Breaking new ground

Concordia’s researchers contribute to city’s economy

Barbara Black

On the terrace at Montreal City Hall, displaying a booklet on industrial research being done at Concordia, are, left to right, Peter Kruyt, chair of the university’s Board of Governors, Mayor Gérald Tremblay, Vice-President Research and Graduate Studies Louise Dandurand, President Claude Lajeunesse, and Alan DeSousa, a member of the executive of city council.

Photo by Rob Maguire

President Claude Lajeunesse has taken Concordia’s message to City Hall. The message is that the university is deeply committed to the future of the city and intimately involved in its economic life.

His visit to Old Montreal on June 12 was a dramatic way to present a new publication in English and French, Engaged in Montreal’s Development (S’engager dans le développement de Montréal), to Mayor Gérald Tremblay. It specifically addresses the ways Concordia’s researchers are focusing on industrial and technological challenges that give Montreal a competitive edge.

Mayor Tremblay was in an expansive mood as he welcomed Chair of the Board of Governors Peter Kruyt, President Lajeunesse, Vice-President Research Louise Dandurand and a small group of researchers and staff. He related with enthusiasm how, when he was Quebec minister of industry, commerce, science and technology, he proposed supporting the concept of “clusters” (grappes) to embrace the strong and emerging aspects of Montreal’s economy.

He named 15 clusters that fall into four types: competitive clusters (aerospace, life science, information and communication technologies and textiles and clothing), visibility clusters (culture, tourism and service), emerging technology clusters (nanotechnology, advanced materials and environmental technology), and manufacturing clusters (energy, bio-food, petrochemicals and plastics, metallurgy and paper and wood products).

In February 2006, President Lajeunesse addressed the Montreal Board of Trade. In his speech, he promised to deliver a publication that describes Concordia’s contributions to the future of many of these Montreal-based industries through research performed at the university. The launch of Engaged in Montreal’s Development is the fulfillment of that promise.

Lajeunesse said he is aware of “the constant need to break new ground” in order to stay ahead of the competition, and push the boundaries of scientific and creative endeavour.

Tremblay responded by describing the “profound change in attitude” needed to galvanize local industry, attract new investment, and persuade entrepreneurs to invest in research and development for the long-term health of the city, the province and the country.

You can read the publication at