With Pierre Duchesne, Québec Minister of Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology, in attendance, Polytechnique Montréal announces the creation of the Centre interdisciplinaire de recherche sur l'opérationnalisation du développement durable (CIRODD — Interdisciplinary Research Centre on Sustainable Development Operationalization).
The first strategic group focusing on sustainable development in Québec, CIRODD brings together 15 research chairs, 71 researchers from 11 universities, three CÉGEPS and a technology transfer centre. These experts are well-known in the areas of life cycle assessment, corporate social responsibility, process engineering and re-engineering, environmental policy and law, eco-design, industrial symbiosis, green logistics, sustainability measurement and analysis, green economics and sustainable innovation.
Active in a number of key industries in Québec (aerospace, food, forestry, mobility and transportation, construction and real estate, mining and ICT), the members of CIRODD have business relationships with more than 200 companies, as well as with various government departments and agencies.
Why create such a group?
“The main obstacles to the operationalization of sustainable development are undoubtedly ambivalence on the part of business and a lack of knowledge,” says Réjean Samson, Director and General Manager of CIRODD and professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering at Polytechnique. “How do we find the right solutions? How can we be sure that they're truly sustainable? There are a lot of factors to consider and we can't get the answers if we're operating in a vacuum. In order to find such solutions, we need a range of expertise and a pooling of results.”
A unique research centre where interdisciplinary issues involving the implementation of sustainable development will be studied, CIRODD aims to become the catalyst for research in this sector, which is of strategic importance for Québec.
To fulfil its mission, CIRODD will receive funding from the Fonds québécois de la recherche sur la nature et les technologies ($2.46 million) and the Fonds de recherche du Québec - Société et Culture ($420,000), as well as contributions from the various participating research chairs, universities and CÉGEPS.
CIRODD's added value will be to provide a synergistic environment for researchers from various disciplines who want to conduct interdisciplinary research in order to generate the knowledge and tools necessary to develop truly sustainable solutions. The aim of CIRODD is to prepare both business and society for the transition to a green economy. One of CIRODD's key features will be to pay particular attention to the social dimension of sustainable development, with a research arm specifically dedicated to these issues.
CIRODD's mission is to “conduct, co-ordinate, integrate and transfer research on the operationalization of sustainable development, with the ultimate goal of facilitating the emergence of a green economy.”
“CIRODD will provide Québec with innovative and consistent scientific support for the implementation of its economic and sustainable development strategy,” explains Rémi Quirion, Chief Scientist of Québec. “It will encourage the transfer to businesses of the knowledge, tools, techniques, methods and processes necessary to produce sustainable goods and services, as well as the socio-economic resources needed to transition to a green economy. CIRODD will serve as a means of operationalization that dovetails nicely with Québec's Politique nationale de la recherche et de l'innovation (PNRI — National Research and Innovation Policy).
One of CIRODD's first projects, conducted together with Bombardier, is aimed at developing methods for the disassembly and recovery of end-of-life aircraft. Initiated by the Consortium de recherche et d'innovation en aérospatiale au Québec (CRIAQ — Consortium for Research and Innovation in Aerospace in Québec), the project brings together CIRODD academics (Université Laval, McGill) and industry representatives (Bell Helicopter, Aluminerie Alouette and BFI Canada).
The “sustainable telco cloud computing” project, in partnership with Ericsson, is another intriguing CIRODD project, one intended to develop telco-grade cloud-computing technology that will improve service quality and reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas production. This initiative is part of the Écolo TIC Project, which is aimed at boosting Québec's profile in the field of environmentally responsible digital technology and designing goods and solutions that are competitive in global markets.
Four major research components
CIRODD's scientific programming consists of four major research components: 1) measurement of sustainable development; 2) operationalization tools for businesses; 3) resources for socio-economic integration, and; 4) transfer to users.
CIRODD is headed by Director and General Manager Réjean Samson of Polytechnique Montréal, Executive Director Valérie Bécaert, and four Associate Directors: professors Daoud Ait-Kadi of Université Laval, Mohamed Cheriet of École de technologie supérieure, Corinne Gendron of Université du Québec à Montréal and Louise Millette of Polytechnique Montréal.
Valuable training for the next generation
CIRODD will also train a workforce with a holistic view of how to implement sustainable development and specialized in responsible production, consumption and governance. An estimated 450 students will participate in CIRODD projects and become future experts on these issues in Québec, the rest of Canada and internationally.
Parallel with its launch, CIRODD's first meeting will be held on November 25, providing its researchers with an opportunity for networking and discussion. Following this, the Student Forum, an event organized by students, will take place on November 26. Nearly 100 people are expected to attend this event, to be held under the theme “Vers la ville de demain” (Toward the City of Tomorrow).
A solid foundation, thanks to CIRAIG
Founded in 2001 by Polytechnique in collaboration with Université de Montréal and HEC Montréal, the Centre interuniversitaire de recherche sur le cycle de vie des produits, procédés et services (CIRAIG — Interuniversity Research Centre for the Life Cycle of Products, Processes and Services) consisted until recently of roughly 40 researchers from several institutions throughout Québec. These researchers will now work through the extended structure of CIRODD, and some 30 new experts have joined the team. CIRAIG remains a centre of global expertise for the development and operationalization sustainable development tools based on the life cycle approach, and its activities involving the strategic group will now be carried out through CIRODD.
CIRODD participant institutions
- Four main universities: École de technologie supérieure, Polytechnique Montréal, Université du Québec à Montréal and Université Laval.
- Seven other universities: HEC Montréal, McGill University, Université de Montréal, Université de Sherbrooke, Université du Québec à Chicoutimi, Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières, and Université du Québec en Abitibi-Témiscamingue.
- CÉGEPS: CÉGEP de St-Félicien and CÉGEP du Vieux Montréal.
- Centre de transfert technologique en écologie industrielle at CEGEP Sorel-Tracy.
For more information on the Centre interdisciplinaire de recherche sur l'opérationnalisation du développement durable (CIRODD): www.cirodd.org