17 Apr 2019

Appointments to three FRQ-IVADO research chairs for diversity and equity in data science

$1.5 million in funding to support innovative research and training for a qualified workforce of data scientists

Montréal, April 17, 2019 – Today, the Fonds de recherche du Québec (FRQ) and the Institute for Data Valorization (IVADO) are announcing the appointments of three FRQ–IVADO research chairs in diversity and equity in data science.

An pillar of innovative research, the research chair program was created to support the training of a qualified workforce of data scientists within three renowned institutions in Québec: Université de Montréal, HEC Montréal and Polytechnique Montréal. In addition to making a significant contribution to cutting-edge data science research, the FRQ–IVADO chairs aim to foster diversity and equity in data science research through the composition of the chairs’ teams, leadership of the chairholders and directions of the research projects.

Each chairholder is awarded funding in the amount of $100 000/year for five years—the duration of his or her mandate. Of the total amount, half will be dedicated to recruiting and supporting students and postdoctoral fellows from underrepresented groups.

FRQ–IVADO data science research chairs

Margarida Carvalho is an assistant professor in the Department of Computer Science and Operations Research. Professor Carvalho specializes in game theory.

“I am actively working to create an inclusive ecosystem and promote a diversity of identities, backgrounds, ideas and perspectives among the new generation of scientists who are leading research at the interface of data science and operations research. The FRQ–IVADO Chair in Data Science for Combinatorial Game Theory assists us in pursuing this objective,” affirmed Margarida Carvalho.

Foutse Khomh is an associate professor in the Department of Computer and Software Engineering at Polytechnique Montréal. Professor Khomh has focused his research on software maintenance and evolution, cloud engineering, service-oriented software engineering, experimental software engineering and analytics.

“Machine learning is being increasingly implemented in large-scale and critical systems thanks to the recent developments in machine and reinforcement learning. A significant paradigm shift is required to ensure the quality of the applications that integrate machine learning and artificial intelligence. Compared to traditional software, the test workspace of machine learning software systems is indeed much more extensive. The FRQ–IVADO Chair in Software Quality Assurance for Machine Learning Software will contribute to the emergence of new theories, methods and tools to facilitate the development, testing and implementation of high-quality software applications that incorporate machine learning,” declared Foutse Khomh.

Aurélie Labbe is an associate professor in the Department of Decision Sciences at HEC Montréal. Professor Labbe specializes in data science with applications in health, transport and business and marketing.

“The FRQ–IVADO Chair in Data Science seeks to integrate expertise in mathematical, statistical and computer science and the knowledge and know-how of the specialists who generate these data under one research program. This multidisciplinarity is at the core of the chair’s objectives and makes it possible to generate quality methodological tools that are adapted to specific issues and ensure the quality of the interpretation of the results,” confirmed Aurélie Labbe.

The FRQ–IVADO research chairs have assembled a committee that will fulfill an advisory role with regard to their scientific objectives and provide key support to chairholders in the steps and activities related to equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI).

“This program serves to strengthen the FRQ’s EDI measures, and I am convinced that the diversity these research chairs will bring will have a very positive impact on the quality and benefits of AI research in Québec,” stated Rémi Quirion, the Chief Scientist of Quebec.  

“The FRQ–IVADO chairholders are exceptional researchers, and their appointments recognize the excellence of their work. They will be called upon to play a key role in strengthening Montréal’s status as a hub for artificial intelligence and big data and provide leadership to make new generations of experts more diverse and address EDI issues in research,” asserted Gilles Savard, CEO of IVADO.

About the Fonds de recherche du Québec

Under the responsibility of the Ministre de l’Économie et de l’Innovation, the Fonds de recherche du Québec are mandated to fund and ensure the strategic and coherent development of research in Québec, support research training, develop partnerships to achieve their mission and promote and support knowledge mobilization. Visit our websites: FRQSCFRQS, FRQNT.


The Institute for data valorization (IVADO) is a joint initiative of HEC Montréal, Polytechnique Montréal and Université de Montréal that brings together nearly 100 industrial, academic and government partners. With over 1 200 member researchers, IVADO is a multidisciplinary centre of advanced expertise in statistics, artificial intelligence and operations research. IVADO’s mission is to 1) contribute to the development of an economic sector in big data processing for decision making; 2) create privileged partnerships between industry and the administrative, social and academic sectors; 3) contribute to the advancement of knowledge and train new generations of data scientists; and 4) foster exchange and knowledge sharing between experts, partners, researchers and students. IVADO provides a framework for six research centres: Canada Excellence Research Chair in Data Science for Real-Time Decision Making, CIRRELT, CRM, GERAD, MILA and Tech3Lab.


Contact IVADO

Sandra Estrela

Communications Coordinator


438 824-7244


Contact FRQ

Denise Pérusse

Director, Social Challenges