As we begin a new year still under the shadow of the ongoing pandemic, it is more necessary than ever to remain on track with our projects and objectives and focus on the importance and relevance of social sciences and humanities research and the vision and richness provided by arts and literature. Our research has been solicited from all sides over the past months—as evidenced by the recent launch of a number of Concerted Actions—, confirming that the current context has decisive impacts on the mental health and wellbeing of all, young and old alike: on our interpersonal relationships, on our lifestyles and social climate, on the economy and the way we are managing the crisis, on the aspirations and expectations of every one of us. And there is no doubt that our fields of expertise will again be called upon to reconstruct meaning, should we reach a point of exhaustion, and to stimulate the commitment needed to ensure that we all emerge stronger from this pandemic.
We will be focusing on several projects at the beginning of the year. First, this spring we will submit our 2022-2025 Strategic Plan, to which the members of our research community contributed significantly after a variety of consultations over the last few months. I would like to take this opportunity to thank everybody for their valuable collaboration. I believe that this plan will reflect your interests and objectives. For my part, I place great hope in it.
At the same time, in 2022, we will pursue and complete our work in connection with the major initiative Économie créative et mieux-être, begun in 2021 (the International Year of Creative Economy as declared by UNESCO). Eventually, we will launch a large-scale project that will combine the talents, efforts and projects of the various stakeholders in the field. Whether enhancing the discoverability of Québec’s artistic content, supporting vulnerable people through the arts, strengthening cultural identity in the regions, or the democratization of the arts, we plan to increase our interventions with a view to deploying this exciting project in various areas, in collaboration with several partners.
Another major project we are currently working on should roll out this year: increasing Indigenous leadership in research. Launched at the initiative of the Chief Scientist and with the support of Grand Chief Ghyslain Picard and the Secrétariat aux affaires autochtones, the working group to ensure Indigenous leadership in research, which is made up of some fifteen members of Indigenous communities and members of our Board of Directors, is already at work. Its primary objective is to develop scholarship and grant programs adapted to the Indigenous reality in order to train an engaged next generation of researchers, thereby enriching the entire Québec research ecosystem and increasing awareness and understanding of Indigenous and Inuit realities in the academic world, for the benefit of all.
I would also like to share with you my pride in seeing our researchers continue to distinguish themselves through the excellence of their work in many international competitions. Consider the most recent research call of the Trans-Atlantic Platform, which attracted researchers from twelve countries on the theme Recovery, Renewal and Resilience in a Post-Pandemic World. No fewer than eight of the thirteen top projects in this highly competitive competition, out of 313 applications, involved Québec researchers!
Finally, I would like to thank once again all those who contribute day after day to the advancement of knowledge in our sectors. This research enriches our sometimes difficult daily lives, generates discoveries, and maximizes their impacts in the communities that use the results. Your work is invaluable, as is that of the members of the Board of Directors who represent you, and the unfailing support of our scientific advisors. And I cannot conclude without once again paying tribute to the extraordinary Fonds program management team, who keep our activities running smoothly despite the current context.
From the bottom of my heart, I wish you all a positive and inspiring year in 2022.
Scientific Director FRQSC