Université Laval plans to create 100 new research chairs over the next five years, with $100 million in funding from public and private sources.
The program, called PAIR (for Programme pour l’avancement de l’innovation et de la recherche) is the most ambitious initiative of its kind ever launched in Quebec, according to Laval’s vice-rector, research, Edwin Bourget.
Three-quarters of the new chairs will be divided equally among the three main research sectors: health; science and engineering; and humanities, social sciences and arts. Of the remaining 25 chairs, 15 will be assigned for projects involving several faculties and 10 will be devoted to emerging sectors.
“We wanted to send a clear message to the university community so that faculties are encouraged and motivated to submit innovative research projects,” said Dr. Bourget. “We’ll need to be creative and develop new sources of private funding while maintaining our partnerships with the public and para-public sectors.”
He said he could envisage several types of partnerships with a minimum investment of $200,000 by a partner. “A chair could have several partners from different sectors sharing a common interest in a particular field,” he said.
The announcement was greeted as “terrific news” by Howard Alper, chair of the new Science, Technology and Innovation Council of Canada, set up to advise the federal government.
“If our country is to maintain and improve its position in the global knowledge economy, our universities must attract and hold onto exceptional researchers. PAIR will draw some of the most brilliant minds to Université Laval, which will benefit student research and education.”