Desjardins’ donation leads to development of unique centre to prepare research trainees

The McGill University Health Centre Foundation (MUHC) celebrated the $510,000 donation that Desjardins is making to the advancement of professional training for health researchers in Quebec. In acknowledgement of this exceptional contribution, the Centre for Advanced Training of the Research Institute of the MUHC (RI-MUHC) has been named in honour of the company.   

From left to right: Students from the Desjardins Centre for Advanced Training celebrated Desjardins’ donation with Mr. Martin Brunelle, Desjardins Group’s Managing Vice-President for Greater Montreal (4th from left) and Dr. Emily Bell, Manager of the Desjardins Centre for Advanced Training (5th from left).

The Desjardins Centre for Advanced Training of the RI-MUHC offers professional skills training along with career development opportunities for graduate students and postdoctoral fellows studying at the RI-MUHC.  It helps students develop a broader skillset that will better prepare them for their careers after completing their studies.  

“With close to 1,200 research trainees, the RI-MUHC is truly a research powerhouse,” states Dr. Vassilios Papadopoulos, Executive Director of the RI-MUHC. “The Desjardins Centre for Advanced Training is a wonderful complement to our research activities, and it provides our trainees with the necessary skills that will give them a tremendous advantage in today’s competitive workforce.”   

“As the largest financial cooperative in Canada, we believe that investing in youth and education are the keys to future success and the Desjardins Centre for Advanced Training is the embodiment of this philosophy,” says Martin Brunelle, Desjardins Group’s Managing Vice-President for Greater Montreal. “These trainees are our future community leaders and innovators and it is essential that they be supported every step of the way throughout their studies and their post-academic careers.”

From left to right: Ms. Marie-Claude Bénard, La Personelle – Desjardins, Ms. Julie Quenneville, President, MUHC Foundation, Mr. Claude Lanthier, Caisse Desjardins- South-West of Montreal, Mr. Claudio Bussandri, Chair of the Board of Directors, MUHC, Mr. Martin Brunelle, Group Managing Vice-President, Greater Montreal, Desjardins, Ms. Lise Drolet, Caisse Desjardins - Notre-Dame-de-Grâce and Mr. Yvan Desrochers, Caisse Desjardins - Les Sources-Lac-St-Louis.

The Desjardins Centre for Advanced Training of the RI-MUHC, co-directed by Drs. Miguel Burnier and Costas Karatzas, was officially launched in December of 2015 and hundreds of research trainees are already taking advantage of the opportunity to network and gain business and financial skills. “One of the key goals of the Centre is to create innovative activities that engage trainees in their career preparation. This complements ongoing excellence in scientific training at the RI-MUHC, responsive to the changing research ecosystem in Canada,” added Dr. Emily Bell, Manager of the Desjardins Centre for Advanced Training.  

Initiatives like the Desjardins Centre for Advanced Training are made possible by the continued generosity of Montreal’s corporate philanthropic leaders. “When we met with Desjardins about the possibility of establishing this Centre with their support, they not only immediately saw the value for our trainees, they understood that this investment would benefit society as a whole,” stated Julie Quenneville, President of the MUHC Foundation. “When we find supporters like Desjardins, we gain so much more than a donor, we find a valued partner.” 


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About the McGill University Health Centre Foundation

The McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) Foundation raises funds to support excellence in patient care, research and teaching at the MUHC.  Working together with the Royal Victoria Hospital (RVH) Foundation, we are supporting the best care for life.  Firmly committed to making a difference in patients’ lives, we play a pivotal role in supporting exceptional programs, purchasing innovative medical equipment, fostering ground-breaking research, and ensuring the highest level of teaching.


About The Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre (RI-MUHC)

The RI-MUHC is a world-renowned biomedical and healthcare research centre. The Institute, which is affiliated with the Faculty of Medicine of McGill University, is the research arm of the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) - an academic health centre located in Montreal, Canada, that has a mandate to focus on complex care within its community. The RI-MUHC supports over 500 researchers, and over 1,200 students, devoted to a broad spectrum of fundamental, clinical and health outcomes research at the Glen and the Montreal General Hospital sites of the MUHC. Our research facilities offer a dynamic multidisciplinary environment that fosters collaboration and leverages discovery aimed at improving the health of individual patients across their lifespan. Over 1,600 clinical research projects and trials are conducted within the organization annually. The RI-MUHC is supported in part by the Fonds de recherche du Québec - Santé (FRQS).


About Desjardins 

Desjardins Group is the leading cooperative financial group in Canada and the sixth largest cooperative financial group in the world with assets of $255.1 billion. It has been rated one of the Best Employers in Canada by Aon Hewitt. To meet the diverse needs of its members and clients, Desjardins offers a full range of products and services to individuals and businesses through its extensive distribution network, online platforms and subsidiaries across Canada. Considered North America’s strongest bank according to Bloomberg News, Desjardins has one of the highest capital ratios and credit ratings in the industry.





Further information: 

Kristina Anastasopoulos

Senior Communications Officer 

MUHC Foundation

[email protected]

514-934-1934, ext. 71231


Jean-Michel Laberge

Strategic Advisor, Public Relations


[email protected]

514-281-7000, ext. 555 5350