Opportunities in Quebec through the Atlanstic 2020 - IVADO partnership

Professor Pierre Cointe, scientific director of the Atlanstic 2020 regional programme and lecturer at IMT Atlantique, has initiated a partnership agreement with the new Institute for Data Valorization (IVADO) in Quebec. The agreement concerns the development of joint actions in the area of data science, optimisation and artificial intelligence. It was officially signed on March 7 with Professor Gilles Savard, scientific director of the IVADO and lecturer at Montreal Polytechnique.

The Atlanstic 2020 consortium* on digital science, organised by the University of Nantes at the initiative of the Pays de la Loire Regional Council, aims to form a Research, Training and Innovation triad, based on its members' areas of expertise: information science, software science, interactions and content, complex systems and robotics.

Pierre Cointe- Quebec

The agreement signed with the IVADO is part of the international component of Atlanstic 2020's plan of action, which includes developing partnerships with strategic foreign consortia that share the same fields of scientific expertise and the same areas of strategic innovation. The exchange programme between Quebec and the Pays de la Loire region includes researcher-teacher and student mobility, participation in joint research projects, joint development of courses, seminars and conferences.

One of its priorities is mutual exchanges of academic staff with considerable reciprocal professional mobility. In concrete terms, this agreement provides funding for long-stay sabbaticals (ideally six months) in one of the Quebec universities (Montreal Polytechnique, HEC Montreal and the University of Montreal) that are founding members of the IVADO, and conversely, receiving Canadian researchers in our regional laboratories.

A historical collaboration between the Department of Automation, Computer-Integrated Manufacturing and IT (DAPI) and the Montreal laboratories

Over the past twenty-five plus years a strong relationship has been built between the Department of Automation, Computer-Integrated Manufacturing and IT (DAPI) in Nantes, initially with the Department of Computer Science and Operations Research (DIRO), and later with the Group for Research in Decision Analysis (GERAD) and the Interuniversity Research Centre on Enterprise Networks, Logistics and Transportation (CIRRELT) in Montreal. Built around programme engineering, artificial intelligence and operations research, this relationship has been expressed through collaboration in the applied fields of logistics, manufacturing, transportation and more recently, industry 4.0. Professor Robert Pellerin (Montreal Polytechnique and IVADO) was present at the aLIFE workshop held at the school in January 2018 at the invitation of Fabien Lehuédé.


Fabien Lehuédé, researcher-teacher at IMT Atlantique, contributed to drafting the agreement during his sabbatical at CIRRELT (February to August 2017), along with Yann Gaël Guéhéneuc, engineer and doctor at the Ecole des Mines in Nantes (now IMT Atlantique), and currently lecturer at Concordia. Fabien Lehuédé is director of the Logistics and Production Systems (SLP) team of the Nantes Laboratory of Digital Sciences (LS2N). He chose the CIRRELT, which has been a long-standing strategic partner of the SLP and TASC teams. “The CIRRELT is one of the best partners in the world for research in operations and transportation. It seemed advantageous to me for developing current projects and for the school's international development both in research and teaching. In particular, Montreal Polytechnique, which is under the direction of the CIRRELT, is an important partner for IMT Atlantique: the school receives our students in credit transfer, double degree and PhD programmes.” During his stay, Fabien Lehuédé set up a thesis programme on the IVAD's thematics in collaboration with Michel Gendreau and Louis-Martin Rousseau, two lecturers at Montreal Polytechnique. This thesis programme, which is co-funded by IMT Atlantique and the CIRRELT, covers the interaction between methods of learning and operations research for the optimisation of vehicle routing in a dynamic context.

The partnership agreement between Atlanstic 2020 and the IVADO has provided IMT Atlantique with an ideal framework for further collaboration and exchanges with Quebec, both for researcher-teachers and students.

* The Atlanstic consortium includes the Universities of Nantes, Angers and Le Mans; two engineering schools, Centrale Nantes and IMT Atlantique; and two large organisations, the French National Research Centre (CNRS/INS21) and the French Institute for Research in Computer Science and Automation (INRIA); three competitive research clusters, Image and Networks, EMC2 and Atlanpole Biothérapies; one professional association, ADN'Ouest; and three city councils, Nantes, Angers and Le Mans.

Published on 19.03.2018

by Pierre-Hervé VAILLANT