Here are the 12 research areas our researchers focus on to help cement the Faculty’s reputation at home and abroad.
Transmitting, processing, and analyzing data to improve forecasting and diagnostics
UL researchers are skillfully employing mathematical formulas and programming languages to solve complex problems using the vast quantities of data available and the rise in computing power, which has increased tenfold in recent years. Actuaries working in risk analysis, mathematicians specializing in modelling, electrical engineers with expertise in signal processing and AI specialists in computer science all share the same goals: to make data talk and optimize its use.
Improving water quality and preserving ecosystems
Canada is a vast northern country with an abundance of wildlife, plants, water, and other natural resources. But these resources are under threat from climate change, increased urbanization, and agriculture. That’s why many of our researchers are working on issues related to water management, protection, treatment, and optimization as well as ecosystem biodiversity and the conservation of marine, wildlife, and plant species.
Understanding and measuring changes in the North
As ice cover and permafrost melt, it is crucial to deepen our understanding of climate change in the Canadian Arctic. Université Laval is a leader in northern studies and has stepped up multidisciplinary collaborations and projects in the field in recent years. An impressive number of high-caliber researchers are now documenting the dramatic effects of ice cover and surface temperature fluctuations on life in Arctic seas, the fate of carbon in northern lakes, and the transition from Arctic to boreal ecosystems.
Developing greener technologies and processes
Every day, researchers at the Faculty of Sciences and Engineering are actively advancing sustainable development through their work on more energy-efficient and greener mineralurgical processes, more efficient turbine and wind turbine prototypes, and cleaner chemical processes such as catalysis and electroactive polymer manufacturing.
Harnessing the tremendous potential of glass and light
Université Laval is an undisputed leader in the high-tech field of optics, photonics, and lasers. Our researchers are responsible for major scientific breakthroughs in the field, including work on ultrashort laser pulses. Their expertise in areas such as fibre optics, photonic materials, and optical communications is revolutionizing medicine, telecommunications, and agriculture.
Optimizing supply chains with artificial intelligence
With artificial intelligence driving industry 4.0, manufacturing and natural resource industries are under pressure to integrate decision-making software into their physical production systems. Researchers at Université Laval are investigating how to help them successfully automate processes and manage big data.
Making better use of our resources
The quality and abundance of our wildlife, plant, and mineral resources go hand in hand with proper resource management, a central concern for many of our faculty members. Mineral exploration and the sustainable development of mining resources are fertile subjects for research at the Faculty of Science and Engineering, which is home to specialists in geology, mining engineering, and earth sciences. In terms of wildlife and plants, UL has biologists with interests in aquaculture, beekeeping, and agroforestry, and others specialized in the management and conservation of endangered species such as woodland and migratory caribou.
Virtual reality and collaborative robots working for us
Working on futuristic technologies that will soon become a reality is part of the everyday routine for many UL researchers in electrical, mechanical, computer, and software engineering. These inventors, who are working to create advanced mechanical hands, a smart system for identifying tree species, and technology to better illuminate 3D virtual objects, are helping transform our world in fields like health, rehabilitation, art, and industry and reshaping life in society.
Cutting-edge technologies are improving diagnoses and treatments and increasing patient autonomy
Most of our faculty departments have researchers working on processes, applications, and technologies designed to improve people’s health and well-being, whether by improving diagnoses using medical imaging and nanomaterials, developing brachytherapy treatments, understanding diseases through the study of bacteriophages and evolutionary biology, or enhancing patient autonomy using smart algorithms for assistive robots.
Designing materials with extraordinary properties
Many of our professors are working to create longer-lasting, more resistant, and greener materials with ever more exciting properties. They are developing new polymers for solar cells, luminescent nanoparticles for medical imaging, composite structures for more durable pavement, and aluminum alloys for bridges.
Understanding how things work from the infinitely small to the infinitely large
Our researchers in biology, chemistry, geology, mathematics, and physics make discoveries that sometimes shake up the world of science and pave the way for new applications and technologies. In recent years, one of our teams in microbiology played a major role in identifying and describing the CRISPR-Cas9 molecular tool, a powerful genetic scalpel that is now used in all major genetic laboratories. A team from the Department of Chemistry has also taken an important step towards better understanding the mechanisms involved in surface chemistry.
Understanding living organisms
The study of biological systems will be a priority for future researchers because it is central to understanding nature and its effects on human health. This field of study has numerous applications in a broad range of fields, including ecology, virology, and the food industry. Its impacts are many—and sometimes unexpected. For example, the study of bacteriophages led to the discovery of the CRISPR-Cas9 genome editing tool.