Message from the Vice-Principal (Research and International Relations)

The theme of this, the second issue of Headway, is one of the most pressing questions facing mankind: what will it take to protect and nurture our planet, for the benefit of this and future generations?

Denis Thérien
Denis Thérien

If I can presume to provide a one-word answer, that word would be passion—and it would be hard to find a more passionate group of people than the researchers whose work is described in these pages.

When I accepted the mandate of Vice-Principal (Research and International Relations) last fall, I did so because I am convinced that this university is populated by researchers who have both the capacity and commitment to make a difference to the world in which they live and work.

In these pages, you’ll meet people whose work is conducted in the lab, in the air, in the frozen north and in the hottest, poorest countries of the Earth. They may at times be separated by continents, but they are also connected by interdisciplinary and international networks. They are all also far, far removed from the fabled ivory tower of academia, where stuffy scholars reflect in privileged isolation from the mundane. Indeed, these inspiring colleagues are obviously driven by the conviction that they are privileged to be right where they are, in the thick of this challenging 21st-century world.

When this issue was conceived, it was agreed that the environment and sustainable development would be the focus of some, but not all, of the articles. When you read through it, I think you will find that, perhaps by happy coincidence, all the research covered here ultimately touches on the long-term health of our planet, of our society and of our bodies, minds and souls.

I am honoured to introduce you to these researchers, whose passion inspires both awe and confidence.

Denis Thérien


(Research and International Relations)