What distinguishes UQAR from other universities are its choices, in particular the harmony it has achieved between the physiographical characteristics of the maritime and regional aspects of its setting and its research and development goals.

From the onset, UQAR has faced up to the challenges of its natural setting by concentrating on its strengths, namely its environmental resources. This is why marine science, regional development, and nordicity are the three major areas of research at UQAR. These fields are perfectly integrated to meet the challenges of the territory covered by the university. These areas of research excellence bring together a critical mass of renowned researchers.

We must also note that the overlap between these research areas has resulted in the development of a multidisciplinary body of expertise. At the heart of Quebec's maritime regions are communities that continue to grow in a resolutely northern environment. Similarly to their colleagues from the biology and geography departments, many marine scientists work in the Far North and participate in major polar scientific missions. Researchers in the area of nordicity focus on questions relating to the coastline or fish populations, hence touching on marine sciences as well. Finally, certain marine environment and northern continental challenges associated with human settlements also inevitably influence regional development.