Portrait of innovation


The innovation players

A multitude of players contribute to making Montreal an environment favourable to the harmonious development of innovation using the abundance of ideas for manufacturing, promotion, marketing, diffusion and distribution. Various institutions, initiatives, special events and centres for innovation and research gravitate around TechnoMontréal, playing a major role in the development of a Montreal ecosystem of innovation.

Teaching and Research Organizations 

  • Montreal boasts four international-scale universities (two French-speaking, two English-speaking): the Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM), the Université de Montréal (UdeM), McGill University and Concordia University. In addition, there are six schools or higher learning establishments and more than 200 private or public research centres. Since 2005, over six billion dollars has been invested in university research. Close to 85% of spending in research and development in the ICT industry is done in Greater Montreal.


  • The CEFRIO network (centre facilitating research and innovation in organizations with information and communications technology) brings together more than 150 university, industry, and government members and some 80 associate and guest researchers who speed up the transition to a digital society by using technology as a lever for social and organizational innovation.


  • L’École de l’innovation citoyenne (ÉIC) is an ÉTS initiative deployed in the Quartier de l’innovation in partnership with teaching institutions at all levels, as well as students, organizations and businesses in the community. ÉIC aims to empower citizens and support the implementation of tangible projects that are interdisciplinary and inter-institutional in nature.


  • Prompt is a non-profit organization that facilitates the creation of R&D partnerships between businesses and the public research milieu in order to improve   Quebec’s competitiveness on the ICT market. Since 2003, the Government of Quebec has invested 22.8 million dollars in Prompt, resulting in projects that have a value of nearly 70 million dollars within the institutional research setting.


  • The CRIM is an IT-applied research centre, established in Quebec in 1985, that develops innovative technologies and cutting edge know-how in collaboration with its clients and partners. It transfers these technologies to Quebec’s leading businesses and organizations, helping to increase their productivity and competitiveness, both locally and globally.


  • The Société des arts technologiques (SAT – website in French) is a non-profit organization that is internationally recognized for its active and pioneering role in the development of immersive technologies and augmented reality through the creative use of high speed broadband. With its double mission as both an artist and research centre, the SAT was created to support a new generation of creators and researchers in the digital age.



  • The International Council of Design (ico-D) is an organization whose vision, mission and core values revolve around the concept of “leading creativity” by using design as a source of progressive change.


  • The Regroupement de l’industrie électronique (RIE – website available in French) unites players in the electronics field to promote the interests of its members and to stimulate the industry. Its mission is to create a platform of meetings and exchanges where all parties can improve and increase their business perspectives.


  • The Réseau ACTION TI (website available in French) regroups and mobilizes players from Quebec’s information technologies sector. It encourages the improvement of knowledge and competencies, and highlights the quality of Quebec IT achievements, while promoting their value.


  • The Quebec Photonic Network (QPN) is a non-profit organization whose mission is to accelerate the economic development of the industry through its leadership and determination.



  • TECHNOCompétences(website available in French) is a sectoral committee that focuses on supporting and promoting the development of both Quebec’s workforce and ICT jobs, so that the province’s expertise can be recognized worldwide.


Innovation Hubs

  • The Quartier de l’innovation (QI), is an innovation ecosystem in the heart of Montréal, whose focus is to increase the city’s creative potential. It was launched in May 2013 by the École de technologie supérieure and McGill University, who were later joined by Concordia University and the Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM). Twenty or so corporate partners have since come on board. The Quartier de l’Innovation draws on its partners’ complementary capacities in research, education, innovation and entrepreneurship to carry out practical projects that are changing the face of the city. It is bounded by René Lévesque Boulevard and the Lachine Canal to the north and south, and by McGill Street and Atwater Avenue to the east and wes. Its activities focus on four streams: education and research, social and cultural, industrial, and urban.



  • Technoparc Montréal, partner of the Quartier de la santé de Montréal, is Canada’s principal multi-site research park. It encourages the emergence of infrastructures and public/private strategic partnerships within the field of science and technology in Greater Montreal. As a strategic partner of Montréal - City of Knowledge, Technoparc Montréal works with Cegeps, universities, government organizations and businesses to develop scientific infrastructures for the entire Montreal territory. In addition to the Quartier de la santé, Technoparc Montréal is also responsible for the development of the Saint-Laurent Campus, one of Canada’s largest technology parks, and the Éco-campus Hubert Reeves, an international technology portal dedicated to clean technologies and sustainable development.



  • Since 2003, the Quartier des spectacles has been a true cultural hub. An epicentre of creation, innovation, production and diffusion, it offers favourable conditions to the implantation of cultural promotion, production, creation and diffusion companies. The area inhabited by the Quartier des spectacles has always been a hot bed for culture and entertainment in Montreal: it is largely located in Montreal’s former red light district, whose history dates back to the early 1800s.


  • Space for Life unites the Biodôme, Insectarium, Botanical Garden and Planetarium. It’s a participatory movement and a commitment to biodiversity that relies on citizen participation and visitor co-creation.


  • As a North American freight hub, Montreal now has its own logistics and transportation hub, called CargoM. Its mission is to unite all Greater Montreal logistics and freight players around common goals and concerted actions to increase the sector’s cohesion, competitiveness, growth and expansion.



  • C2 Montréalis an annual event that reinvents the concept of international conferences to better explore the dynamic between commerce and creativity. C2 Montréal offers a vast array of non-traditional experiences grouped within a custom-designed Innovation Village built exclusively by and for C2-MTL: world-renowned speakers, interactive exhibits, collaborative workshops and a creation Boot Camp. C2-MTL was imagined by the international creative agency, Sid Lee, in collaboration with founding partner Cirque du Soleil, as well as with Fast Company, its content and media partner.


  • The Montreal Summit on Innovation offers conferences on various themes related to innovation that prompts a reflection and dialogue between participants in order to elicit the best practices and business models of tomorrow. The participants and multidisciplinary speakers, both local and international, pool the creativity and vibrancy of their respective industries to shape the unique personality of Greater Montreal. The first edition was held in 2011 and was themed on the aerospace industry. The subsequent editions were based on the themes of innovative districts, health, and smart grids and sustainability.


  • The annual “KWS Forum” conference is held every September in Montréal. It is often preceded by a series of activities in several cities, followed by a thematic conference on the priorities of the organization. The KWS members meet annually to provide solutions, be inspired and enjoy the savoir-faire of experts in the following areas of priority: international and scientific cooperation, education, personal development recruitment, sustainable development, digital marketing, health, and scientific and technological research. The KWS mission is to promote prosperity through new ideas by leveraging cutting edge technology.


  • In addition to these local initiatives, several international movements that are established in Montreal contribute to the development of the city’s innovation ecosystem. Creative Mornings MTL is a conference that allows creators, entrepreneurs and thinkers to exchange around a theme within the context of a breakfast. The concept of Creative Mornings was born in New York in 2008 and has since spread around the world. Global Service Jams is an annual international event that aims to promote service design and encourage exchanges between its participants.