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Concordia’s District 3 and the Fonds de recherche du Québec partner to transform student researchers into ‘scientific entrepreneurs’

The innovative new program aims for a 10-fold boost in the province’s lab-to-market rates
May 1, 2019
Recruitment is currently underway for the fall 2019 cohort of the Quebec Scientific Entrepreneurship program.

Concordia’s District 3 innovation hub has announced an important new partnership with the Fonds de recherche du Québec (FRQ).

The two organizations have teamed up to help the province’s student research trainees become innovation leaders through the Quebec Scientific Entrepreneurship (QcSE) program.

The objective of the online program is to bring university cities across Quebec in line with startup centres such as the Boston area, where 10 per cent of entrepreneurial ideas born in research labs are converted into new business opportunities.

While Quebec-based researchers are among the world’s best and brightest, all too often their work doesn’t leave the laboratory.

“Quebec’s strong economy provides powerful leverage for attracting and retaining PhD students,” says Rémi Quirion, chief scientist of Quebec.

“This program presents an exciting option for academics: to see their laboratory work have real-world impact through their mastery of entrepreneurial skills.”

Beyond traditional research and teaching careers, the QcSE program positions PhD students and postdoctoral fellows to help further propel job creation in Quebec, where small- and medium-sized enterprises have always been significant economic drivers.

The inaugural cohort currently has 45 participants from a variety of backgrounds and affiliated with universities across Quebec. The program cycles through three distinct phases of training over the course of eight months — discover, validate, and launch and scale. Recruitment is currently under way for fall 2019.

‘This will allow researchers to pursue an entirely new path’

Students can test their potential with nascent business ideas and prepare for their entry into the marketplace. The program operates on the idea that it is never too early for a student researcher to network, understand the work required to build a company and draw inspiration from Quebec’s entrepreneurial culture.

The goal is to see 10 per cent of Quebec PhD and postdoctoral researchers turn toward entrepreneurship within the next three years.

“Based on a new economic model, this program will provide the province’s student researchers with the ability to build and scale research-based startups,” says Christophe Guy, Concordia’s vice-president of Research and Graduate Studies.

“Bridging the gap between the lab and commercialization will allow researchers to pursue an entirely new path.”

Xavier-Henri Hervé, executive director of District 3, believes that researchers are the job creators of tomorrow.

“Their scientific knowledge combined with the right support could see a number of innovations come to market that positively impact employment in the province.”

Quebec-wide collaboration

The initiative aims to stimulate collaboration between all Quebec universities and affiliated research centres. It integrates the intersectoral research programming put forward by the Directorate of Societal Challenges and Intersectoral Networks of the Office of the Chief Scientist. It also realizes one of the FRQ’s three societal challenges identified by the Stratégie Québécoise de la recherche et de l’innovation 2017-2022: fostering entrepreneurship and creativity.

The following institutions and a number of their affiliated research centres will be served by the program:

  • Concordia University
  • McGill University
  • Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM)
  • École de technologie supérieure (ÉTS)
  • Université de Montréal (UdeM)
  • Institut national de la recherche scientifique (INRS)
  • Université de Sherbrooke
  • Université Laval
  • Université du Québec à Rimouski (UQAR)
  • Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières (UQTR)
  • Université du Québec en Outaouais (UQO)
  • Université du Québec à Chicoutimi (UQAC)
  • Université du Québec en Abitibi-Témiscamingue (UQAT)

Find out more about
Concordia’s District 3 innovation hub.



Fiona Downey
Public Affairs
514-848-2424, ext. 2518


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