Toronto-based Centennial College has received what it describes as “significant long-term funding” from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) to help companies in their digitization efforts.
With the $2 million it has received plans are being put in place to establish the Centre for Explainable Data Analytics (CEDA) to develop intelligent systems for small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the Greater Toronto Area.
“CEDA represents a new applied research focus at the college, one that will contribute to the recovery and growth of Ontario’s retail sector,” a release stated.
Plans call for Centennial to receive the funding from NSERC’s College and Community Innovation program and the Build Innovation Enhancement grant over the next five years.
In return, the initiative will support upwards of 150 retail-sector SMEs, provide 140 students with paid applied research opportunities, and engage 500 students through capstone projects at Centennial’s School of Engineering Technology and Applied Science.
“The Centre for Explainable Data Analytics was created to support retail-sector companies that are struggling as a result of the ongoing pandemic,” said Dr. Purnima Tyagi, director of CEDA.
“Local businesses are experiencing challenges with technology and how to make sense of the data they are already collecting. CEDA will be helping these companies to interpret the data in a way that can support business recovery and growth. The Centre will empower retail companies to make better informed business decisions.”
Strong business, said Andrea Hazell, president of the Scarborough Business Association, a partner of the college, benefits the entire community.
“Centennial’s Centre for Explainable Data Analytics will provide services to vibrant and diverse local businesses that could benefit greatly from a digital transformation, which is much needed in the wake of COVID-related business closures.
“Activity at CEDA will add too Scarborough’s innovation ecosystem and be transformative to many local businesses and our economy,” she said.