The Royal Bank of Canada may have found a solution to Canadian brain drain. Its research and development unit, Borealis AI, which supports exploration in machine learning and artificial intelligence, inadvertently realized it could keep talented researchers in Canada by working with Mitacs.

The Challenge

Retaining top talent is one of the biggest challenges in the field of Artificial Intelligence today. Since the inception of Borealis AI in 2015, the company has partnered with Mitacs to support RBC’s quest for innovation through academic collaboration. But in addition to solving specific challenges of machine learning, Borealis AI may have stumbled upon the solution to one of the biggest challenges in the field of artificial intelligence (AI) in Canada—retaining top talent.

The Solution

Borealis AI opened its first locations in Toronto and Edmonton, hiring Mitacs interns for research projects with the Universities of Toronto and Alberta. Immediately, Borealis AI recognized the value of interns — accessing talented young researchers in the field of AI.

With access to university faculty experts and laboratories, the interns proved vital to the company’s success. Borealis AI has since expanded to work with Mitacs interns and universities coast to coast. By leveraging Mitacs’s funding, Borealis AI is able to offer more competitive salaries.

The Impact

The Borealis AI–Mitacs partnership impacts multiple stakeholders. Students gain industry experience and technical skills, building upon what they’ve learned in classrooms and labs. Borealis AI accesses potential talent early on in a researcher’s career, developing and grooming top talent in the field of artificial intelligence. The company currently has two full-time staff members that were former Mitacs interns.  

The partnership also benefits society — by developing skilled people in the field of artificial intelligence and creating job opportunities for Canadian graduates, this partnership helps curtail Canada’s top researchers from seeking artificial intelligence work internationally.