News room > Press releases > 2016 > Minister Bibeau announces $213,187,000 to transform research at Université de Montréal, HEC Montréal, Polytechnique Montréal and McGill University

Minister Bibeau announces $213,187,000 to transform research at Université de Montréal, HEC Montréal, Polytechnique Montréal and McGill University

Tuesday September 6, 2016

The Government of Canada values the critical role the nation’s post-secondary institutions play in attracting world-class researchers, catalyzing discoveries that improve our health and environment, and contributing to an innovative economy that leads to more opportunities for the middle class and those working hard to join it.

To underscore this commitment, the Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of International Development and La Francophonie, on behalf of the Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science, celebrated $213,187,000 in funding for three projects at Université de Montréal, HEC Montréal, Polytechnique Montréal and McGill University. The funding is part of a landmark investment of $900 million in 13 post-secondary institutions through the Canada First Research Excellence Fund. The Fund strategically invests in areas where Canada’s post-secondary research institutions have the key research strengths to become global leaders.

IVADO, the alliance of Université de Montréal, Polytechnique Montréal and HEC Montréal, is proposing a transformative and far-reaching strategy for exploring artificial intelligence and big data: research to provide computers with quasi-human-level performance. Polytechnique Montréal will leverage its cutting-edge, university/hospital infrastructure to shape the future of diagnosis/prognosis, intervention and medical technologies for complex diseases through its Montreal TransMedTech (MT2) Institute initiative. At McGill, the university’s Healthy Brains for Healthy Lives project will establish a hub for neuroinformatics and accelerate translational discoveries that will improve brain health in Canada and around the world.

The 10 other initiatives funded today focus on developing areas of similar competitive advantage. They include sustainably developing our oceans; developing next-generation medical technologies; increasing the capacity, sustainability and safety of our food production systems; and improving human brain health.

The initiatives were selected for funding following an open competitive process among Canadian post-secondary institutions. The competition was judged by a panel of Canadian and international scientific experts.

Information about each of the 13 funded initiatives is available at


“The Canada First Research Excellence Fund will equip Canada to respond to some of the most pressing issues it will face in the future: brain health, sustainable food and water supplies, environmental concerns and future energy supplies. The research supported through the Fund will make the country stronger.”

– The Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science


“Today’s investment by the Government of Canada enables our leading post-secondary research institutions to capitalize on areas in which they excel. Indeed, it promises to make them world leaders in these areas and to strengthen Canada’s position as the destination of choice for innovation and cutting-edge research.”

– Dr. Ted Hewitt, President, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada and Chair, Canada First Research Excellence Fund Steering Committee


“The projects funded by the Canada First Research Excellence Fund, including those at Université de Montréal, Polytechnique Montréal, HEC Montréal and McGill University, will further world-leading science in Canada and have a direct impact on the lives of Canadians. From big data to brain health, the areas of research will pave the way for new discoveries and innovative practices.”   

– The Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of International Development and La Francophonie          


“Artificial intelligence and operational research are expanding at lightning speed. Our researchers, who have been at the forefront of these amazing advancements, are well positioned to lead in new developments that will benefit their public and private partners. The Government of Canada’s major investments will allow us to build on our head start and help a greater number of people.”

– Dr. Guy Breton, Rector, Université de Montréal


“This significant funding recognizes our campus’s strengths in data science and gives us the means to breathe new life into Montréal’s economic dynamics and actively contribute to the fourth industrial revolution.”

– Dr. Michel Patry, Director, HEC Montréal


“The MT2 Institute will consolidate its existing strengths and enable world-leading scientists and clinicians, along with their industrial partners, to work together in an exceptional interdisciplinary environment. This synergy will lead to breakthroughs in the development of medical technologies that help transform care, while also creating a model for research excellence for Canada.”

– Dr. Christophe Guy, CEO, Polytechnique Montréal


“We are immensely grateful to the federal government for this vital support. Our capacity for breakthroughs in treatment of brain disorders and our ability to improve lives will be heightened significantly by this important new funding.”

– Dr. Suzanne Fortier, McGill Principal and Vice-Chancellor

Quick facts

  • This is the second Canada First Research Excellence Fund competition. In July 2015, five initiatives received a total of $350 million in funding.
  • A total of $900 million is being awarded to 13 projects, with the largest single award of $93,732,000 going to Dalhousie University for its Safe and Sustainable Development of the Ocean Frontier initiative.
  • The Fund is administered by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, on behalf of the three federal granting agencies, which include the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.


Associated links


Véronique Perron
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Science


Media Relations
Innovation, Science and
Economic Development Canada