The Université de Montréal highlighted the great achievements of its researchers on April 20, at the Bravo Recherche ceremony.
The Université de Montréal celebrated the work of its research teams at the Bravo Recherche ceremony on April 20, held virtually for the fourth time. The pandemic will not have slowed down the 133 researchers whose exceptional work has been highlighted. They have been awarded Canada Research Chairs (14 awarded, 7 renewals), Industrial Chairs (2), Major Grants (8), Philanthropic Chairs (12 awarded, 12 renewals), Quebec Awards (25) , Canadian awards (38) and international awards (15).
Certain achievements particularly caught the attention of UdeMNouvelles, which spoke with four researchers.
Antoine Boivin, from the Department of Family Medicine and Emergency Medicine, Faculty of Medicine
Antoine Boivin was reappointed as Canada Research Chair in Partnership with Patients and the Public.
What were the main projects of the first five years of your chair?
I’m always a little embarrassed to talk about my achievements: these are team achievements and none of this would have been possible without the participation of the patients.
We first co-founded with Vincent Dumez the Center of Excellence on Partnership with Patients and the Public. The Centre, co-led with patients, quickly became one of Canada’s leading patient engagement organizations and hosted the 1er International Summit on Partnership with Patients and the Public in Montreal in 2019.
The main mission of the Chair is to develop the science of partnership. Partnership is both a relationship, an art and a science. The scientific and evaluative component is essential to ensure that best practices are followed and that patients have a real place in the process. The first achievement of the Chair was the establishment of the Caring Community research-action project with Ghislaine Rouly, a patient partner, who has been a peer support worker for 50 years. We realized that we would treat better together: often, people come to consult me for symptoms that have nothing to do with a medical problem and that require a response other than medication. Peer support workers have significant life experience and are committed as allies to listen and support, and to promote contact with people in the health system and the community.
What will the work of the Chair be about in the next five years?
We want to establish partnerships with marginalized people and communities, who are excluded from engagement processes, for example people who are homeless. Our work shows that, despite a very difficult life course, these individuals have experience and strengths acquired through these trials.
The second aspect of renewal is the passage from individual commitment to collective commitment. What is done a lot now in the health care system is to invite one or two people to sit on a committee. Rather, we must build communities of expertise and influence that will work together to act on the major social and environmental determinants of health.
Gérard Beaudet, from the School of Urban Planning and Landscape Architecture of the Faculty of Planning
Credit: Amélie Philibert
Gérard Beaudet won the Ernest-Cormier prize, awarded by the Government of Quebec.
The Ernest-Cormier award recognizes your remarkable contribution in the field of land use planning. What marked your career?
I have a background in architecture and urban planning. I started my professional life at the Technical Society for Regional Development. At the time, I had no idea of an academic career, but the question of the common good has always animated me and the university confers an advantageous position if one has the desire to be in the public square, to participate reflections on major societal issues and public debates. I consider that the treatment granted to us as academics justifies a certain form of return of favor, therefore a commitment as citizens or as experts through in particular a presence in the media, which is one of the main characteristics of my career. .
What are the issues you would like to work on in the coming years?
There are plenty! From the outset, I am often associated with heritage, but I have also touched on mobility, recreational tourism… Metropolitan urban planning issues have interested me for a long time, hence the writing of two books recently, the first on the suburbs and over-urbanization of the Montreal metropolitan region, and another on the major issues of public transit in the Montreal Metropolitan Community, especially in the suburbs. The issue of landscapes also caught my attention, and I collaborated on several projects with the Chair in Landscape and Environment at UdeM. However, these themes remain highly topical.
I consider myself a generalist, but I say jokingly that my work is colored by the fact that, in addition to my two training courses in architecture and urban planning, I had “bad associations” while working with geographers. The geographers with whom I was in contact influenced me a great deal, they even encouraged me to move from architecture to town planning. I think that these three points of view on the territory account for a good part of what I am as a developer.
Rosanne Blanchet, from the Department of Social and Preventive Medicine of the School of Public Health at UdeM
Credit: University of Montreal
Rosanne Blanchet received the Alice-Wilson Fellowship from the Royal Society of Canada.
What did this Canadian scholarship pointed out?
I was awarded the Alice-Wilson Fellowship for my work during my second postdoctoral fellowship at the Cumming School of Medicine at the University of Calgary. The project for which I was awarded examines how and why access to food and diet among people from racial or ethnic minority groups has changed during the COVID-19 pandemic in Canada and how these people have lived this change. We also want to ask them what measures are the most important to improve the food strategies and the health of their groups in Canada.
This project is ongoing; we are about to start recruiting for qualitative interviews. Quantitative data from a study that took place during the pandemic will also be analyzed to see changes in trends.
What do you want to focus on in the future?
What has always interested me is understanding why people have certain eating habits and how to change them so that they eat healthier, live healthier and live longer. One of the ways to do this is to make sure they are not food insecure. This concern is implicit in my career. I’m interested in aboriginal groups, immigrant groups, ethno-racial minorities because they face barriers when it comes to healthy eating in Canada. I want to understand the mechanisms that perpetuate these social inequalities in nutrition and health. And I hope my research will help improve strategies, programs and policies to reduce these inequalities.
I have just applied for a grant for another project that will focus on food insecurity among temporary immigrant workers in our food system in Quebec – agricultural environments, food processing plants, slaughterhouses. It is these workers who allow us to eat, but do they have access to the food they help to produce? We do not know; we welcome a growing number of these workers to Canada, but we do not know their living conditions.
Laurence Perreault-Levasseur, from the Physics Department of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences
Laurence Perreault-Levasseur obtained a grant from the Simons Foundation.
What earned you this important grant?
The grant we received comes from a large program open to all disciplines of mathematics and physical sciences. It is a very ambitious eight-year research program in which several establishments must collaborate.
I myself have expertise in the development of machine learning methods applied to astrophysics, a field that is still little exploited. After a PhD at the University of Cambridge, England, I started to get interested in artificial intelligence methods and machine learning as part of a postdoc at Stanford University. Artificial intelligence methods are not often applied to astrophysical data, and I saw the potential there was.
What will you accomplish with this grant?
In the next decade, many observatories will come into operation. The purpose of these new telescopes is to produce data to answer fundamental questions, in particular those on the nature of dark energy, dark matter. Getting answers to these questions is essential because these components form about 95% of the energy that makes up the Universe and we have no idea what they are.
These telescopes will generate an incredible amount of data. Just one of these new observatories will produce as much data as the Internet today. They will have to be analyzed, but the researchers have realized that traditional analysis methods do not make it possible to extract the maximum information from these data. We therefore need a radical transformation of the methods of analysis used in astrophysics and this is where recent progress in artificial intelligence and deep learning is interesting. My work has shown the immense potential of these advances to extract the maximum amount of information from the data produced. The research program with the Simons Foundation is part of this spirit. We want to extract from this data as much information as possible to build a 3D map of our universe, as it was approximately 400,000 years after its birth. It’s a huge challenge!
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Bravo Recherche: UdeM researchers stand out
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