The QI and research

The QI and research

The QI and research: a world-class place for experimentation in the service of universities and society

Julie Bourgoin
University Program Manager
//jbourgoin [at]">jbourgoin [at]

The Quartier de l’Innovation is a world-class urban experimentation lab and a key factor in positioning Montréal as a city of higher learning and innovation in Canada as well as globally, a vibrant city with a quality of life that attracts talent and investments. Supporting the mission of universities as major economic drivers and actors in regional development is part of the QI’s DNA.

In fact, the QI was founded in 2013 on the initiative of McGill University and the École de technologie supérieure (ÉTS) in order to provide a unique space for experimentation that is rooted in the real world, to create opportunities for large teaching and research institutions to reach out to local communities, to identify practice environments for researchers, and finally to pave the way for research and higher learning institutions to develop new public and private partnerships.

Today, the QI works closely with four partner universities, Concordia and UQAM having joined in 2016. It provides access to a network of academic and research talent that now includes roughly 140,000 students and some 5,000 researchers and full professors, not counting the thousands of course lecturers. It facilitates inter-sectorial connections at every step in the innovation chain, from fundamental research to commercialization, to promotion and the transfer and application of new knowledge in every area of activity.

Transforming knowledge into technological and social innovations for the sustainable progress of our society

The QI strengthens the city’s technological and social capital by offering the business world, communities and decision-makers solutions based on research conducted within these partner universities by working closely with research, technological transfer and commercial support offices and by working with other external research and innovation intermediaries. Partnerships between higher learning institutions and businesses are essential to the creation and maintenance of quality jobs and a diversified economy.

Concretely, the QI helps galvanize the innovation chain and encourages the development of new approaches to innovation and the transformation of communities and sectors. In particular, it:   

fosters relationships between creative researchers and innovative businesses or social innovators in order to develop services or products and co-produce knowledge
co-develops private and public initiatives that benefit from the contributions of researchers and that improve the urban fabric and residents’ quality of life
facilitates the acquisition and use of new knowledge and new practices in various sectors and processes
disseminates cutting-edge research and facilitates the circulation of ideas among new audiences by organizing various events and leveraging its digital platforms
identifies research needs in its ecosystem and shares them with universities
collaborates with university business incubators (McGill Dobson Centre, District 3, Centech, UQAM’s Centre d’entrepreneuriat)
supports student projects that help establish new innovations


Several projects that promote collaboration between universities

For the universities, the QI is a platform where they can develop projects together and reflect on shared issues. It is a vehicle for institutional collaboration and it contributes to the development of a culture of complementarity. For example, the QI offers shared opportunities, like participation in its Open-Air Laboratory for Smart Living, its major annual meeting at the Montréal Summit on Innovation—the 7th edition of which will next be held as part of C2 Montréal 2018—the Mat’inno event series organized in collaboration with the Junior Chamber of Commerce of Montreal, and Les 24h de l’innovation.

Don’t miss the Shaping Neighbourhoods series organized in collaboration with McGill University's CIRM - the Centre for Interdisciplinary Research on MontrealShaping Neighbourhoods is a new format of discussions on innovative local initiatives related to urban planning!