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Victoriaville, the first city to appoint a senior scientific advisor

The city of Victoriaville is innovating by formally appointing Professor from the University of Quebec at Trois-Rivières (UQTR), Simon Barnaby, as Principal Scientific Advisor. In fact, it is the first city in Quebec to offer this title to a researcher, allowing him to use his network for the benefit of Victoriaville and its region.

The announcement was made Monday morning in the Town Hall Chamber of Victoriaville City Hall which, incidentally, was packed with representatives from all walks of life as well as UQTR President Christian Blanchett, the World President of Quebec, Remy Kerion (via video), and of course Victorian Mayor Ville-Antoine Tardif.

The latter proudly noted that this was an important announcement, both for the city and for science in Quebec. “In Victoriaville, we have always had great ambitions in terms of sustainable development and the environment. Recognized as the cradle of sustainable development, the city has grown over the years and aspires to become a world leader in municipalities in this area.

To do this, he added, we must innovate, think outside the box and draw on the latest expertise to support actions. A step in this direction has been taken with the appointment of Professor Barnaby.

In 2020 there has already been the creation of a Municipal Research Chair for Sustainable Cities, in which the city has invested $300,000 in partnership with UQTR. “This partnership has proven fruitful for Victoriaville,” said the mayor.

The appointment of a Chief Scientific Adviser, a person recognized by the community, with an impressive academic background and proximity to cities, among other things, represents a tangible commitment of the city to the scientific community and higher education, and also allows us to be a leader in this field. “More than ever before, municipalities play a huge role in the environment, climate change, protecting biodiversity, reducing greenhouse gases and heat islands, organic farming, land use planning, etc. All issues on which Mr. Barnaby will advise the City of Victoriaville “,” the mayor summed up, adding that the alliance thus created with the scientific community will make it possible to do better, to do more.

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As pointed out by the lead person involved, Professor Simon Barnaby, it is in fact a matter of formalizing his functions since he has been collaborating with the City of Victoriaville for many years, in particular through the Municipal Research Chair for Sustainable Cities, which he has held since 2020.

This appointment, he summed up, will lead, externally, to better listening, and to a better exchange of information. “It will help the city of Victoriaville to internationalize in a way,” he said in an interview.

Professor Barnaby said the appointment is “a new way for small and medium-sized cities to bring science closer to municipal decision-makers and help them play a central role in the research and innovation ecosystem in their region and in Quebec.”

In addition, this will not incur additional costs to the municipality. Indeed, the mayor has specified that this appointment simply allows Mr. Barnaby to advise the city on various issues. There is no financial obligation related to this. »

Thus, the role of the Chief Scientific Adviser will be to support the municipality and its partners in innovative development projects.

And Quebec’s Chief Scientist, Rémy Kerion, who was almost there for the occasion, can only congratulate Victoriaville on this first step that he hopes will pave the way for other municipalities. “It’s a first and I’m sure it will be a great success. I hope other cities in Quebec, Canada and around the world imitate Victoriaville. It’s always so much fun being imitated,” he stressed, adding that Mr. Barnaby’s role would be to give feedback, but ultimately It is the elected officials who decide. “I hope to work closely with Simon and the city in order to develop more capacity in scientific advice,” he wished.

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Same story on the part of UQTR President Christian Blanchett, who was full of praise when he spoke of Simon Barnaby. “If Professor Barnaby’s participation was honourable, the mark of appreciation and trust expressed by the City of Victoriaville is also reflected in UQTR,” he said.