NSERC Alliance grant awarded for developing tools for automated table extraction from documents

September 22,2022

New funding for research projects led by Dr. Raymond Ng, Scientific Director of the UBC Data Science Institute, was awarded by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) recently.

The NSERC Alliance grant of $544,000 with a matching fund of $680,000 from the Provincial Health Services Authority (PHSA) will enable him and his co-principal investigators, Dr. Nadja Kunz from the Norman B Keevil Institute of Mining Engineering and Dr. Laks Lakshmanan from Computer Science, to develop tools for automated table extraction from documents and assess the effectiveness of tools with two very different, seemingly unrelated, application domains: breast cancer care and mineral mining. Working with PHSA and BC Cancer, the research team will develop tools to extract data, which will then be used to create population-based prediction models for outcomes that affect treatment and intervention decisions, and outcomes resulting from such decisions. Furthermore, the knowledge gained from the development of the tools in breast cancer care will be utilized by research collaborators in other cancer types and extended to other provinces. In the mining application, in partnership with Metals for Humanity, the team will use the Faro lead-zinc mine within the Yukon Territory as an initial case study and training dataset, aiming to reduce environmental impacts and simultaneously create jobs in Canada’s mining and minerals sector.

With the use of advanced technologies, this 3-year research project will seek to create environmental, socio-economic and health benefits for British Columbians, and especially those in vulnerable and less privileged communities.