Innovation and creativity are part of Quebecers’ DNA, but it’s their ingenuity and sense of daring that allow them to capitalize on those strengths. The result? Projects that have people everywhere talking!
That tradition of creativity, daring and ingenuity is reflected directly in Québec’s labour market:
To make Montréal the “Silicon Valley” of artificial intelligence: that's the mission of Element AI, a platform launched in 2016 by entrepreneurs, researchers and investors in the technology sector. The goal: to create dozens of businesses and hundreds of jobs in Montréal. In June 2017, Element AI received record financing of $137.5 million from various investors including Microsoft, Intel and Nvidia. The funds will be used to hire 250 new employees based in Montréal, Toronto and a future office located in Asia.
Researchers at Laval University’s Centre d’optique, photonique et laser (COPL) developed a smart t-shirt that can measure, in real time, the user’s respiratory rate. It allows, among other things, for the diagnosis of respiratory conditions and monitoring of patients with asthma, sleep apnea or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Equipped with a miniature fiber optic antenna attached at chest level, the t-shirt functions without any wires or electrodes, and will even sustain washing, since the antenna is water resistant!
Many well-known medications were discovered in Québec labs! For instance, the combination therapy that enables so many people with HIV to enjoy long, fulfilling lives was developed here. Singulair, a drug that prevents and controls asthma and helps relieve seasonal allergy symptoms like rhinitis and hay fever was also developed in Québec. Those are just two examples of Québec’s exceptional capacity for innovation!
Pratt & Whitney Canada’s Mirabel Aerospace Centre is now one of the largest facilities of its kind in North America! The centre is the global hub for Pratt and Whitney’s integrated flight test operations and houses state-of-the-art equipment, including two Boeing 747SP aircraft.
Québec is the birthplace of JACO, a revolutionary tool developed by Montréal company Kinova, which designs and manufactures innovative personal robotics solutions. Light and portable, JACO can be used in multiple applications and has proven especially valuable in giving disabled persons more autonomy. In 2017, Kinova introduced a new version of the arm, JACO2, whose features include 7 degrees of freedom (i.e., the ability to perform a larger number of movements) as well as spherical movement.
A new method for detecting brain cancer could help patients live longer. Developed by researchers at the Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital (“the Neuro”), McGill University, the McGill University Health Centre and Polytechnique Montréal, the method uses a powerful pre-operative probe to detect cancer cells so they can be destroyed. Clinical trials are currently underway to demonstrate the efficacy of this technology.
Québec-based Triotech definitely has the wind in its sails, thanks to its innovative ideas. Its latest project, a haunted house of the future, is now a permanent attraction in Las Vegas. The immersive and interactive experience was inspired by the hit TV series Fear of the Walking Dead. Every step of the company’s manufacturing process is carried out in Québec. Triotech currently has about a hundred employees and facilities in 40 countries, including Turkey, China, Denmark and the U.S.
Here are just a few of the innovative companies operating in Québec:
Many players in the business world (large corporations, SMBs, research centres) are joining forces to launch projects that spur development and open new vistas for key economic sectors. These partnerships come under the stewardship of the Québec Research and Innovation Strategy (QRIS) initiated in 2010. The Oser innover campaign, publicly launched in 2017, aims to position Québec among the top-ten OECD leaders in research and innovation.
Here are examples of such projects, representing investments of over $400 million:
A number of Québec companies have decided to form precompetitive research consortiums, thanks in part to government encouragement in the form of generous tax credits! By joining forces, these new partners can share the costs and risks involved in R&D projects.
Businesses and public sector institutions—universities, technical schools, technology transfer centres and public research centres—have come together to form industrial research clusters. These coalitions serve as targeted collaborative research platforms focusing on the needs of specific industries.
Significant tax advantages for innovation
Generous tax credits to promote public-private partnerships are available in Québec, making research profitable for everyone!