During its 2013-2014 convocation ceremony, INRS awarded an honorary degree to Professor Emeritus Richard Stren of the Political Science Department at the University of Toronto, considered one of the foremost experts on matters affecting cities in developing countries. This title was conferred upon him for his remarkable contribution to the field of urban studies at a ceremony that took place at Palais Montcalm on May 24, 2014, in the presence of Université du Québec president Sylvie Beauchamp.
During his speech, Dr. Stren stressed the importance of developing interdisciplinarity, having an open mind, and communicating in a language that is understood by non-researchers and policy specialists. He reiterated that "our goal is to understand and then explain what "urban" means to intellectuals, the general public, and political decision makers."
"Research and action are inseparable for Dr. Stren," said INRS rector Daniel Coderre, "and his career has been marked by scientific excellence and social relevance. He is one of Canada's top authorities on urban studies and a long-time collaborator of the Urbanisation Culture Société Research Centre. He has built extensive international research networks through both network-based research and comparative analysis, an innovative scientific approach that has earned him his success and reputation."
While he was head of the University of Toronto's Centre for Urban and Community Studies, now the Cities Centre, Dr. Stren was a strong proponent of scientific cooperation with INRS-Urbanisation, now known as the Urbanisation Culture Société Research Centre. This collaboration helped the two pioneering centres win UNESCO and Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) competitions to conduct international research involving researchers from North and South. With INRS professor Mario Polèse, he codirected a vast project on the social sustainability of cities, which was one of the most important and exciting challenges of his career. This international research showed how cities manage cultural diversity and turn it into a lever for development.
Richard Stren is a prolific author who has written or edited nearly 20 works, including African Cities in Crisis: Managing Rapid Urban Growth, which has become a classic. Thanks to his in-depth knowledge of international aid and management of research projects on urban issues, he has been solicited on many occasions by African governments, international development agencies, and international agencies such as the World Bank and the United Nations.
Institut national de recherche scientifique (INRS) is the top-ranking graduate research and training university in Canada in terms of research intensity. INRS brings together some 150 professors and close to 700 students and postdoctoral fellows in its centres in Montreal, Quebec City, Laval, and Varennes. Conducting fundamental research essential to the advancement of science in Quebec as well as internationally, INRS research teams also play a critical role in developing concrete solutions to problems facing our society.