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Strategic partnerships

As part of its internationalization strategy, Université Laval has opted to build close relations with a limited number of universities in order to foster stronger synergies.

Université de Bordeaux
Université Côte d’Azur (UCA)
Université catholique de Louvain (UCLouvain)
Université de Lausanne
Université de Lausanne

The projects generated by these partnerships stem for a shared vision of development in shared sectors of excellence. They testify to the strong potential for cooperation and often take the shape of cross-cutting training-research initiatives:

  • Sharing best practices in university governance
  • Joint or alternating summer schools
  • Joint intensive courses
  • Dual-degree programs
  • Co-supervised PhDs
  • Student, faculty, and professional mobility 
  • Scientific networks and collaborations
  • Joint research projects with cross-funding
  • Joint chairs
  • International associated laboratories (LIAs) and international joint units (UMIs)
  • Co-organization of scientific events
  • Research and training internships

(Please note that some links in this section are in French only)

University of Bordeaux

University of Bordeaux (UBx)

With its 575-year history and 56,000 students, the University of Bordeaux is one of the leading universities in France. Selected for the French government's Excellence Initiative (IDEX) program in 2012, UBx has made international collaboration a core feature of its institutional ambitions.

Our strategic partnership

Université Laval and the University of Bordeaux have a very long history of friendship. Together, they have developed numerous educational and research collaborations since concluding their first strategic alliance in 2007, with more than 20 agreements to date, as well as cooperation and formative initiatives throughout the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region.

Areas of strategic partnership

UL’s strategic partnership with UBx involves multiple faculties and researchers and focuses on four main areas:

  • Health and wellness
  • Natural resources
  • Innovative technology
  • Societies and cultures

The partnership has resulted in or facilitated the following initiatives:

  • Creation of the Optinutribrain International Associated Laboratory (LIA) and Food4BrainHealth International Research Network (RRI)
  • Creation of the international associated laboratory (LIA) Lumière matière Aquitaine Québec LuMAQ 
  • Establishment of Réseau Dg2, a network of excellence for academic leaders in governance and management
  • Establishment of the AQeau and AQeau2 scientific networks
  • Establishment of the AQ Forêt-Bois scientific network
  • Development of the Aquitaine-Québec Jeunes et Religions partnership
  • Creation of the LaBoétie platform (in international law)
  • Close to 35 co-supervised PhD dissertations 
  • An impressive number of bilateral, dual-degree, and summer school programs

More than 250 student mobility exchanges over the past five years


Université Laval
Marie-Andrée Doran
Deputy Vice Rector
Office of the Vice Rector of External and International Affairs and Health
ULaval Director of the ULaval/UBx Strategic Partnership

University of Bordeaux
Laurent Servant
Vice President, International Networks
UBx Director of the ULaval/UBx Strategic Partnership 

University of Côte d’Azur (UCA)

Created in 2015 through the merger of several Côte d’Azur universities and postsecondary institutions, University of Côte d’Azur (UCA) is a research university ranked among the best in France.  Selected for the French government’s Excellence Initiative (IDEX) in 2016, UCA has established five academies of excellence and encourages transdisciplinarity through its core programs.

Our strategic partnership

In February 2017, UL and Université Côte d’Azur signed a strategic partnership framework agreement to concretize our shared desire to collaborate effectively in all areas of academic life.   

The partnership has already given rise to several joint transdisciplinary research projects cofunded under flagship collaborative endeavours such as the one between UCA-JEDI and Sentinel North.

Ensemble pour la science

University of Côte d’Azur

Areas of strategic partnership

Multiple joint initiatives have emerged, particularly in the following areas:

  • Instructional design and support for academic success 
  • Art, culture, and society
  • Bioactive molecules and aromas and fragrances
  • Plant health
  • Big data and artificial intelligence
  • Observatories monitoring the impact of AI and digital technology
  • Health, wellness, and aging
  • Neuroscience
  • Optics and photonics
  • University governance, smart campuses
  • Smart cities, the environment, public health, and sustainable health 

Our collaborative efforts have resulted in:

  • A partnership agreement on artificial intelligence (AI) and establishment of the Maison de l’IA 
  • The creation of two parallel observatories dedicated to monitoring the impact of AI (OBVIA and OTESIA)
  • Funding for three Educational Leadership Chairs (ELCs)
  • The development of numerous  research, training, and research internship collaborations
  • Over 15 educational, research, and governance missions between the partner institutions


Université Laval
Marie-Andrée Doran
Deputy Vice Rector
Office of the Vice Rector of External and International Affairs and Health
ULaval Director of the ULaval/UCA Strategic Partnership

Erwan Paitel
UCA Director of the ULaval/UCA Strategic Partnership

Science place in UCLouvain

Catholic University of Louvain (UCLouvain)

Founded in 1425, UCLouvain is one of the oldest universities in Europe. This forward-looking institution is the leading French-language university in Belgium, with nearly 31,000 students on 7 campuses. UCLouvain is a globally oriented university—25% of its teaching staff and 40% of its scientific staff is international.

