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ACFAS Conference: INRS Co-presents a Symposium on Rural Areas

April 25, 2024 | Alexandra Madoyan

Update : April 25, 2024

INRS will be organizing three days of conferences and workshops as part of the annual ACFAS Conference.

INRS will be co-organizing a symposium about research in rural areas.

INRS will be co-organizing a symposium about research in rural areas.

The Institut national de la recherche scientifique (INRS) will be co-organizing a symposium, “La recherche en zones rurales: comprendre les fondements et explorer les pratiques” (Research in Rural Areas: Understanding the Foundations and Exploring Practices), for the 91st ACFAS Conference taking place at the University of Ottawa from May 13 to 15, 2024.

With panels and workshops spread over three full days, the event will bring together both research specialists and partners in the field.

Over 56 speakers from 21 institutions will take part in this symposium co-organized by members of the École nationale d’administration publique, INRS, the Laboratoire de l’innovation ouverte, the Université de Moncton, and the Université de l’Ontario français, as well as by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada.

Grasping the diversity of rural areas

Quebec’s rural areas are rich and complex in nature. How do they define themselves today, given the geographic, social, and ecological upheavals of recent years? What interactions and interconnections can be seen in the social, territorial, and cultural spheres of these areas? How can research—both theoretical and practical—guide and support rural communities?

Participants will discuss themes such as the environment, quality of life, education, health, local economic development, and community resilience in rural areas.

The symposium will open with a talk by Quebec filmmaker Hugo Latulippe on the theme “Pays-Paysage-Paysan” (Country, Countryside, Countryman). In a plenary session, he will present his vision of Quebec, exploring the way beauty springs from the land.

“I believe that our country reflects who we are. The way we live within it (or not) and

nurture it with care, respect, consistency, and love (or not) says fundamental things about us.”

Hugo Latulippe, Quebec filmmaker

INRS professor Cathy Vaillancourt, a toxicologist who specializes in links between environmental factors and pregnancy, will host a series of presentations on access to health services in rural areas on May 14. Those attending will also hear from Anik Dube and Jennifer Hakim from the Université de Moncton, Karine Latulippe from TÉLUQ – Université du Québec, and Ariane Plaisance from UQAR – Université du Québec à Rimouski.

Professor Vaillancourt will also present a workshop entitled “CoSanté: simulation d’un laboratoire vivant en région éloignée” (CoSanté: Simulation of a Living Laboratory in a Remote Area), a simulation of the CoSanté project developed by the Réseau CommunAutés Rurales et Éloignées en Santé (CARES) and funded by the Fonds de recherche du Québec – Santé.

Lastly, on May 15, INRS Chief Executive Officer Luc-Alain Giraldeau will lead a discussion on “Le rôle des universités comme levier de la recherche en zone rurale” (The Role of Universities as Drivers of Research in Rural Areas), with Alexandre Cloutier, President of the Université du Québec; Pierre Ouellette, President and Vice-Chancellor of the Université de l’Ontario français; Denis Prud’homme, President and Vice-Chancellor of the Université de Moncton; and Rémi Quirion, Chief Scientist of Quebec.

“I’m looking forward to talking about research and the future with my academic and scientific colleagues. What role can our institutions play in rural areas? How can mobilizing knowledge and working with communities help make our regions more sustainable? The research ecosystem plays a key role in the process.” 

Luc-Alain Giraldeau, Chief Executive Officer, INRS

Towards the creation of a research centre for rural sustainability

Since 2022, the INRS team has been leading a large-scale project to create a research centre dedicated entirely to rural areas. Headed by project manager Émilie-Jade Poliquin, the planned centre will address the unique challenges of rural life in Quebec.

The INRS Ruralités Durables Research Centre will contribute to the entire province’s economic, social, and cultural development by fostering vibrant rural areas and communities through research, research training, and knowledge transfer.

Find out more about the INRS Ruralités Durables Research Centre


In addition to the many members taking part in the ACFAS Conference, the IRNS community is involved in co-organizing the 20 or so activities offered over the course of the symposium.

Organizing the 91st edition of the conference was made possible with the support of ACFAS and the University of Ottawa. More specifically, INRS would like to thank Acfas-Acadie, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, the Centre de recherche sur la ruralité at the Université de Moncton, the Cité-ID LivingLab based at ENAP, the Centre de recherche et développement territorial (CRDT), the Laboratoire en innovation ouverte, and the Université de l’Ontario français.

The annual ACFAS Conference is the largest multidisciplinary scientific gathering in the French-speaking world. It attracts an average of 6,000 participants from Quebec, Canada, and abroad.