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Banner 2023 Prix Lumières Awardees

The Foundation is shining the spotlight on three alumni who were nominated by members of the Institut national de la recherche scientifique (INRS) community for the 2023 Prix Lumières Awards.

The awards, presented on May 13 at the INRS graduation ceremony, are intended to highlight graduates whose achievements and accomplishments inspire our entire community. Our Lumières are remarkable individuals who, through their careers and achievements, demonstrate the importance of science in society and promote the quality and relevance of research and training at INRS.

Firestarter Award • Prix Étincelle

Stefania Sciara

Stefania Sciara

Ph.D. Energy and materials sciences, 2020 

Postdoctoral researcher,
Institut national de la recherche scientifique (INRS)

The Firestarter Award recognises a promising start to a career and a graduate who is an inspiration to our student community.

This year, our jury selected Stefania Sciara, who graduated in 2020 with a PhD in Energy and materials sciences. Since then, she has been a postdoctoral researcher at the INRS Centre Énergie Matériaux Télécommunications research and training centre, where she works on communication protocols and quantum key distribution. Her collaborations are rooted in both academia and industry. A recipient of a prestigious Mitacs Elevation grant, she works with the company Ki3 Technologies, with which she has co-patented two patents, one of which concerns the invention of a fibre device for the realisation and processing of complex photonic systems, which is of particular interest for quantum computing. It has also patented a device for implementing particularly powerful quantum cryptography protocols. In short, she is inspiring our student and scientific community to think outside the box and link science and industry. Congratulations to her!


Trailblazer Award • Prix Éclat

Dennis G. Whyte

Dennis G. Whyte

M.Sc. Energy sciences, 1989
Ph.D. Energy sciences, 1993

Director, Center for Plasma Science and Nuclear Fusion, and Hitachi America Professor of Engineering, Department of Nuclear Science and Engineering,
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

The Trailblazer Award recognizes the exceptional career of a graduate, as well as his or her involvement in the community, in Quebec and elsewhere.

The Foundation is pleased to award this prize to Dennis Whyte, a 1989 M.Sc. and 1993 Ph. He is Hitachi America Professor of Engineering in the Department of Nuclear Science and Engineering at the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Director of the Center for Plasma Science and Nuclear Fusion. His current position is a natural—but no less impressive—evolution of his research work at the Varennes Tokamak, a unique and all-too-short-lived partnership between INRS, Hydro-Québec and the Canadian nuclear fusion programme. A world leader in plasma physics, he has published more than 370 scientific papers and is leading the SPARC project, a high magnetic field tokamak aimed at demonstrating a net energy input from nuclear fusion. The project is a partnership with the company Commonwealth Fusion Systems, which he co-founded and which he hopes will provide the clean energy of the future. In keeping with the collegial spirit he experienced at INRS and which inspires him in his management at MIT, he is giving back to the next generation by providing research and training opportunities that combine public and private sector innovation collaborations to the hundred or so students at his centre. Bravo!


Starburst Award • Prix Rayonnement

Sabin Boily

Sabin Boily

M.Sc. Energy sciences, 1990
Ph.D. Energy sciences, 1994

Groupe YDEE             

Our Starburst Award celebrates an outstanding commitment to the development of INRS and the contribution to the economic, social or cultural development of Quebec by an alumn.

This year’s recipient received a master’s degree in 1990 and a doctorate in 1994 in energy sciences. It is with great pleasure that we present the Starbusrt Award to Sabin Boily.

As CEO of Ydee Group, Mr. Boily advises companies on the evaluation and commercialization of high value-added technologies. As President of ZeeOne Corporation and H2SX Corp, he seeks to produce clean, low-cost hydrogen in Canada and beyond. Involved in the scientific and industrial community, he sits on boards of directors and is a member of the Joint Committee on Responsible Conduct in Research of the Fonds de recherche du Québec. Driven by the idea of building bridges between research institutions and Quebec companies, technology commercialization and development have been a common thread in his career. More recently, he has chosen to focus his activities on the fight against climate change. In this sense, he has made the INRS shine by embodying in an exemplary way the aspiration to put science to work for the economic and social development of Quebec. Congratulations to him!


Congratulations to all three of you! Your achievements and commitment are a source of pride for the entire INRS community.

Bravo as well to all the alumni nominated and thank you to those who submitted their nominations. Your contribution to INRS and its world is invaluable.

We would like to thank the members of our jury, composed of INRS Foundation administrators and INRS representatives: Martine Vanasse, Mylany David, Luc-Alain Giraldeau, Annie Fernández, Marie-Pierre Habas-Gerard, Elise Comtois, and Isabelle Delisle.

Until next year!



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