Health research is supported by both public and private funding.

Public Research

Until the mid-1960s, there was no formal support for health research in Québec or Canada.

At the time, researchers worked in hospitals to stay in tune with their research issues and close to their patients. Because hospital budgets did not accommodate researcher salaries, laboratory equipment or library material, the Conseil de recherches médicales du Québec (CRMQ) – which would become the Fonds de recherche du Québec - Santé (FRQS) – was created in 1964 to provide support for health research.

Within this general context, for the past 50 years, the federal and provincial governments as well as paragovernmental and private organizations have spearheaded initiatives in Québec to level the playing field in international health research. Public research, which had been carried out by isolated investigators and small groups, was slowly transformed, making way for centres and national and international networks that gained a multisectorial and multidisciplinary dimension.

Private Research

Québec is a strategic centre for private research in the health sector. By prioritizing R&D, tax breaks, labour force training, competitive operational costs and a vision for a knowledge-based economy, the province has made a name for itself on the world stage. By targeting certain key sectors and creating a synergy between the different strategies, Québec has developed several key niches. Today the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries constitute one of Québec's three main economic hubs, along with aerospace and information technologies.

Québec is one of the few places in the world where pharmaceutical companies can carry out all of the development stages for a new drug, from fundamental and clinical research to manufacturing and marketing.

  • Over 10,000 researchers work in biomedical research centres.

  • Each year, 5,000 students graduate from health-related programs, including chemistry, biochemistry, pharmacy, biomedical engineering and a number of others.

  • 10,000 scientists hold public-sector positions in the health sciences.

  • There are nearly 300 public and university research centres and groups in Québec.

  • Québec is a major North American centre for the life sciences, with companies engaged in basic research, manufacturing, biotechnology, contract research and medical technology.

  • Working tirelessly to perfect innovative processes, a number of world-renowned research centres are gaining international recognition for their scientific breakthroughs.

  • Nineteen international pharmaceutical companies have chosen Québec as the site for their Canadian headquarters.

  • More than 400 life-sciences companies employ over 25,400 skilled workers.

*Source: Investissement Québec website, June 2014

To learn more, consult  Le fil de la recherche en santé au Québec.