Thales to Host the Joint Research Unit in Urban Science, Quebec City to Become a Life-Size Urban Lab

Key points

  • Creation of a joint research unit in urban science through a partnership with Quebec City authorities, Laval University, the National Institute of Scientific Research (INRS), the Quebec Metro High Tech Park and Thales Canada Inc., with the support of the Government of the Province of Quebec.
  • Total funding of $19.2 M$, with the addition of 24 highly-skilled jobs over 5 years.
  • Creation of a dedicated central location and toolkit to foster interaction between academic scientists, industry experts, business owners and clients, with the aim of reducing the delay between project design and application for the mutual benefit of the partners.


A $19.2M project will provide Quebec City with a new urban science joint research lab around which will be built a world-class open innovation ecosystem in this emerging multidisciplinary field of knowledge.

In partnership with Quebec City authorities, Laval University, the National Institute of Scientific Research (INRS), the Quebec Metro High Tech Park and Thales Canada Inc., and with the support of the Government of the Province of Quebec, the Joint Research Unit aims to position the citizen at the center of municipal activities and to design urban science solutions for the future, in areas such as water and power management, urban spaces and infrastructure and individual, asset and data mobility and safety.

"With this new Joint Research Unit, our city will boast a unique urban science research centre, aiming to improve our living environment through a closer study of specific subjects such as mobility and sustainability and the management of drinking water, waste water and infrastructural facilities. All our municipal equipment will be available to make it a true urban lab," says the Mayor of Quebec City, Mr. Régis Labeaume.

Innovation hub for future state-of-the-art interconnected infrastructures, the Unit will become a collaborative creation and development workspace, fostering co-operation between scientists, technicians and industry on its own grounds and promoting ecosystem growth and transfers of knowledge and staff within the business sector.

The Honorable Sam Hamad, Minister of Labour, Employment and Social Solidarity and Minister responsible for the Capitale-Nationale region, and Mr. Régis Labeaume, Mayor of Quebec City, announce a grant of $1M for the creation of the new Joint Research Unit in Urban Science. Thales will contribute $7.5M throughout the term of the five-year agreement for project design, job creation and lab operations at Thales Canada Research Centre.

As a foremost know-how integration centre, the Joint Research Unit in Urban Science has found its own place among the “smart cities” of the St. Lawrence Valley and will soon take advantage of the Thales global technological network to benefit from solutions already implemented in several such cities around the world.

 « Owing to its integration in the industrial community, this research facility targeting innovation, unique both in Quebec and in Canada due to its shared governance and infrastructure and its first-class technical capacity, will enable Thales to create more highly-skilled jobs, provide training support for talented personnel and showcase an innovation hub focused on urban science, positioning the Province of Quebec as a leader in the development of citizen-centric urban technologies».

Siegfried Usal, VP Strategy and Communications, Thales Canada Inc.

Notes to editors
lnnovation at the heart of Thales strategy
Innovation is the key to our future and underpins the three pillars of our strategic vision: growth, performance and people. Research is a wellspring of innovation for Thales. It allows us to anticipate the requirements of our customers and work with them as partners to build the innovative solutions they need and want. For Thales, this dedication to "co-innovation" is one of the key enablers of sustainable growth and performance.
Thales operates joint laboratories with universities in France, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Singapore and Canada, and has formed more than 30 partnerships with universities and public research institutes in Europe, the United States and Asia.
About Thales
Thales is a global technology leader for the Aerospace, Transport, Defence and Security markets. With 61,000 employees in 56 countries, Thales reported sales of €13 billion in 2014. With over 20,000 engineers and researchers, Thales has a unique capability to design and deploy equipment, systems and services to meet the most complex security requirements. Its unique international footprint allows it to work closely with its customers all over the world.
Thales Canada has over 1,350 employees in Quebec City, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto and Vancouver working in Defence & Security, Avionics and Transportation. Thales Canada is a $500 million a year business on average, with a range of customers including urban rail service providers, civil aviation companies, and military and security agencies.
Photo:  ©Thales - From L to R:
Natalie Quirion, Directrice générale Parc technologique du Québec métropolitain; Siegfried Usal, vice-président – stratégie et communications, Thales Canada;
Sam Hamad, ministre du Travail, de l'Emploi et de la Solidarité sociale et ministre responsable de la région de la Capitale-Nationale;
Régis Labeaume, maire de Québec; Denis Brière, recteur, Université Laval; Daniel Coderre, recteur, INRS