U of A and Amii usher in a new wave of broadened AI research with the recruitment of 20 new faculty members

Global hiring initiative will lead to new discoveries in the fields of Health, Energy and Indigenous Leadership

EDMONTON — The University of Alberta and Amii (Alberta Machine Intelligence Institute) are ushering in a next generation of Canadian AI research through the planned recruitment of 20 new faculty members who will advance artificial intelligence research at the U of A.

Amii is investing $30-million over the next five years in support of the initiative, with a special focus on next-generation science in health, energy, and Indigenous initiatives in health and humanities. The funding is made possible by the research investment of the Pan-Canadian AI Strategy through the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR), a Canadian-based global research organization, for Canada’s three National Artificial Intelligence Institutes – Amii in Edmonton, Mila in Montreal, and the Vector Institute in Toronto.

“The exponential growth of artificial intelligence is transforming all areas of our society – from energy and food security to healthcare and Indigenous initiatives,” says U of A president and vice-chancellor Bill Flanagan, “This historic investment in AI keeps the U of A and Amii on the leading edge of this worldwide trend, and positions us - and all of Alberta - for continued success.”

Two of the faculty members focused on health are also being funded through generous philanthropic support from The Dianne and Irving Kipnes Foundation.

Artificial intelligence is one of the greatest technological advances of our age and already has a significant impact on the daily lives of Canadians. With co-appointments as Amii Fellows, these researchers will be eligible for appointment as Canada CIFAR AI Chairs through the Pan-Canadian AI Strategy at CIFAR, a federally supported program aimed at recruiting the world's leading AI researchers to Canada, while retaining existing top talent. 

Anchored in the Pan-Canadian AI Strategy, the global hiring initiative will see Amii and U of A deepen its collaboration; where Amii is tasked with advancing Canada’s AI potential, and U of A is a primary driver of Amii’s AI research excellence. By focusing on globally impactful domains, this research will accelerate opportunities for responsible commercialization of AI to propel Canada to the global forefront of applied AI and drive future economic growth.

“Our position as leaders in fundamental AI research is known globally,” says Cam Linke, CEO, Amii. “With this investment, Amii looks forward to growing this model to include a focus on areas that can be transformed by breakthroughs in AI and solve the world’s biggest problems: pandemics, food insecurity, climate change, and healthcare. Our collaboration with U of A continues our ambition in research, and Amii is positioned to translate this research into industry for maximum impact.”

The U of A has a long history of excellence in the field. It launched Canada’s first computing science department in 1964, and over the past 25 years has ranked first in Canada and in the top three globally for AI. 

Since Amii’s inception in 2017, it has worked with more than 300 companies to translate knowledge, talent and technology into industry. In that time, more than 200 technologies have been created, including algorithms, architectures, theories, methodologies, approaches and applications. In addition, Amii alumni have secured $600M+ in venture financing, including $450M raised by Canadian-based companies. 

The continued focus and investment in AI is paying dividends in Edmonton, which has been cited as North America’s fastest-growing tech market over the past five years. U of A alumni along with the Fellows and Canada CIFAR AI Chairs at Amii are helping drive that growth, with multiple innovations and AI-related companies having spun out of the university. 

Recruitment for the new Canada CIFAR AI Chairs will be ongoing. 

To arrange interviews with Bill Flanagan or Cam Linke, please contact:

Ross Neitz | U of A media strategist | ross.neitz@ualberta.ca | 780-297-8354

Lynda Vang | Amii, Communications Specialist | lynda.vang@amii.ca | 587-415-6100 ext. 109