COVID-19: Innovation hub Scale AI funds eight projects

By William Girling
Montreal-based Scale AI is reportedly funding eight new projects aimed at alleviating COVID-19 pandemic strains. An investment and innovation hub prior...

Montreal-based Scale AI is reportedly funding eight new projects aimed at alleviating COVID-19 pandemic strains. 

An investment and innovation hub prioritising the promotion and accelerated adoption of artificial intelligence (AI) across Canada, Scale AI is one of the country’s five superclusters, groups of companies seeking to digitally transform the nation’s technology. 

Launching a call for projects and solutions that could leverage AI to solve real-world problems experienced by Canadians as a result of the pandemic, the company received over 120 entrees in only three weeks. 

Having selected eight of the best which have passed critical analysis and received approval, Scale AI will be providing an overall investment of CA$3.4mn.

Accelerating R&D

Scale AI’s decision reflects its overall mission to hasten the development of automation technology generally, but particularly now when its usage could have significant qualitative results.

"To face the crisis, we have implemented an exceptional program aimed at developing and financing relevant and effective projects very quickly,” said Julien Billot, GM.

“With projects that include analysis tools for research and clinical trials, coordination of patient services, supply management for drugs, medical equipment and food and essentials, AI has once again demonstrated its ability to support all sectors in improving their efficiency."

The positive progress being made by Scale AI, as a supercluster, was praised by Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, as positive proof that the concept held value.


"Our government is mobilizing its resources in the fight against COVID-19, and it's great to see Industry doing its part. 

“I'm proud of the superclusters, including Scale AI, for stepping up to leverage their broad membership and Canada's strong industrial base to confront COVID-19. Together, we will protect the health and safety of all Canadians.”

An integrated response

Of the eight projects selected by Scale AI for progression, successful companies carrying these developments out include Roche Diagnostics, The Montreal Port Authority and CargoM and AlayaCare.

The topics covered in the projects themselves include optimising the distribution of diagnostic tests, augmentation for homecare response and chatbots configured to dispense information and advice on the COVID-19 virus. 

Regarding the integrated approach that Scale AI is taking, Hélène Desmarais, co-chair, stated, "The mission of Scale AI is to support Canada's prosperity and growth. 

“Responding in times of crisis is self-evident and it is in this spirit that we have mobilized our team to participate in the national effort to respond to the challenges posed by the pandemic. While agility is crucial, these projects also demonstrate that AI is a reality today, with solutions that can be deployed quickly."

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