As Canada's university of the imagination, OCAD U offers a depth and breadth of undergraduate and graduate programs in visual arts and design that combine studio-based learning with critical inquiry. The university engages in art and design research and creative practices through a diversity of perspectives, methods and approaches. Due to OCAD U's pivotal role in maintaining a community of existing artists and designers, as well as training the new generations of artists and designers, it also functions as a cultural institution within the City of Toronto, with influence nationally and internationally.
The DMRII is the research and incubation component of OCAD U's overarching Digital Futures Initiative (DFI). The DMRII enhances Ontario's competitive research and development capabilities by bringing together design, computer science, art, media, engineering and social science. It fulfills a core mandate of Ontario's Innovation Agenda, not only by supporting research excellence, but also by supporting new job opportunities and training for the creative and knowledge economies in the realm of information and communication technologies and digital media. It also aligns with Canada's Science & Technology Strategy.
The DMRII project has a total budget of $18 million for capacity-building infrastructure, capital renovations, research equipment and lab support costs. It is funded by the Ontario Ministry of Economic Development and Innovation (formerly MRI) with a total contribution of $9 million (June 30, 2008), or 50% of the total funds required to implement the project. Matching funds are being provided by OCAD University through a contribution of $1.5 million and by industry collaboration partnerships other funding sources through a contribution of $7.5 million.
The DMRII consists of networked multidisciplinary research laboratories, virtual collaborative teams, and complementary commercialization support facilities of the Imagination Catalyst. The DMRII labs are clustered by research typologies, including agile and participatory methods, content studios, tangible development, technology emergence and foresight. The DMRII's research portfolios include a wide range of investigations — from ambient experience, digital painting, gaming, and inclusive research in adaptive technologies, to physical computing and social media research.
OCAD University launched the Digital Futures Initiative (DFI) in 2009. It has established laboratories focused on applied research in digital media under the umbrella of the DMRII. The DFI has launched transformative interdisciplinary undergraduate and graduate programs and founded the Imagination Catalyst, a student and alumni-centred entrepreneurship incubator designed to aggregate industry collaborations with academic research and commercialization. OCAD U offers multidisciplinary undergraduate and graduate programs in Digital Futures.
The Mobile Experience Innovation Centre (MEIC) is a not-for-profit association that supports design leadership, experience innovation and applied research in Canada's mobile and wireless industries. Since its founding in 2007 by OCAD U, the MEIC has grown from a mobile-sector strategy and lobbying initiative to Canada's only organization focusing on design leadership, sector growth and integration, and innovation in mobile content, services and computing.