About Us

The Vector Institute is an independent, not-for-profit corporation dedicated to research in the field of artificial intelligence (AI), excelling in machine and deep learning.

The Vector Institute launched in March 2017 with generous support from the Government of Canada, Government of Ontario, and private industry, and in partnership with the University of Toronto and other universities.

The Vector Institute will work with institutions, industry, start-ups, incubators and accelerators to advance AI research and drive its application, adoption and commercialization across Canada.

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Annual Report 2019  |  Audited Financial Statements 2018-19
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What is the Vector Institute?

The Vector Institute is where some of the world’s top minds in machine learning and deep learning come together to collaborate on research, data and real-world problems.

We attract, develop, and retain top AI talent in Canada to benefit the economy, improve life for Canadians, and further establish ourselves as an AI leader in the global community.

Vector faculty members and graduate researchers can partner with academia, industry, and start-ups to advance and adopt AI research across Canada.

Check out our official vision and mission: https://vectorinstitute.ai/about/#visionmission

What makes Vector unique?

Vector is an independent organization that provides students and researchers with more flexibility than a single company, lab, or faculty. Researchers/Students are encouraged to:

  • collaborate with peers in a shared work space
  • conduct research and work on specific applications and projects
  • publish and present at top conferences
  • teach graduate students and supervise postdoctoral fellows
  • explore projects with industry sponsors or health stakeholders
  • launch or work with start-up companies

Vector has many partners in both industry and in the health sectors that offer opportunities to work on interesting data sets and meaningful problems. While Vector offers its researchers opportunities to work with industry, Vector does not offer fee-for-service consulting or compete with private sector companies.

Vector has a unique focus on deep learning and machine learning research, which is Vector’s area of specialty. Each of the other Canadian AI research institutes (i.e., Amii and Mila) also have their own approach and focus.


Vector’s faculty and students also specialize in a range of areas and specific applications such as computer vision, reinforcement learning, health applications, natural language processing, sciences (e.g., chemistry and physics), statistics, optimization, music/creativity, security, and ethics.

Significance of our physical location

Vector is surrounded by a vibrant AI ecosystem in Toronto and across Canada. We are located in the Toronto-Waterloo Innovation Corridor, which employs more than 200,000 tech workers, second only to Silicon Valley within North America. We are also surrounded by leading research institutions and hospitals, as well as hundreds of AI-enabled start-up companies. Specifically, Vector lives in the West Tower of the MaRS Centre. MaRS is home to entrepreneurs, start-ups, and venture capital firms. Companies sharing the space include Autodesk Research, Borealis AI, JLABS@Toronto, and Layer 6 AI.


Vector is one of three major AI research centres included in the Government of Canada’s Pan-Canadian AI Strategy – others include the Alberta Machine Intelligence Institute (Amii) in Edmonton and Institut québécois d’intelligence artificielle (Mila) in Montreal.

Is the Vector Institute an academic/research facility?

Vector itself is not a university. Vector is an independent not-for-profit corporation that works closely with its partner universities, but Vector itself neither admits students nor grants degrees.

How is the Vector Institute funded?

Vector launched in March 2017 with combined total funding commitments of $135 million over its first five years. The institute is funded by the Government of Canada through the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR), the Government of Ontario through the Ministry of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade, as well as nearly 40 companies in the Canadian economy across a range of sectors.

How can industry partner with Vector or become sponsors of Vector?

Any Canadian company undertaking AI R&D activities or already utilizing AI in their products can apply to become a sponsor at Vector. The company must have an active customer base and at least 10 full time employees. For sponsorship opportunities email industry@vectorinstitute.ai.

The team at Vector Institute

Vector is comprised of faculty members and graduate researchers working across different fields of AI. Our researchers are at the leading edge of deep learning and machine learning in a diverse set of areas, including neural networks, probabilistic models, statistical theory, optimization, computational biology, computer vision and natural language processing. Get to know Vector faculty members and graduate researchers.

Who governs Vector Institute?

The Vector Institute is officially incorporated as an independent, not-for-profit corporation. It is governed by a volunteer Board of Directors drawn from the private sector, public sector, academic and research communities. The Board of Directors receives no compensation for their volunteer duties. Learn more about our leadership team.

What opportunities are available for students and researchers?

Research Scientist & Postdoc Positions

Research Scientist and Postdoctoral Fellows applications are made through our website. Applications are reviewed on an ongoing basis. If a university hires you as a postdoctoral fellow and your supervisor is a Vector Faculty Member, you will be given access to the Vector space and its programs.


Graduate Students

The Vector Institute is not a degree-granting institution. Students affiliated with the Vector Institute are graduate students at universities where Vector Faculty Members hold academic positions.


