This text is part of the section on Acfas rates
“In the 1940s, science was in German!” says Acfas president Jean-Pierre Perreault, when asked to talk about the place of French in science. Although English is dominant today, it has not always enjoyed the status of the lingua franca for research. However The progress it has made is irrefutable: according to Acfas, only 5% to 12% of grant applications allocated to federal granting agencies are written in French. Jean-Pierre Perrault does not despair: “We have sent the pendulum a little too far in one direction, but it is coming back.” .
For the President, science has good years ahead of it, and Akvas has proven that again this year by awarding prizes to researchers from all disciplines, all over the country.
“Science is done in French,” points out Jean-Pierre Perreault, also a biologist and vice-rector for research and graduate studies at the University of Sherbrooke. “At my university, all research groups work in French.” Another encouraging sign: “For a researcher, it is a source of great pride to receive an Acfas award.” These 16 awards have been presented since 1944 – 5 for emerging researchers and 11 for established researchers – to reward French-language science in Canada. He added: “People will be proud of whoever won it, and they will say to themselves: ‘Did you see?’ She is a colleague from such-and-such university!”
This year, the Gilles-Paquet 100th Prize was announcedH The anniversary of Acfas was held last year for the first time. To highlight a scholar’s contribution to French-language research in a Canadian minority context, it was presented to Annette Boudreau, Professor Emeritus in the Department of French Studies at the University of Moncton. They have contributed in various ways to the vitality of research in French. It worked to confront preconceptions about languages and the people who speak them. » This honor is sponsored by the Association of Francophone Canadian Colleges and Universities.
That’s not all: the list of prizes to be awarded is growing again, with 12 prizes announced.H The award aims to reward cooperation between applications in the field of research, i.e. cooperation between the college and university environment, which is sponsored by the Ministry of Higher Education. “This is a hot topic at Acfas,” the president notes. We want to support research at the college level. » It is true that CEGEP research centers are not generally known. “Whether the research comes from the University of Sherbrooke, Bishop, or CEGEP, it makes me happy,” responds Jean-Pierre Perrault passionately. If it’s in French, I’m much happier. » This award will be awarded for the first time next year.
Two honorary members were also named: André Fauchon, Professor Emeritus of Geography at the University of Saint Boniface and Linda Cardinale, Associate Vice-Chancellor for Research at the University of Ontario, France. “They have gone so far as to promote research in French outside of Quebec.”
In French, please!
Acfas president is optimistic about the future of science in French. It relies in particular on an unusual ally to support it: artificial intelligence. “Thanks to artificial intelligence, translation has become easier. We have to take advantage of this!” He dreams of seeing the development of platforms that offer simultaneous translation of scientific studies. “We can put our text written in French there and it will be possible to download it in 200 different languages. Suffice it to say that the official version is in French. To achieve this, he said, it will be necessary to fight the monopoly of major publishers.
However, despite the risks, French-speaking science has a bright future, believes Jean-Pierre Perrault. It’s not just a whim: it’s a necessity. “Diversity is important. It is a question of ideas: science does not think in only one language. There are advantages not only to thinking in English.” For him, research in French is also essential to help disseminate the results, both in the classroom and in the media. C’est They said, they said, one of the groups to encourage the development of research in our “language”: “It is vulgar, to facilitate the science of the great public and to develop the scientific culture of the entire society.”
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