Regional centre of expertise in artificial intelligence - Université Laval announces creation of Intelligence and Data Institute

Université Laval and Québec’s Ministère de l’Économie et de l’Innovation today announced the creation of the Institute Intelligence and Data (IID). The new institute’s mission is to consolidate and support expertise and innovation in artificial intelligence and data science, two well-established fields at Université Laval. IID will be the nucleus of the new regional centre of expertise in artificial intelligence announced by the government of Québec. 

Minister of economy and innovation Pierre Fitzgibbon announced that the government will be investing $3,094,265 over three years to set up the institution.

“Our support for the creation of a regional centre of expertise in artificial intelligence in the Capitale-Nationale region sends a strong signal that the government is committed to the AI ecosystem right across Québec,” said Minister Fitzgibbon. “The centre will act as a local counterpart of the O Mile-Ex complex in Montréal. Close collaboration will be needed with O Mile-Ex to coordinate efforts and pool resources in order to develop and promote economic activities related to artificial intelligence.”

An interdisciplinary and collaborative initiative

Intelligence and Data Institute activities will fall under four main areas that leverage the strengths and expertise Université Laval has developed in artificial intelligence and data valorization:

  • The physical environment, which examines various uses and interactions between the physical environment and data at the scale of individual, building, city, or territory;
  • Health and Life sciences, which analyzes data on life, from individual molecules to entire human or animal populations, to increase our knowledge of the world;
  • Artificial intelligence and data processing methods, which refer to developing and analyzing innovative algorithms and methodologies in fundamental and applied research;
  • Ethics, confidentiality, and social acceptability, which integrate principles of ethics into artificial intelligence research and development to address security, confidentiality, and social acceptability concerns.


Université Laval’s artificial intelligence and data valorization expertise is extensive. From its many dedicated faculty members and specialized facilities, such as the Centre de valorisation des données (data valorization centre), to programs such as the  professional Master’s in Computer Science – Artificial Intelligence   and custom master’s in Urban Intelligence, the University is well equipped to tackle today’s challenges. 

The Intelligence and Data Institute is squarely in line with the many other innovative projects underway at Université Laval, according to rector Sophie D’Amours. “IID research will have impacts in all areas of human life. The institute will strive to create knowledge and solutions based on data, to connect and interconnect objects with people and other objects, and to make our technology smarter and more efficient for the benefit of individuals and communities. The support announced today shows Université Laval’s leadership in the field and will allow us to do even more to address the biggest challenges facing society, including the sweeping changes in today’s digital, demographic, and energy landscapes.” 


An institute that hit the ground running

The Intelligence and Data Institute now includes four research centres:

  • The Geospatial Data and Intelligence Research Centre (CRDIG)
  • The Big Data Research Centre (BDRC)
  • The Inter-University Research Centre on Enterprise Networks, Logistics, and Transportation (CIRRELT)
  • The Robotics, Vision, and Machine Intelligence Research Centre (CeRVIM)

“The Intelligence and Data Institute is a multidisciplinary hub designed to bring all of Université Laval’s artificial intelligence and data valorization expertise together under one roof,” says IID scientific director Christian Gagné. “As a regional centre of expertise, IID will drive innovation in our region. The institute will become a key player in the Québec City area for the development of these fields. We’ve been given an important role to play. IID has everything it takes to become a major player at the provincial, national, and international level.”

Internships in artificial intelligence

Mitacs partners with the Intelligence and Data Institute through a funding agreement totalling$6.4 million over five years, including a$1.72 million investment from Québec’s Ministère de l’Économie et de l’Innovation to carry out 430 internship units. This investment will give Université Laval students hands-on business experience in the field of artificial intelligence. In addition to supporting the institute in its role as a leader in Québec’s artificial intelligence ecosystem, this agreement will give businesses easier access to a pool of highly qualified workers as well as the leading-edge knowledge needed to tackle the challenges of an ever-evolving field and stay competitive nationally and internationally. It is all but certain that the joint research efforts between IID and the private sector made possible by this agreement will result in major economic spinoffs for the Québec City area.

About Université Laval

Driven by innovation and the pursuit of excellence, Université Laval is one of Canada’s leading research universities, ranking 7th with$403.8 million in research funding last year. It has 1,600 professors, 2,200 lecturers and other academic and research staff who share their knowledge with over 43,000 students, 25% of whom are enrolled in graduate studies. It values diversity and is proud of its university community, whose members hail from some 120 countries. The oldest francophone university in North America, Université Laval has so far trained more than 312,000 people who each contribute in their own way to the advancement of society

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