Polytechnique Montréal, Université de Montréal and HEC Montréal are combining forces to create the Multidisciplinary Institute for Cybersecurity and Cyber Resilience (IMC2). With an initial pool of 44 professors and their research teams, IMC2 will provide governments, citizens and businesses in Québec and the rest of Canada with leading-edge expertise in the form of research projects, training of an emerging generation with meaningful skills, innovation and knowledge sharing, and support for public policy-making.
As media reports tell us almost daily, the digital transformation of government bodies, organizations, companies, and our lives in general has opened up countless security breaches that can be exploited, placing our digital sovereignty in jeopardy. To remain at the forefront in this sector, academic stakeholders in the cybersecurity ecosystem in Québec and across Canada have implemented various initiatives over the years to provide support and guidance to policymakers and citizens in this transformation. The newly created Institute gives society the ability to launch unifying initiatives within a multidisciplinary structure that draws on complementary areas of expertise. IMC2 will not only foster the emergence of technology solutions in cybersecurity, but will also address the human element in its partners’ activities.
An open, multidisciplinary structureRight from the start, the Institute is bringing together all available resources from the Université de Montréal campus. The true strength of IMC2, however, lies in its collaboration-driven vision: "By creating an open structure that aims to gather the full spectrum of academic actors motivated by ambitious, innovative multidisciplinary projects, IMC2 is staking out a position as a key convergence enabler for cybersecurity in this country," says Frédéric Cuppens, the IMC2’s Director, a cybersecurity expert and Professor in the Department of Computer Engineering and Software Engineering at Polytechnique Montréal.
The Institute’s Board of Directors has appointed three deputy directors: Nora Boulahia Cuppens, Full Professor in the Polytechnique Montréal Department of Computer Engineering and Software Engineering, will oversee research; Benoit Dupont, Professor at the Université de Montréal School of Criminology and holder of the Canada Research Chair in Cybersecurity, will co-ordinate public policy; and Alina Maria Dulipovici, Associate Professor in the HEC Montréal Department of Information Technologies, will head the education pillar. Executive Director responsibilities have been entrusted to Marc Gervais, renowned for solid management experience in the aerospace sector in North America and Europe.
Polytechnique Montréal has more than 160 professors, students and postdoctoral fellows working in cybersecurity and cyber resilience issues in various fields including maritime transport, finance, and aerospace. The institution also offers a range of learning opportunities in cybersecurity, from the undergraduate to the master’s level, as well as six specialized certificate programs. Polytechnique is also home to the student-led initiative PolyCyber, and provides support for the cybersecurity stream of Propolys, an entrepreneurship incubator.
Université de Montréal, meanwhile, has for several years been piloting targeted initiatives in cybersecurity at its School of Criminology and Cyberjustice Laboratory, as well as drawing on the strengths of world-renowned researchers in its Department of Computer Science and Operations Research, recognized for their expertise in quantum cybersecurity and applications of artificial intelligence to the field of cybersecurity.
HEC Montréal specialists, for their part, are tackling cybersecurity issues using management-related expertise, in areas including digital transformation, business analysis, risk management, governance, crisis management, organizational culture and ethics. With a focus on helping businesses achieve success, they provide innovative, effective solutions adapted to companies’ needs. HEC Montréal also offers courses in cybersecurity and related sub-fields, allowing undergraduate and post-graduate students to acquire robust applied training in management.
To learn more about IMC2, visit: https://i-mc2.ca/en/
Concrete actionsThe launch of IMC2 is being backed by concrete actions to benefit members of the partner universities. From now on, students at each institution can earn credits for cybersecurity courses taken at one or both of the others. They can also receive support for their entrepreneurial projects through the Propolys cybersecurity stream.
IMC2 will also act to create links between academia and external players specialized in cybersecurity and cyber resilience, relying on an inclusive approach that is open to partnerships to complement the work already being done by its longtime partners such as the NPO Cybereco and the IN-SEC-M cluster, two vital players in the Québec and Canadian cybersecurity ecosystem.
By leveraging existing resources in research and talent development, growing an entrepreneurial culture in cybersecurity, reaching out to citizens via education and awareness initiatives, and providing our decision-makers with evidence-based data, IMC2 pledges to become a worldwide academic benchmark in cybersecurity and cyber resilience. The rapid growth of emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, post-quantum and 5G underscores the value of creating a university institute founded on openness and collaboration. IMC2’s multidisciplinary, inter-sector approach will also make sustainability a guiding principle for all projects, ensuring that the solutions developed become part of an eco-responsible, virtuous cyber future.
An inaugural event to be hosted soon by Polytechnique Montréal will provide an opportunity for Canadian cybersecurity stakeholders to gather and learn more details about the Institute.
Quotes"IMC2 is the embodiment of our desire to innovate and have a positive impact on society. In addition to its research, education and knowledge mobilization mission, the Institute will also play a role in shaping public policy."
- Professor François Bertrand, Director, Research and Innovation, and Professor, Department of Chemical Engineering, Polytechnique Montréal
"By bringing together a complementary mix of expertise and approaches, IMC2 will serve as a true anchor for research and teaching in cybersecurity and help us meet the technical, human and societal challenges of our digital world."
- Professor Yves Joanette, Deputy Vice-Rector, Research, and Professor, Faculty of Medicine, Université de Montréal
"Cybersecurity has become a strategic priority for organizations everywhere, regardless of size or industry segment. With the creation of IMC2, HEC Montréal will draw on its expertise in management sciences-be it in information technology, governance or finance-to assist in preventing, responding to and recovering from cybersecurity risks."
- Professor Caroline Aubé, Director, Research and Knowledge Transfer, and Professor, Department of Management, HEC Montréal