Message from the Scientific Director

Here we are at the end of our annual cycle, and it is time to take stock and say our thank-yous.

A significant retrospective dawns as we approach the 40th anniversary celebrations of the Fonds de recherche du Québec – Société et culture (FRQSC), which arose from the Conseil québécois de la recherche sociale founded on August 8, 1979. The Fonds will reflect on the impact of social sciences and humanities, arts and literature research, drawing inspiration from our slogan, "Nos recherches changent le monde" [Our research is changing the world]. How has our research changed over the last four decades? We find that research questions, problems and approaches have shifted and evolved, while leading to advancements in knowledge and the emergence of new disciplines. Indeed, the Fonds is currently involved in the revision of discipline classifications being conducted by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council.

And what does this research announce for the future? We know, for example, that climate, demographic and technological challenges demand and will demand great analytical strength, depth of thought and significant research capacity in the humanities and social sciences, as well as prodigious creativity to invent new models and different ways of inhabiting the planet. In March2020 we will hold a symposium to deepen this reflection, which is of continuous concern to us here at the Fonds.

This year was marked by numerous intersectoral initiatives, in many of which the humanities, social sciences, arts and literature played a central role. This was the case, for instance, with the second Audace competition, in which various research projects combining the arts with unusual disciplines – biomaterials production, engineering, pain treatment – stood out. Other funded projects involved crisis management, knowledge appropriation methods and an examination of specific living conditions.

2019 also gave rise to several initiatives on aging, one of the great challenges of our society. Several concerted actions are devoted to this and focus in particular on active ageing. The FRQ also launched the Platform of Funding Programs for Intersectoral Research on Aging, which features bold research projects, longitudinal cohorts and a living laboratory component. In addition, the Fonds Santé has brought a significant contribution to the funding of our institutes and university centres with ties to the health sector. I wish to welcome the new scientific director of the Fonds Santé, Carole Jabet, who is joining us this summer.

I would also like to thank the Fonds's extraordinary team, who provide direct contact with our research community and ensure that our rules are appropriate and equitable. The team also took on new responsibilities arising from international agreements with Belgium, France, China, the Trans-Atlantic Platform and the Agence universitaire de la Francophonie. We know how demanding it can be to organize and hold the competitions resulting from such agreements. 

In closing, I wish you all a wonderful, restful, inspiring and invigorating summer.

Louise Poissant