University: An Institution in Transformation

This axis examines the changing functions of the university as an institution that plays a crucial role in creating a framework for science and technology. These roles are multiple and how they have been, are and will be deployed remains far from transparent. CIRST will use its expertise in the history and socio-politics of science, bibliometrics, management, communication and educational statistics, to rethink the profound changes that affect the missions and functioning of the university.


Major research themes.


The study of the social determinants that affect the development and transformation of scientific careers. CIRST broaches this research question, important for the governance of universities and university systems, from two different perspectives.

4.1.1    The measure of socio-demographic factors such as age, but especially the gender of researchers. Recent and ongoing work demonstrates the persistence of a glass ceiling in the scientific community. This component, which will provide useful information for policies used to support young researchers, includes a international comparative perspective (collaborative projects with France and South Africa).

4.1.2    Bibliometric measures of the reasons for and effects of various research choices (i.e. participation in interdisciplinary collaboration), significant career events  (such as fraud or error) or the opposition between teaching and research on scientific careers. This component highlights CIRST’s methodological innovation that cross-references bibliographic data and longitudinal data in the study of research pathways.


The analysis of the redefinition of the diverse roles academics are expected to fulfill, a question that raises considerable interest in academic and economic milieux, but whose empirical reality has yet to be clarified. CIRST currently plays a key role in this two-pronged reflection.

4.2.1    Analysis of collaborations between universities and companies from a methodological and evaluative perspective and the study of policies in the long term (analysis by the OST of patents obtained by academic researchers). This component will help us to understand the characteristics of partnerships that generate important benefits at both the individual and organizational levels in the context of industrial disinvestment in fundamental research.

4.2.2    The evolution of practices of collaboration between researchers (interdisciplinarity, intersectorality, specialization or membership in large research groups) that are the subject of significant expectations but whose reality remains little known. At CIRST, these practices are the subject of joint studies that link interviews, bibliometrics and in situ  analyses of, most notably, the participation of social sciences and humanities researchers in large-scale genomics projects.

Researchers: F. Armellini, C. Beaudry, Y. Gingras, S. Veilleux, V. Larivière, J. Queenton


The comparative study of the much-disputed and evolving role of the university in the training of skilled workers in science and technology.

4.3.1    The comparative study of the evolution of policies and strategies and their impact in France and in Quebec, taking into account the construction of student achievement policies, the relations between universities and their milieux, and academic trajectories (social bases for academic choices and orientation, inequalities of academic trajectories).

4.3.2    The history of institutional efforts in favor of the generalization of higher education in Quebec, before and after the Quiet Revolution.

Researchers: P. Doray, R. Gagnon, P. C. Kamanzi, S. Moulin, J.-G. Prévost

Updated 15 February 2017 at 10 h 21 min.