Students interested in studying at Vector should apply directly to departments of universities where Vector Faculty Members hold academic positions, and state in their application their desire to work with Vector-affiliated faculty. Due to volume, Vector faculty do not respond to individual requests to evaluate applications.


Graduate students whose advisors are not currently affiliated with the Vector Institute can also encourage their advisors to apply to become an affiliate of the Vector Institute.


Postgraduate Affiliates

Graduate students from Ontario universities may directly apply for Postgraduate Affiliate status with Vector, regardless of their university’s or supervisor’s relationship with Vector.


The Vector Postgraduate Affiliate program fosters collaboration and contribution among students and researchers with expertise in deep learning, as well as machine learning and artificial intelligence more broadly. Postgraduate Affiliates are graduate students at several different Ontario universities and are pursuing novel research or specific applications in deep learning or machine learning.


Postgraduate Affiliates receive an award to support their participation in and contributions towards Vector events and activities. Applications for the 2019 cohort will open at the end of the year.


Summer students and/or interns

Vector does not accept applications for internships directly from students. Graduate students may work at Vector under the supervision of a Vector Faculty Member. This must be arranged through your university departments where Vector Faculty Members hold academic positions. Vector Faculty Members may take on interns and summer students based on faculty needs and the candidate’s unique skill sets and interests.


Do students/interns at Vector get paid?

The primary determinant for student pay is determined by the practice of the associated university and further determined by the specific graduate student and his or her supervisor in the event the supervisor is a Vector Faculty Member.


Undergraduate & High School Students

If you are an undergraduate student or high school student interested in pursuing an education in machine learning and artificial intelligence, you can contact a program administrator at your university of interest to learn about prerequisites and relevant courses. Students pursuing an education in machine learning and artificial intelligence typically have a strong foundation in computer science, engineering, mathematics, or statistics.


This fall, some universities in Ontario will begin offering Vector-recognized AI-related Master’s programs and corresponding internships. Keep an eye on the Vector Institute website for more details.

Can I attend a talk/seminar held at Vector?

Due to space limitations our internal talks are currently only available to Vector Faculty and their students, and to Vector Postgraduate Affiliates and Faculty Affiliates. From time to time Vectors hosts and/or sponsors talks that are open to external audiences. As these are scheduled, specific information about public events is available on our website.

The Vector Institute also hosts, in cooperation with the Fields Institute for Research in Mathematical Sciences, the Machine Learning Advances and Applications Seminars, which is a series of public talks led by some of the world’s leading researchers in different fields of machine learning and related disciplines. Past Field Institute talks available here.

I’m an individual or small start-up looking for support with my AI business venture. How can I engage with Vector on my idea?

We review requests for support and engagement on a case-by-case basis. You may send a detailed description/business proposal including information about yourself, your idea/innovation and the specific expertise within Vector you wish to benefit from, to:

Vector Institute sounds like a cool place to visit. Do you offer tours?

The Vector Institute is not open to the public, and we currently do not offer public tours of our research space given the disruption to business and research operations.

Individual Vector Faculty Members and graduate students at Vector are welcome to provide tours to their respective collaborators or prospective faculty, students, and postdoctoral fellows.

Tours for large groups, business leaders, or government representatives need to be planned in advance by Vector’s professional staff. The Vector Institute works with its partners in Global Affairs Canada, the Ontario Investment Office, MaRS, Toronto Global, and the University of Toronto for coordination of such meetings.

Our Vision

The Vector Institute will drive excellence and leadership in Canada’s knowledge, creation, and use of artificial intelligence (AI) to foster economic growth and improve the lives of Canadians.

Our Mission

  • Vector will lead Ontario’s efforts to build and sustain AI-based innovation, growth and productivity in Canada by focusing on the transformative potential of deep learning and machine learning.
  • We, together with our AI partners in other parts of Canada, will work with Canadian industry and public institutions to ensure that they have the people, skills, and resources to be best in class at the use of artificial intelligence.
  • We will support Canada’s innovation clusters in artificial intelligence and focus on helping start-ups grow to become Canadian-based global leaders.
  • We will attract the best global talent focused on research excellence; our researchers and academic partners will be part of a vibrant community of innovative problem-solvers, working across disciplines on both curiosity-driven and applied research.

Team & Leadership

Board of Directors

The Vector Institute is governed by a highly accomplished volunteer Board of Directors drawn from the private sector, public sector, academic and research communities:

The Vector Institute also gives thanks to Scott Bonham, Jordan Jacobs, Mary Jo Haddad, Stephen Lake, Pearl Sullivan and Shivon Zilis for their time, energy and dedication as founding members of Vector’s Board of Directors. Their vision, insight and experience have been instrumental in establishing and guiding Vector towards its vision and mission.

Executive Leadership

Special thanks to Tomi Poutanen for his help in envisioning and establishing the Vector Institute.

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