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60 years later: the Centre for Northern Studies is still at the forefront of northern research in Quebec
December 14, 2021

The Centre for Northern Studies (CEN) owes its existence to the initiative and perseverance of Louis-Edmond Hamelin (1923-2020), a visionary geographer, to promote research in Quebec's Great North. At the University Council of April 14, 1961, the creation in principle of the CEN was adopted. In a ministerial order (no. 1684) of August 2, 1961, the Government of Quebec, headed by the Honorable Jean Lesage, showed its interest in the creation of the CEN and confirmed an initial funding of $24,350.00 for this center (a sum equivalent to $223,182 in 2021 taking into account inflation). This center was also under the responsibility of the Minister of Natural Resources at the time, the Honorable René Lévesque. At the University Council of December 20, 1961, the CEN became the first official research center of Laval University. Mr. Louis-Edmond Hamelin became the Founding Director and the first Chairman of the Board of Directors of the CEN.

Sixty years after its creation, the CEN is not only the oldest research center still active at Université Laval, but also a Regroupement Statégique financed by the Fonds de recherche du Québec - Nature et technologies (FRQNT) and which brings together 83 researchers from 14 universities. The CEN's actions remain driven by the values of multidisciplinarity and inter-institutional collaboration. The amalgam of expertise of its research members includes animal and plant ecology, microbiology, paleoecology, limnology, geomorphology, hydrogeology, geology, civil engineering and archaeology. CEN's mission is to contribute to the sustainable development of northern regions by improving our understanding of these environments and our ability to predict the changes that affect them while training highly qualified personnel. Today, the CEN plays a central and structuring role for northern research in Quebec by operating two networks of research infrastructures unique in the world: 1) the Qaujisarvik network, which is composed of nine research stations that facilitate access to the North for researchers and 2) the SILA network, which is composed of more than a hundred stations monitoring environmental impacts in northern Quebec and the eastern Canadian Arctic. The CEN has acquired an enviable reputation with the Inuit and the Cree, which results in trusting relationships and facilitates research in the North for the co-construction of projects with Northerners and the advancement of knowledge on land and resource management.

To mark its 60th anniversary, CEN management is pleased to launch a video to promote northern research and the role of CEN


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