IRAP Bias in AI

“Bias in AI” program designed for small-and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

The Vector Institute is receiving funding from the National Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC IRAP) to support professional development programming for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).  The Bias in AI (Artificial Intelligence) program is designed to help participants develop the technical skills required to implement responsible Deep Learning solutions for computer vision and natural language processing, that might otherwise be unfair or harm disadvantaged population segments.

Through immersive and interactive workshops, tutorials, and assignments, participants develop critical skills for identifying and reducing bias in their AI models. The Bias in AI program culminates in a capstone project, completed by participants on a topic relevant to each individual company.

Vector/ FastLane & NRC IRAP

Vector is committed to accelerating AI adoption across Canada and is ensuring that SMEs are supported in building their AI capabilities. Vector’s new FastLane program supports SMEs by providing applications, courses, tools, and projects to enable Canadian SMEs to thrive and be competitive in the global AI ecosystem. FastLane companies and SMEs that would like to take advantage of this learning opportunity, are encouraged to apply to NRC IRAP to be considered for funding support.

Please click here to learn more about Vector’s FastLane program.

Program Overview and Learning Outcomes

Deep Learning systems can sometimes exclude or disadvantage groups within the Canadian population, an unacceptable outcome in a country as diverse as Canada. Providing education on how bias in AI can be identified and potentially reduced will empower practitioners and strengthen their leadership in responsible and ethical AI. During this program, participants will learn and apply the latest approaches for addressing bias in AI.  In the final week of the program, participants will work in teams on a capstone project of their choosing, based on their own business context to maximize value.

The Bias in AI program is demanding. Participants will receive five weeks of workshops and tutorials and should expect to spend approximately 10 – 15 hours a week on assignments and course readings, depending on familiarity with the technical software frameworks used in the course, previous knowledge, experience, and learning styles. Participants will also need to commit time to completing their capstone projects, which consists of a paper and a presentation. In total, a commitment of approximately 6 ½ weeks is required to complete the program.

Who Should Attend?

Participants should be technical staff: Data Scientists, Machine Learning Engineers, and Software Developers that already have experience building and managing AI models. The program will have between 20-30 participants from different companies and will cover bias in Natural Language Processing (NLP) and Computer Vision (CV).


  • Participants are expected to have experience building neural network models.

Course dates

This program will be scheduled a minimum of twice annually in the fall and winter. Scheduled dates will proceed if minimum requirements are met, as determined by Vector Institute. Please check back for fall dates. Dates will also be advertised in Vector’s newsletter. Please click here to subscribe to the newsletter if you haven’t already so.

Information Sessions

Two information sessions will be held to equip SMEs with knowledge about the workshop’s structure and learning objectives, pre-requisites, time commitment, and evidence of success. The agenda will include, what is bias and why it is important, potential consequences of not addressing bias, a testimonial from a recent participant, and the application process.

  • July 12, 2022, 2pm – 3pm ET
  • July 26, 2022, 3pm – 4pm ET

Other Upcoming Dates to Keep in Mind

  • Bias in AI Workshop Registration Deadline: August 29, 2022
  • Orientation: Tuesday, September 13, 2022, 3pm – 4:30 pm ET
  • Online Workshop Dates: Monday, September 19, 2022, 3pm – 5pm ET – Tuesday, October 18, 2022, 3pm-5pm ET
  • Capstone Project Final: Tuesday, November 1, 2022

Program FAQs

How does a company apply to NRC IRAP for funding?

To apply for NRC IRAP funding for the Bias in AI program, companies should contact their assigned Industrial Technology Advisor (ITA).  If your company does not have an assigned ITA (or needs to determine if an ITA has been assigned), you can contact NRC directly at 1-877-994-4727 to be considered for financial support. Funding decisions are made on a competitive basis and are subject to available budget.

What are some of the factors considered for funding decisions?

Your company may be eligible for support f it meets the following criteria:

  • the company is registered as a for profit Canadian Corporation
  • the company has 500 or fewer full-time equivalent employees
  • the company plans to pursue growth by developing and commercializing innovative technology in Canada

Funding for the Bias in AI program is limited, and decisions are made on a competitive basis. Contact NRC IRAP by calling 1-877-994-4727 to find out more.

Please click here to learn more about how innovation is supported through NRC IRAP.

What is the fee structure and how much is each SME required to pay?

The cost per SME is $500 + HST and covers up to three participants.

Is there a minimum and maximum number of employees a company is permitted to register in program?

Each company is required to register a minimum of two employees. This allows employees to collaborate with the goal to effectively problem solve and improve upon company processes. This ultimately maximizes value for the company on its investment.

Is participation in the Bias in AI program contingent upon being a member of Vector’s FastLane program?

It is not a requirement but highly recommended. There are many benefits to being a member of the FastLane program. The FastLane program was specifically created to help SMEs find AI solutions, build their skills, hire talent, and identify opportunities to advance their growth in AI. Please click here to access the FastLane registration form. It’s as simple as us learning about you and the type of support you are looking for.

If my company’s funding application is not approved by NRC IRAP, are we still able to enlist employees in the program?

If a company is not successful in its application for funding support from NRC IRAP, please contact Vector Professional Development team at to discuss the financial breakdown of the program.

Do participants receive a certificate or letter of completion?

All participants who successfully complete all the assignments, the capstone, and the capstone presentation will receive a digital certificate of completion.

Are non-Canadian companies able to register employees in the Bias in AI program?

All Vector programs are intended to grow AI in Canada and participants are expected to be attached to a Canadian office.

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