Québec City, June 18, 2012―Today Université Laval rector Denis Brière briefed Clément Gignac, Minister of Natural Resources and Wildlife and Minister responsible for the Plan Nord, on the research issues and priorities associated with the development of northern Québec. His presentation was based on a strategic reflection launched last fall.
A collaborative effort on the part of some 50 dedicated experts, this exceptional initiative gave Université Laval an opportunity to undertake a unique consultation on multidisciplinary research. This wide-ranging exercise, centered on a societal undertaking that will not only have an impact on northern communities, but on most Quebecers in the years to come, will transform research into a major economic driver. The research vision resulting from this exercise—the first of its kind at a campus-wide level—is based on four interdependent themes: community well-being, development, governance, and viability; environmental protection; development of economic potential; and accessibility via transportation and telecommunications.
“This approach underscores Université Laval’s role as pioneer and leader in northern research over the past 50 years. It is a role we are committed to pursuing, as evidenced by this meeting of minds over the past few months, the results of which we are presenting to you today. We also aim to structure a significant portion of the research effort required to assure the sustainable development of the North, an investment estimated at $1.2 billion,” explained Rector Brière.
For Université Laval, its partners, and research centers, this is also an opportunity to reassess research methods based on the North’s values and changing needs. “Université Laval is proposing a unique approach predicated on a vision of excellence in research as conducted by recognized experts here in Québec and elsewhere in the world. We are now calling on all available specialists and researchers with a view to fostering maximum collaboration between university establishments,” explains Sophie D’Amours.
“I’d like to tip my hat to this collective initiative to help tackle the challenges of northern development and congratulate Université Laval and its partners on their commitment to defining research guidelines to help build a secure future for our communities. I look forward to exploring their proposals in greater depth,” declared the Minister of Natural Resources and Wildlife and Minister responsible for the Plan Nord, Clément Gignac.
Université Laval has long played an internationally renowned leadership role in a number of environment-related fields and in the social and economic development of northern Québec. The institution is home to over 140 professors active in a variety of fields associated with the North, working primarily in the faculties of Science and Engineering, Forestry, Geography and Geomatics, Social Sciences, Medicine, Agriculture and Food Sciences, Administration and Urban Planning, Architecture, and Visual Arts.