.

Contribute thought leadership about Ontario and Canada’s role in AI, including economic and societal impacts.

We’ll ensure the perspectives of Vector’s community members — scientists, health care experts, economists, and entrepreneurs — are widely heard. We will publish and share their important and well-considered perspectives on the economic implications, humanitarian benefits, social impacts, and responsible use of AI.

I’d be remiss not to acknowledge the strange and difficult time in which this strategy was finalized and is being launched. The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in a public health crisis, broad economic disruption, and extended social isolation. It also created an urgent need for creative technological solutions that could quickly address these problems. In response, Vector worked expeditiously to help health and government partners use AI in efforts to model the epidemic, explore digital contact tracing solutions, and guide the staged reopening of our economy.  We feel grateful for the opportunity to support the great work being done by our provincial government and public health officials, which is enabling us all to steadily emerge from the uncertainty that the pandemic initially created. These historic circumstances have highlighted the humanity and capability that exists within the Vector community. The circumstances have also reinforced the importance of Vector’s role, mission, and new strategy. I’m incredibly proud of Vector’s community and what we’ve accomplished over the past three years. We’ve validated programs and initiatives that have attracted and developed outstanding researchers, yielded meaningful results for industry, and primed Ontario health care institutions for advanced AI projects. Now, through our new three-year strategy, we will double down on what has worked to make major strides in AI application and research. These advances will bolster Canada’s place as a major centre for AI development, enhance the competitiveness of Ontario-based companies, and improve the well-being of Canadians.

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