UQAR is dedicated to the study of the Far North and cold lower latitudes, a field known as “nordicity.” This research area brings together a diversity of researchers with a multidisciplinary interest in northern environments around a number of highly complementary disciplines.

This approach fosters a positive resolution to the challenges facing the North in the context of socio-economic development and accelerated environmental changes.

Cutting-edge research units

The success of northern research at UQAR is supported by a number of research units, making the university a key player in the field. This area of excellence brings together a community of researchers representing various disciplinary backgrounds from UQAR and other associated institutions.

Highly specialized research infrastructure

UQAR has cutting-edge infrastructure that offers researchers unique research potential. Over the past decade, more than $50M have been invested in infrastructure, including equipment, to support research focusing on nordicity.

Oceanographic research vessel Coriolis II

In addition to high-performance oceanographic instruments, UQAR has a 50m-long state-of-the-art oceanographic research vessel, equipped with the latest technological innovations.

Coriolis II is a genuine floating laboratory with space devoted exclusively to research work. These laboratories make it possible to form multidisciplinary research teams of up to 14 scientists, aside from the ship’s regular crew. It meets the highest standards of maritime certification and can navigate throughout the world. It was used to carry out the MARES and MARGES missions for Argentina in the Gulf of San Jorge.

Research stations

For the purpose of Northern Studies Centre activities, UQAR has a research station based in Radisson that can host up to 20 researchers.

UQAR also has automated weather stations that can be moved anywhere. They are used for assessing the long-term impacts of climate change and forestland disturbances (silviculture, windfall, and others) on the water regime and nutrient cycling, and coastal erosion, for example.

Environmental simulators

Climate chambers in cold environments, unique in Canada, make it possible to study a number of mechanisms that enable birds to adjust to environment-related energy constraints under controlled or semi-natural conditions (for example, hormonal regulation of heat production, morphological and behavioural changes, and nutrition). These infrastructures also enable the study of birds’ capacity to adjust to climate disruptions resulting from global warming.

In the maritime field, mesocosms are non-modified components of ecosystems taken from the natural environment, placed in a laboratory, and maintained in a controlled environment (temperature, salinity, organic matter, and so on) in order to conduct various studies (hypoxia simulation, addition of contaminants, temperature increase, and variation in the quantity of organic matter, for example).

Centre for Innovation Support through Research

UQAR possesses a building comprising laboratory space for chemistry, biology, and oceanography research. The mission of the Centre for Innovation Support through Research (CAIR) is to support business and organization innovation, in particular small and medium-sized enterprises, by promoting and facilitating access to UQAR’s expertise and cutting-edge equipment.

Examples of state-of-the-art laboratories

Undergraduate and graduate study programs with a focus on northern issues

Graduate programs

L’objectif académique principal de cet axe de recherche est de former des scientifiques aptes à surmonter les enjeux majeurs du 21e siècle et de contribuer au développement durable des régions nordiques. Aux 2e et 3e cycles, les programmes de formation suivants sont associés à l’axe d’excellence en nordicité.

The main academic objective of this research focus is to train scientists capable of overcoming the major challenges of the 21st century and to contribute to the sustainable development of northern regions. The following master’s and doctoral level programs are associated with the area of excellence in nordicity.




Regional development


Undergraduate programs

At the undergraduate level, the following programs, involving associate researchers affiliated with the area of research excellence in nordicity, constitute an entry opportunity for students looking to pursue graduate studies in this area.




Regional development

Other programs

The Summer university on phenology of ecosystem processes is a seven-day intensive course addressing the concepts, methods, and issues relating to the study of phenology of ecosystem processes. It includes class and laboratory activities, as well as field activities in Parc national de la Gaspésie.

The Internship in coastal, mountain, and alpine biogeography offers a six-day intensive multidisciplinary training with a practical focus on concepts, methods, and issues of numerous sub-disciplines of biology (land use, ecology, conservation, and habitat management, for example) and geography (such as geomorphology, hazard management, river dynamics, and river-basin dynamics).

Offered on an alternating basis in Gaspésie and on the North Shore, the internship in eastern Quebec geography provides theoretical and practical training covering the main natural hazards affecting the territory of eastern Quebec. It enables students and professionals of geography, environmental sciences, and earth sciences to gain new expertise in natural hazard management and prevention through cutting-edge technology field methods and tools.


Approximately 41% of annual research funding at UQAR is dedicated to nordicity

Over 775 research projects have been carried out over the last five years

  • Biology, chemistry, and geography
  • Marine sciences
  • Regional development
  • Health sciences

22% faculty resources

26% research units

4 Bachelor’s programs

4 Master’s programs

4 PhD programs

2 training programs (EnviroNord) 
funded from the NSERC’s CREATE program grant in northern environmental science

Over 300 students per yeare