It has been only just three months since I began my mandate and I have already witnessed the effervescence within the Fonds de recherche du Québec – Santé (FRQS) and the Fonds de recherche du Québec (FRQ) as a whole. In my first few days, I took the time to meet one-on-one with each member of the exceptional team I have the pleasure of working with. It was a busy fall season, full of very motivating challenges!
I am fortunate to be taking up this position at a time when the Minister of Economy, Science and Innovation has granted major research reinvestments under the Stratégie québécoise de la recherche et de l'innovation and the Stratégie québécoise des sciences de la vie. The funding will serve to increase the support dedicated to new researchers, address the key social challenges identified by the FRQ, develop our research capacity and improve the assistance available for knowledge transfer. We aim to stimulate new developments, as well as strengthen our current research support structures, including the networks, centres and institutes. We are therefore leading consultations with sector stakeholders to advance the process to update the research centres and institutes program. At the same time, we continue to work with our partners to further support excellence in research in Québec. In this regard, the Oncopole has just launched its first program to fund cancer research.
With the members of my team, I began a tour of universities and research centres to gain a clear understanding of their strengths and needs. The visits are eye opening and I intend to pursue them in the new year.
I also took part in my first mission to Boston and New York with Chief Scientist Rémi Quirion and my colleagues in the scientific direction: Maryse Lassonde, scientific director of the Fonds Nature et technologies and Louise Poissant, scientific director of the Fonds Société et culture. We had the opportunity to realize the degree to which the excellence of Québec researchers is recognized in the world's leading scientific institutions and note the major prospects for collaboration with our southern neighbours.
On another note, the activities in which I took part at the Québec parliament made me see how interested political actors truly are in research. Indeed, they want to be informed of the scientific advancements that are made in order to better guide policy decisions.
The FRQ are also working to set out their 2018–2022 strategic plans. While taking their own specific characteristics into account, the teams of the three Fonds are dedicated to aligning their objectives in order to facilitate intersectorality in research.
I am very pleased to be addressing these challenges with the entire scientific community and our partners and contributing to the development of research in Québec.
In closing, I would like to wish each of you very happy holidays. I look forward to working with you in 2018!