Partnership will prepare emerging leaders; Includes new courses on ethical data analytics and AI; scholarship funds in data science and software engineering; a design thinking program

LONDON, ON–Western University and Royal Bank of Canada have partnered to help prepare the next generation of talent in navigating this era of unprecedented technical transformation by establishing a program focused on the ethical and social aspects of data analytics and artificial intelligence (AI).

RBC’s $3-million investment has established The RBC Data Analytics and Artificial Intelligence Project at Western, a unique opportunity to expand Western’s ongoing cross-disciplinary work in the fields of data analytics and AI which focuses on answering big questions for the good of society. RBC’s support helps take that work to the next level, while training the next generation of experts.

“This investment is a catalyst to help Western provide tomorrow’s leaders with the skillset they’ll need to navigate a world full of data and find solutions to the challenges they will inevitably face during their careers,” said Alan Shepard, President of Western University. “We’re excited to be partnering with RBC to help provide and promote training of 21st century talent that’s not only technically proficient, but also ethically and socially aware.”

Dr. Alan Shepard, UWO

The partnership also builds on RBC’s commitment to invest in Canada’s tech talent ecosystem, creating opportunities for RBC experts to share cutting edge, real-life cases and help prepare future leaders for the jobs of tomorrow. It brings together two prominent Canadian institutions that are leading the way in preparing students with the skills needed to succeed in today’s increasingly complex digital economy.

“Collaboration between industry, government and academia will help to drive the future success of Canada,” said Bruce Ross, Group Head, Technology & Operations at RBC. “Artificial intelligence and data science are transforming our world today, and we see a huge opportunity to partner with Western, a leading university, to prepare the next generation of talent with the knowledge, skills and experiences needed to drive that success.”

The project consists of a series of integrated components:

Two new courses focusing on the ethical and social aspects of data analytics and AI.
Courses will be developed jointly by Western’s faculties of Science and Engineering, in consultation with RBC leaders and technology experts, to address the social impact and ethical use of big data and AI on individuals, organizations and society.

The establishment of two scholarship funds in Data Science and Software Engineering.
The RBC Scholarship in Data Science and RBC Scholarship in Software Engineering are available to third-year Science and Engineering students, and will help support successful applicants as they build a solid base of knowledge and technical training required for careers in big data.

A Design Thinking Program open to students from all Western faculties.
The program will build skillsets in design thinking and coding. Successful applicants will receive a stipend and have the potential for an internship opportunity at RBC.
The courses, scholarships and design thinking program will create meaningful opportunities to help students establish the skills, experience, and networks they need to successfully start their careers after graduation, including potential work-integrated learning and internships.

About Western
Western University delivers an academic experience second to none. Since 1878, The Western Experience has combined academic excellence with life-long opportunities for intellectual, social and cultural growth in order to better serve our communities. Our research excellence expands knowledge and drives discovery with real-world application. Western attracts individuals with a broad worldview, seeking to study, influence and lead in the international community.

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