The CIRST Centre interuniversitaire de recherche sur la science et la technologie
Mission et vision
CIRST is Canada’s leading interdisciplinary group of researchers dedicated to the study of the historical, social, political, philosophical and economic dimensions of scientific and technological activity. Our work aims to advance knowledge and apply it to the development and implementation of policies, and to the resolution of societal problems with scientific and technological dimensions.
CIRST brings together some sixty researchers from a dozen institutions and as many disciplines, including history, sociology, political science, philosophy, economics, management and communications. Located on the campus of Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM), CIRST is recognized as a research unit by UQAM, Université de Montréal, Université Laval, Polytechnique Montréal and Université de Sherbrooke. Created in 1986 thanks to the Ministry of Education’s Actions structurantes program, CIRST was a strategic grouping of the Fonds de recherche du Québec – Société et culture from 1999 to 2014, and again since 2017.
CIRST’s mission is to create a network for research, exchange and training. The Observatoire des sciences et des technologies (OST) joined in 2002, and the Laboratoire sur la communication et le numérique (LabCMO) in 2008. Several Canada Research Chairs are also part of the network, as is the Bureau des initiatives numériques (BIN), set up in 2018.
CIRST was born of the merger of two research centers, CREST and CREDIT, both created in 1986 under the Actions structurantes program. This program was set up by the Quebec Ministry of Education in the wake of recommendations made in the White Paper on Quebec Research Policy published in 1980. With a budget of $70 million spread over three years, the program’s objectives were to create jobs, promote the growth of priority disciplines, and structure research and training activities on a permanent basis through assistance for training, scientific employment and equipment purchases.
Eight hundred new positions were to be created in some forty university teams. Each team was allocated $1.75 million over five years, 90% of which was to be used for employment. Among the social science teams funded were two from the Université du Québec à Montréal, the Centre de recherche en évaluation sociale des technologies (CREST) and the Centre de recherche en développement industriel et technologique (CREDIT). While CREST focused on the social evaluation of technologies, CREDIT studied the control and transfer of Canadian technology in the energy sector.
Given their complementary objectives, the dialogue between the two centres and the recommendations made by the sub-committee of higher education and research at UQAM, CREST and CRÉDIT merged in 1992 before officially adopting Centre interuniversitaire de recherche sur la science et la technologie (CIRST) as the name of the newly-created research centre in 1994. Its first director was Camille Limoges, former founding deputy minister of the Ministry of Science and Technology and co-author of Quebec’s first science policy.
In 1997, the CIRST was recognized by the FCAR Fund’s Research Center program, which provided an infrastructure grant. In 2002, the new programme of the Fonds de recherche du Québec – Société et Culture (FRQSC) called « Regroupements Stratégques » doubled the budget of the CIRST, which was already the largest grouping in Canada in its field. This support from the FRQSC was renewed once in 2008 and again in 2017.
CIRST in figures
As CIRST is a research center working mainly in French, the rest of the website is in French. Go back to the homepage >>