Lab Canada

Qubec updates $1.16B research strategy; launches new funding body

Quebec City, QC – Quebec’s official research and innovation strategy has been extended and relaunched by Clément Gignac, the province’s minister of economic development, innovation and export trade.

Called the Quebec Research and Innovation Strategy, it was originally launched in 2007, and has now been extended to 2013. The program, which will have $1.16 billion available for funding in this new phase, will also have increased focus on green technology. It also sees the consolidation of several existing research funding bodies into one central player.

Changes to the program are the result of a series of consultations by an advisory group of 20 individuals co-chaired by André Bazergui and Minister Gignac.

New program features include five major joint investments by the government and private sector in projects that will accelerate innovation in key sectors including green aircraft and buses, forest biorefining, ICT, life sciences, particularly from a perspective of sustainable development. The projects will involve funding of $350 million, half coming from private partners, and will be announced at a later date.

In addition, two new commercialization measures have been introduced, one to support the distribution and sale of low-carbon-footprint products and another to support projects with good sales potential abroad.

The program will also now support initiatives for technology incubators and has more flexible rules for existing programs such as technology intensification and technology showcases.

To strengthen scientific leadership and provide a consistent and structured vision for research, the government has launched a new body called the Fonds Recherche Québec. The three existing research funds – Fonds de la recherche en santé du Québec, Fonds québécois de recherche sur la nature, and Fonds québécois de recherche sur la société et la culture – will be combined into one.

Fonds Recherche Québec will become the central player in the province’s research funding with the goal of fostering synergies that break down barriers between disciplines.

In addition, to provide greater direction on new issues in research, science, technology, and innovation, a strategic science and innovation committee will be created and report directly to the minister.

Finally, a still-to-be-named chief scientist will head up the new Fonds Recherche Québec. A competition will be held to recruit for the post, which will be held for a period of five years.