05 December 2019

En avant math! A national initiative to promote mathematics

On November 28th at Barclay School in Montreal, CIRANO together with the Centre de recherches mathématiques (CRM) launched a national initiative, "En avant math!", to promote mathematics and increase numeracy.


During this launch, speeches and presentations were given by:

  • Luc Vinet, Director of Centre de recherches mathématiques
  • Nathalie de Marcellis-Warin, President and Chief Executive Officer of CIRANO and Full Professor at Polytechnique Montréal
  • Marc Sirois, Assistant Deputy Minister for Fiscal Policy, Ministère des Finances du Québec
  • Louise Poirier, Full Professor at the Université de Montréal and Assistant Director of the CRM Numeracy Project
  • Claude Montmarquette, CIRANO Researcher and Fellow and Emeritus Professor at Université de Montréal
  • Geneviève Dufour, Project Director at CIRANO
  • Jean-Marie De Koninck, Emeritus Professor at Université Laval and Founder of Sciences et mathématiques en action (SMAC)

From left to right: Claude Montmarquette, Luc Castonguay, Nathalie de Marcellis-Warin, Luc Vinet, Louise Poirier, Geneviève Dufour, Marc Sirois


This announcement was preceded by the children's show "Compte sur moi". This show of the Sciences et mathématiques en action (SMAC) project is directed by Professor Jean-Marie De Koninck.


The mandate given jointly to CIRANO and the CRM is to "propose a strategy to promote the increase in the number of STEM graduates in order to ensure a highly qualified workforce in mathematics and other fields of science".


The objective of our research is to obtain evidence to enable informed and well-directed interventions.


An overview of the projects underway at CIRANO under this initiative:


  • The determinants of university discipline choice: Why choose a mathematical education?

For many, development and economic growth in the coming years will be particularly dependent on a high level of human capital for populations, and in particular the need for scientific training. One only has to think of the challenges posed by climate change and the development of artificial intelligence to be convinced of this. Technology rather than behaviour will save the planet and the labour market will have to adapt to applications related to artificial intelligence. In short, a particular workforce will be required. There are two questions that concern us in this regard. First, what are the determinants related to the acquisition of a university degree? Second, conditional on this first choice, what are the determinants of a choice of a scientific discipline and in particular those requiring significant mathematical training? On the basis of identifying these determinants, what are the educational and economic policies to implement them?



Claude Montmarquette (Université de Montréal)








  • Mathematics Education in Quebec High Schools: Alignment between teachers, mathematical concepts in departmental programs and mathematical concepts used in STEM jobs

As the project title makes it clear, what are the motivations and reluctance of high school mathematics teachers to become teachers? What is their perception of their initial and continuing training? What are the challenges encountered in their practice? What are their representations of the mathematical concepts taught, the textbooks, and the motivation of the students? In the second part, we will look at whether the mathematical concepts taught in high school correspond to the concepts used in Quebec industries, and in particular in STEM industries.


Annie Savard (McGill University)








  • The evolution of the demand for skills on the labour market and the occupational structure

What are the new requirements of the labour market? Could the match between training and market needs be improved? What about alleged labour shortages or lack of skilled labour? A good understanding of the issues related to these issues requires measuring the evolution of skills required in the labour market. This is what we are doing in this study by keeping the focus on competencies and skills associated with science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). Combined with a simultaneous examination of changes in the occupational structure of the labour market, we are able to identify and quantify the shift in labour demand from so-called more traditional jobs to new jobs requiring STEM skills and abilities.



Benoit Dostie (HEC Montréal)

Geneviève Dufour (CIRANO)







For more information, visit the initiative's website