The International Observatory on the Societal Impacts of AI and Digital Technology – is proud to announce it has been awarded a new grant from the Fonds de recherche du Québec for the period 2023-2028, for a total amount of $15 million.
This announcement represents a major milestone for research into the societal impacts of artificial intelligence (AI) and digital technology. It will help support new interdisciplinary research teams – including the next generation of scientists – accompany emerging projects, strengthen knowledge mobilization and transfer activities, improve digital literacy, and stimulate public participation in the debates sparked by AI and digital technologies.
This kind of investment, mainly in the humanities and social sciences, demonstrates a strong commitment from the government of Quebec to take into account the societal impacts of AI and digital technologies in research and development activities.
This renewal also testifies to the FRQ’s confidence in Obvia’s mission, its community of 260 researchers, and its model based on interdisciplinarity and cross-sector collaboration.
An investment in research and society
All the sums invested will effectively support research and researchers.
- 4.5 million to support innovative, interdisciplinary research projects and start-up projects
- 3.6 million to support the next generation of scientists
- 1.5 million dedicated to the development of various research areas and new priority research projects
- 900,000 dedicated to strengthening knowledge mobilization and transfer activities, enhancing digital literacy and encouraging public participation in the debates raised by AI and digital technologies.
Strengthening interdisciplinary research in the service of society
This second phase will allow us to assert our leadership in advancing knowledge on the societal impacts of AI and digital technologies. We are, more than ever, committed to placing living beings and the biosphere at the heart of our work. and intensifying our collaborations with industry and developers, public players and policy-makers, civil society and our international partners.
Obvia’s objectives for 2023-2028:
- Continue to federate and support Quebec’s research players on the societal impacts of AI and digital technology, notably by funding new interdisciplinary research teams.
- Strengthen the interdisciplinary training of the next generation of scientists and participate in the development of individual, organizational and collective skills related to the societal impacts of AI and digital technologies.
- Consolidate the development of a network of national and international research collaborations.
- Support the scientific community in developing knowledge transfer and scientific advisory capabilities for the benefit of the various stakeholders.
- Collaborate with other ecosystem players and public decision-makers to facilitate an informed conversation in Quebec.
- Promote the emergence of responsible frameworks and governance mechanisms for a trustworthy AI.
Strengthening our governance
This ambitious program will be supported by a new team of scientific co-directors who will take part in the development of strategic actions within our research community, in collaboration with our various partners.
- Lyse Langlois, professor in the Department of Industrial Relations in the Faculty of Social Sciences et Université Laval, and Executive Director at Obvia
- Marc-Antoine Dilhac, professor in the Department of Philosophy at Université de Montréal: international collaboration
- Karine Gentelet, professor in the Department of Social Sciences at Université du Québec en Outaouais: collaboration with civil society
- Philip Jackson, professor in the School of Psychology at Université Laval: research
- Steve Jacob, professor in the Department of Political Science at Université Laval: collaboration with public players
- Nathalie de Marcellis-Warin, professor at École Polytechnique Montréal and President and CEO of CIRANO: measurement tools, monitoring and surveys
- Pierrich Plusquellec, professor in the School of Psychoeducation at Université de Montréal: collaboration with industry and developers
- Tania Saba, professor in the School of Industrial Relations atUniversité de Montréal: equity, diversity and inclusion.
Thematic research areas
Co-leaders of thematic axes will also be responsible for animating scientific life and supervising research work within Obvia.
- Ethics, governance and democracy: Allison Marchildon, Professor in the Department of Philosophy and Applied Ethics at Université de Sherbrooke, and Bryn Williams-Jones, Director of the School of Public Health at Université de Montréal
- Industry 4.0, work and employment: Christian Levesque, full professor in the Human Resources Management Department at HEC Montréal, and Julie Garneau, professor in the Industrial Relations Department at the Université du Québec en Outaouais
- Education and empowerment: Chris Isaac Larnder, professor of Physics at John Abbott College, and Otilia Holgado, professor in the Faculty of Education at Université de Sherbrooke
- Sustainable health: Marie-Pierre Gagnon, professor in the Faculty of Nursing at Université Laval, and Martin Cousineau, professor in the Department of Operations and Logistics Management at HEC Montréal
- Law, cyberjustice and cybersecurity: Vincent Gautrais, professor in the Faculty of Law at Université de Montréal, and Anne-Sophie Hulin, professor in the Faculty of Law at Université de Sherbrooke
- Arts, media and cultural diversity: Colette Brin, professor in the department of Information and Communication at Université Laval, and Véronique Guèvremont, professor in the Faculty of Law at Université Laval
- Digital sobriety and socio-ecological transition: Christophe Abrassart, professor in the Faculty of Urban Planning – School of design at Université de Montréal, and Stéphane Roche, professor in the Departement of geomatics at Université Laval
“I look to the future and I can see what the next few years may hold, thanks to past and future work produced by our research teams and members, who believe in OBVIA’s mission: that of producing solid knowledge while positioning Quebec as a world leader in research on the societal impacts of artificial intelligence.”
Lyse Langlois, OBVIA General Manager
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