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The CEN celebrates its 60th anniversary!

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

60th Anniversary Celebrations

60th anniversary CEN PHOTO CONTEST

Centre d’études nordiques (CEN: Centre for Northern Studies) invites all CEN members and collaborators to submit their best photos in the three following categories. 2021’s edition aims to celebrate the ideology of its founder, Louis-Edmond Hamelin.


Tribute to its founder. This category aims to illustrate the ideology of the CEN’s founder, Louis-Edmond Hamelin for whom CEN’s mission was to « savoir le Nord » (know the north), « faire le Nord » (do the north), « dire le Nord » (say the north), « par et pour le Nord » (for and by the north)


CEN in pandemic. This is a special category for 2021 that aims to image the reality of CEN’s research team during the exceptional context of the pandemic. The photos can be set on the field, at the university or at the laboratory, etc.


Peoples' choice award.


Thanks to all participants!

Click on the following link: Concours photo du 60e du CEN : édition hommage à Louis-Edmond Hamelin


A special issue of Ecoscience on northern research!

To celebrate its 60th birthday, the CEN invited all its members to publish in a special issues of its journal, Ecoscience. As a result,13 teams that responded positively and submitted an original research article for the special issues, covering all the research axes of the CEN.

Articles publised in the special issue:

  • N. Bhiry, M. Bernier, N. Lecomte, R. Fortier & J. Woollett (2021) The Centre d'études nordiques (CEN): challenges and perspectives of research on nordicity in partnership with Indigenous communities, DOI: 10.1080/11956860.2021.1987738 (Open Access)
  • N. Roy, J. Woollett, N. Bhiry, I. Lemus-Lauzon, A. Delwaide & D. Marguerie (2021) Anthropogenic and climate impacts on subarctic forests in the Nain region, Nunatsiavut: Dendroecological and historical approaches, DOI: 10.1080/11956860.2021.1932294 (Open Access)
  • C. Frederick, C. Girard, G. Wong, M. Lemire, A. Langwieder, M. Martin & P. Legagneux (2021) Communicating with Northerners on the absence of SARS-CoV-2 in migratory snow geese, DOI: 10.1080/11956860.2021.1885803
  • S. Pellerin, M. Lavoie & J. Talbot (2021) Rapid broadleave encroachment in a temperate bog induces species richness increase and compositional turnover, DOI: 10.1080/11956860.2021.1907976
  • A. Royer, F. Domine, A. Roy, A. Langlois, N. Marchand & G.Davesne (2021) New northern snowpack classification linked to vegetation cover on a latitudinal mega-transect across northeastern Canada, DOI: 10.1080/11956860.2021.1898775 (Open Access)
  • K. Langlais, N. Bhiry & M. Lavoie (2021) Holocene dynamics of an inland palsa peatland at Wiyâshâkimî Lake (Nunavik, Canada), DOI: 10.1080/11956860.2021.1907975 (Open Access)
  • E. Lemay,  S. D. Côté & J.-P. Tremblay (2021) How will snow retention and shading from Arctic shrub expansion affect caribou food resources?, DOI: 10.1080/11956860.2021.1917859 (Open Access)
  • E. Desjardins , S. Lai, S. Payette, F. Vézina, A. Tam & D. Berteaux (2021) Vascular plant communities in the polar desert of Alert (Ellesmere Island, Canada): Establishment of a baseline reference for the 21st century, DOI: 10.1080/11956860.2021.1907974 (Open Access)
  • E.J. Moran, N. Lecomte, P. Leighton & A. Hurford. (2021) Understanding rabies persistence in low-density fox populations. Écoscience, DOI: 10.1080/11956860.2021.1916215 (Open Access)
  • B. Narancic, É. Saulnier-Talbot, G. St-Onge & R. Pienitz (2021) Diatom sedimentary assemblages and Holocene pH reconstruction from the Canadian Arctic Archipelago’s largest lake, DOI: 10.1080/11956860.2021.1926642
  • J. Perreault, R. Fortier, & J.W. Molson (2021) Numerical modelling of permafrost dynamics under climate change and evolving ground surface conditions: application to an instrumented permafrost mound at Umiujaq, Nunavik (Québec), Canada. DOI: 10.1080/11956860.2021.1949819 (Open Access)
  • A. Delwaide, H. Asselin, D. Arseneault, C. Lavoie & S. Payette (2021) A 2233-year tree-ring chronology of subarctic black spruce (Picea mariana): growth forms response to long-term climate change, DOI: 10.1080/11956860.2021.1952014 (Open Access).
  • N. Nozais,  W.F. Vincent, C. Belzile, M. Gosselin, M.A. Blais, J. Canário & P. Archambault (2021) The Great Whale River ecosystem: ecology of a subarctic river and its receiving waters in coastal Hudson Bay, Canada,DOI: 10.1080/11956860.2021.1926137 (Open Access).
  • C. Touati, T. Ratsimbazafy, J.  Poulin, M. Bernier, S. Homayouni & R. Ludwig (2021) Landscape Freeze/Thaw Mapping from Active and Passive Microwave Earth Observations over the Tursujuq National Park, Quebec, Canada. DOI: 10.1080/11956860.2021.1969790 (Open Access).

Launch of the Founder's Award

This brand new scholarship was launched in 2021 to recognize the importance of Professor Louis-Edmond Hamelin, founder of the CEN, for its interest to study the North. Reflecting Hamelin's ideologies, this award is intends to recognize initiatives that contribute to "Knowing the North" (generating knowledge to better understand the North), "Doing the North" (contributing to the development of the North for the North) and "Telling the North" (sharing knowledge of the North and contributing to its visibility). The Founder's Award will be presented annually at the CEN Annual Conference to a CEN student or student-represented team for outstanding contributions to northern research.

The first recipients of the Founder's Award are Sophie Dufour-Beauséjour and Valérie Plante Lévesque who completed their PhD project at INRS. The two researchers carried out a project entitled "Communication and community relations in the context of the Nunavik ice monitoring project". Sophie and Valérie carried out this community communication project in parallel with their fieldwork on the ice pack in Salluit and Kangiqsujuaq between 2016 and 2018. The communication activities carried out by the two PhD students included:

  • the animation of a Facebook page;
  • the organization of activities with the communities' elementary school;
  • the animation of information booths at the Kangiqsujuaq Co-op and at an environmental forum.

On their own initiative, they also:

  • recorded a minibalado with high school students on their relationship to the territory and climate change;
  • wrote an essay on the deconstruction of colonial research practices that was published in the multidisciplinary journal FACETS


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