Press release: For greater support of university research

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Added on 8 February 2000 in Press releases


For greater support of university research -
Montréal TechnoVision, the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal and the Association de la recherche industrielle du Québec firmly support the opinion paper of the Conseil de la science et de la technologie du Québec, "Connaître et innover; des moyens concurrentiels pour la recherche universitaire"

Montreal, February 8, 2000–Three leading organizations committed to the technological development of Greater Montreal and Quebec, Montréal TechnoVision, the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal and the Association de la recherche industrielle du Québec (ADRIQ) joined forces today to ask the Quebec government to respond favourably - within its means - to the recommendations contained in the opinion paper entitled "Connaître et innover; des moyens concurrentiels pour la recherche universitaire," filed in November 1999 by the Conseil de la science et de la technologie du Québec.

This opinion paper asks the government of Quebec, specifically the Education and Science and Technology Ministries, to ensure competitive research funding for Quebec universities. The nine recommendations aim at increasing university research funding, specifically in the areas of information technology, engineering and health.

Recommendations conducive to entrenching Montreal as a technology hub

"The recommendations formulated by the Conseil are directly in keeping with those made by Montréal TechnoVision, which represents all the major sectors of the new economy, with a view to consolidating Montreal's role as a technopolis," said Denis Dionne, the organization's chairman of the board.

"We have asked the government to channel funds into universities specifically to consolidate research and training in information technology, health sciences and bio-sciences. The Conseil's recommendation to double the FCAR's budget by directing funding towards the creation or maintenance of research infrastructures is in keeping with the conclusions of our study on the need for professionals in the biopharmaceutical sector, where there is a great demand for PhDs."

"Finally, we firmly believe that university research is a strategic nerve centre not only for the development of skills but also for the growth of all high research industries," concluded Mr. Dionne.

Encouraging research to ensure the creation of stable jobs

"A glance at the most recent employment statistics clearly shows that job creation is driven by innovative activities and especially, sectors of the new economy," added the president of the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal, Pierre Laferrière. The hectic job creation pace in the Montreal region is the result of increased research activity in universities and companies.

"Indeed, the recommendations of the Conseil de la science et de la technologie coincide perfectly with our position on the future of universities in Greater Montreal. We are convinced that universities play a critical role in the development of research, technology and highly skilled human resources - the most important assets of companies in the new economy."

"We are very confident that the major contributors to research funding will step up their contribution as more dynamic, sophisticated and better equipped research centres spring up. Our proposals to the Minister of Education regarding university funding favours targeted funding and the accelerated development of centres of excellence at each institution."

University research and industrial research growth go hand in hand

For his part, Claude Demers, president and CEO of the Association de la recherche industrielle du Québec, subscribes to the belief that "the Conseil's recommendations will allow Quebec universities and enterprises to obtain even more funding from all sources - the federal government, the private sector and public foundations - if the Quebec government increases research funding, its foremost responsibility. Direct investments in university research, bottom up and top down, the financing of indirect costs, the increase in the number of young professors and researchers and a careful tracking of the returns obtained on research development investments lead us to expect major growth in research."

"We're fortunate to have in Greater Montreal and Quebec a critical mass that invests a lot of money in research in promising economic sectors. There's no doubt that greater investment in university research and its development can only serve as a powerful economic engine," concluded Mr. Demers.

The three organizations therefore wholeheartedly support the recommendations of the Conseil de la science et de la technologie and ask the government to act upon them, within its means. "Any investment in research is a healthy rational investment for our entire society" concluded the three executives.

The Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal has more than 7 000 members. Its mission is to be the leading group representing the interests of the Greater Montreal business community.  The objectives are to maintain, at all times, relevance to its membership, credibility towards the public and influence towards government and decision-makers.

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