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Partnership with District 3: a program to transform student researchers into "scientific entrepreneurs"

Concordia University's District 3 and the FRQ partner on a program to transform student researchers into "scientific entrepreneurs"

Innovative online training and network aim to facilitate a ten-fold boost in Quebec-based researchers who become entrepreneurs

The Fonds de recherche du Québec (FRQ) and Concordia University's innovation hub District 3 proudly announce their partnership to help Quebec's student research trainees become innovation leaders and entrepreneurs through the Quebec Scientific Entrepreneurship (QcSE) program.

The objective of the program is to bring university cities across Quebec in line with startup centers in areas such as Boston, hubs where 10% of entrepreneurial ideas born in research labs are converted into new business opportunities. While Quebec-based researchers are among the world's best and brightest, all too often their work doesn't leave the laboratory.

This new immersive program along with unique networking opportunities will stimulate collaboration between all Quebec universities and affiliated research centers. Together, they will integrate the intersectoral research programming put forward by the Directorate of Societal Challenges and Intersectoral Networks (DSMI) of the Office of the Chief Scientist. In so doing, they will be meeting one of the three FRQ's societal challenges identified by the Stratégie québécoise de la recherche et de l'innovation 2017-2022: fostering entrepreneurship and creativity.

"Quebec's strong economy provides powerful leverage for attracting and retaining PhD students," says Rémi Quirion, chief scientist of Quebec. "This program presents an exciting option for academics: to see their laboratory work have real-world impact through their mastery of entrepreneurial skills."

Beyond traditional research and teaching careers, the QcSE program positions PhDs and postdocs to help further propel job creation in Quebec where small and medium-sized enterprises have always been significant economic drivers. Students can test their entrepreneurship potential with nascent business ideas and prepare for their entry into the marketplace. It is never too early for a student researcher to network, to understand the work required to build a company, and to draw inspiration from Quebec's entrepreneurial culture.

The QcSE program's goal is to see 10% of Quebec PhD and postdoctoral researchers turn toward entrepreneurship within the next three years.

"Based on a new economic model, this program will provide the province's student researchers with the ability to build and scale research-based startups." says Christophe Guy, vice-president of Research and Graduate Studies, Concordia University. "Bridging the gap between the lab and commercialization will allow researchers to pursue an entirely new path."

"Researchers are the job creators of tomorrow," says Xavier-Henri Hervé, executive director of Concordia's District 3. "Their scientific knowledge combined with the right support could see a number of innovations come to market that positively impact employment in the province."

The inaugural cohort currently has 45 participants from a variety of backgrounds and affiliated with universities across Quebec. The program cycles through three distinct phases of training over the course of eight months. Recruitment is currently underway for the fall of 2019.

13 Quebec universities and affiliated research centers 
The QcSE program in partnership with the FRQ brings different actors in entrepreneurship together to offer customized training, developped specifically for scientific trainees, across Quebec. Institutions that will be served by the program include Concordia and McGill University, Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM), École de technologie supérieure (ÉTS), Université de Montréal (UdeM), Institut national de la recherche scientifique (INRS), Université de Sherbrooke, Université Laval, Université du Québec à Rimouski (UQAR), Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières (UQTR), Université du Québec en Outaouais (UQO), Université du Québec à Chicoutimi (UQAC), Université du Québec en Abitibi-Témiscamingue (UQAT), plus a number of these institutions' affiliated research centres.

About the Fonds de recherche du Québec
Under the responsibility of the Ministre de l'Économie et de l'Innovation, the Fonds de recherche du Québec are mandated to fund and ensure the strategic and coherent development of research in Quebec, support research training, develop partnerships to achieve their mission and promote and support knowledge mobilization.



Concordia University
Nadia Kherif
Senior Advisor, Public Affairs and Deputy Spokesperson
514-848-2424, ext. 4187

Fonds de recherche du Québec
Denise Pérusse
Director, Societal Challenges and Intersectoral Networking
418 643-8560, ext 3120