As my term comes to an end, the time is right to take stock of all that has been achieved in the past five years and offer some thoughts on the promising future of the Fonds de recherche du Québec – Santé (FRQS).
Through successful collaborations and the support and mobilization of all the partners involved in research development, we addressed major challenges that we would not have overcome without these collective efforts. The development and strengthening of new generations of high-calibre scientific researchers remains our key focus, and this is reflected in the high success rates of our graduate research training and career awards programs.
Following an extensive modernization, the new theme networks program was launched in July. The analysis of the research centres and institutes program, which is in line with the process to reform the health and social services system, is moving forward according to the objectives that were set. We also maintained our support for the Unité SOUTIEN SRAP as part of the Strategy for Patient-Oriented Research led by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.
The recently created Oncopole is an innovative project stemming from a collaboration between the FRQS and pharmaceutical company Merck. It aims to pool the driving forces in oncology research in an effort to maximize Québec's positioning at the global level. By stepping up our efforts to establish partnerships, the FRQS now has over 80 active alliances. In addition, new national and international collaboration initiatives are currently under development.
The recent budget announcement of an increase of $180M for the Fonds de recherche du Québec (FRQ) over the next five years, including $20M in 2017–2018, is the outcome of a lengthy course of action to promote the importance of research in Québec in political, administrative, scientific and citizen forums. I am confident that the investments that have been promised will re-energize the pursuit of the activities to consolidate and enhance scientific research and explore new avenues for talent development, research groups and intersectoral challenges.
In sum, the past five years have been marked by developments in all areas, driven by accelerated learning and innovation with the clustering of the three Fonds and the creation of the office of Québec's chief scientist. The future is bright and the opportunities are immense.
During my time at the Fonds, I had the pleasure of working with colleagues from the health research community from across Québec. I appreciated their excellence and vast scientific expertise and very clearly see even more significant consolidation and positioning opportunities for our community in Canada and around the world.
A new development phase is getting underway and the moment to hand over the reins has come. I would like to warmly thank the chief scientist and my two colleagues who lead the other Fonds, the members of the board of directors of the FRQ and the entire staff of the FRQS and the FRQ joint services, who make all our achievements possible.
To the scientific community, I wish you much success. Here's to research!