Our strategic partnership

The growing number of scientific and educational collaborations and of European students coming to Université Laval led UL and the Catholic University of Louvain to sign a strategic partnership agreement in 2018.

Affected Faculties

Research and educational collaborations have been developed by several faculties: 

  • Faculty of Medicine
  • Faculty of Law
  • Faculty of Science and Engineering
  • Faculty of Music
  • Faculty of Social Sciences
  • Faculty of Nursing
  • Faculty of Business Administration
  • Faculty of Arts and Human Sciences
  • Faculty of Agriculture and Food Sciences 
  • Faculty of Planning, Architecture, Art and Design
  • Faculty of Philosophy 
  • Faculty of Forestry, Geography and Geomatics
  • Graduate School of International Studies

Ever year, more than 75 international exchange students take advantage of bilateral mobility programs offered by the two universities.

Areas of strategic partnership

Under the auspices of the Louvain4 program, researchers at Université Laval and UCLouvain are joining forces to deploy their efforts in four areas of key strategic importance in the years ahead:

  • Aging
  • Nutrition
  • Education
  • Migration


Université Laval
Marie-Andrée Doran
Deputy Vice Rector
Office of the Vice Rector of External and International Affairs and Health
ULaval Director of the ULaval/UCLouvain Strategic Partnership 

Dana Samson
Pro-Rector for International Affairs
UCLouvain Director of the ULaval/UCLouvain Strategic Partnership

University of Lausanne

Founded in 1537, the University of Lausanne (UNIL) has 7 faculties and 15,000 students, 20% of whom are international students. UNIL offers a stimulating academic environment where innovation is valued and knowledge is put to work to serve the broader community.

Our strategic partnership

In addition to the strategic partnership signed in 2017, UNIL and Université Laval have consolidated ties through the creation of the international Joint Unit in Neurodevelopment and Child Psychiatry (UMI-NP) and the development of a roadmap identifying potential areas for future collaboration:

  • Teaching in higher education
  • Geoscience and medicine
  • Nursing
  • Psychology and sport
  • University governance (sustainability and international relations)
University of Lausanne

International Joint Unit in Neurodevelopment and Child Psychiatry (UMI-NP)

UMI-NP was established in June 2016 and is linked to the Canada Excellence Research Chair in Neurophotonics held by Pierre Marquet. The goal of the unit’s research program is the early detection of cellular-level vulnerability biomarkers in young children using a combination of neurophotonic tools and cell reprogramming and differentiation techniques.

UMI-NP is based in Québec City at the Institut universitaire en santé mentale research centre. It currently has three professors and a support team made up of six research professionals, including two coordinators. Its activities are international in scope, enabling it to work with cohorts of patients and at-risk children from highly diverse populations.

Associated International Laboratory in Complex Hydrogeological Systems (LIASHyC)

Plans for an associated international laboratory in complex geological systems were formally launched in December 2017.  This lab is run by researchers from UNIL (Faculty of Geosciences and Environment), Université Laval (Marc Constantin), the University of Neuchâtel, and the Québec-based Institut National de la Recherche Scientifique (INRS).  Fields of inquiry include the hydrogeology of fissured environments, the hydrogeology of northern and alpine regions, and the characterization of hydrogeological heterogeneities for the study of groundwater.

Joint courses and workshops, mobility exchanges for PhD candidates and post-doctoral fellows, faculty exchanges, and joint field campaigns are among the activities planned under the auspices of LIASHyC.


Université Laval
Richard Poulin
International Office
UL director of the UL/UNIL Strategic Partnership

Sao Paulo State University

Sao Paulo State University

Founded in 1976 in the wake of the merger of several institutions, Sao Paulo State University (UNESP), is Brazil’s largest public university, with facilities in 24 cities in the state of Sao Paulo.

Our strategic partnership

As part of the partnership with UNESP, the Quebec-Brazil Photonics Research International Joint Unit (UMI) was created under the direction of Professor Younès Messaddeq in 2013. UMI’s research program, which is associated with the Canada Excellence Research Chair in Photonic Innovations, aims to develop photonic material for applications in IT, medicine, public health, and the environment and sustainable development.

UMI is based on the ULaval campus. Eleven Brazilian professors and researchers have worked there as visiting faculty since 2013, along with 10 graduate students completing their dissertations under ULaval-UNESP co-supervision.  Faculty members and graduate students from UNESP and other groups of research partners also regularly visit UMI.

Additional work, including projects cofunded by Brazilian sources, is also underway in Sao Paulo.


Université Laval
Richard Poulin
International Office
UL director of the UL/UNESP Strategic Partnership