Open Science lives strong in Montréal

published on January 23, 2024
Trends and Technology Working Smarter

Montréal is one of North America’s leading hubs for life sciences and health technology, and a city where collaboration is part of our DNA. That combination is what makes it such an attractive destination for meetings in the life sciences, where the participants can dialogue, educate, collaborate and start to resolve some of medicine’s greatest challenges — together.

What is Open Science?

Open Science is a series principles and practices that aim, in short, to make scientific research accessible to all. It’s a simple concept whose end result is the betterment of all humanity, since it is predicated on sharing knowledge and therefore solutions and cures. In this interconnected world, it’s a must for resolving global issues and building a sustainable future whether it’s in health, society, the environment or economics. 

How? It requires us to promote sharing above proprietary notions of profit. That means changing some of our basic processes and opting instead for open licences, shared databases and accessible tools for everyone, globally, no matter the economic or cultural context. Key notions of Open Science are transparency, reproducibility, equality of access, flexibility, adaptability and collaboration.

Open Science in Montréal

In Montréal, we’re proud to put those notions into practice in our active life sciences community

At the Montréal Neurological Institute‐Hospital, for example, researchers are pioneering a project to accelerate understanding of the brain through open collaboration. Dr Guy Rouleau, director of the Neuro and co‐founder of the Tanenbaum Open Science Institute, is putting forth a research methodology based on sharing data, technology and research outcomes in view of trouble-shooting the most common challenges in neuroscience. 

“Open Science collaboration brings a multiplication of knowledge,” Dr Rouleau recently told the Financial Times. “We need an explosion of knowledge to be able to say, ‘that’s how the brain works.’ And then you develop treatments. If everybody adopts Open Science, it’s going to be a great multiplier.”

This sharing philosophy is emblematic of Montréal’s life sciences field. It’s part of what has made it an attractive ecosystem for researchers, entrepreneurs and biopharma leaders such as Novartis, Pfizer and Moderna, which is building a new mRNA vaccine factory just outside Montréal.

Open innovation in every leading sector

Montréal’s life sciences cluster thrives through Montréal Invivo, a non-profit economic development organization that embodies the Montréal ethos of partnership for scientific advancement and is an innovation catalyst in research areas such as cancer, ageing and genomics. It unites over 620 organizations and 41,000 skilled workers.

But the city’s innovative strength is also evident in sectors beyond the life sciences, including artificial intelligence, engineering, cleantech and information technologies. The city is home to world-class institutions like Mila (the Quebec Artificial Intelligence Institute) and the CHUM Research Centre, a major biomedical research centre at Université de Montréal, where academic or business meeting participants come into contact with frontier thinking in key fields for humanity. 

Meetings made to share

We’ve mentioned before that Montréal is ranked the top city in the Americas for hosting international conferences — well, 30% of the meetings held at the Montréal convention centre are dedicated to the life sciences and health sector. 

That includes some of the most significant gatherings in the life sciences world, from the World Congress of Neurology to the Annual Meeting for the Organization for Human Brain Mapping. These prestigious events not only demonstrate the city’s prowess in hosting large-scale gatherings, they also provide opportunities for thousands of experts to foster Open Science and share cutting-edge research.

Whether it’s making connections between big pharma and biotech, researchers or policymakers, Montréal is the perfect place to meet, share and open up.


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