Connor Rowe and Marie-Pier Brochu

Congratulations to our two new recipients of the INRS Foundation Leadership and Commitment Scholarship, and the Andrea Rovere Scholarship!

We are proud to present the winners of the INRS Foundation scholarships, who fully embody our values: Marie-Pier Brochu, recipient of the Leadership and Engagement Scholarship, and Connor Rowe, winner of the Andrea-Rovere Fellowship.

Ms. Brochu is currently a doctoral student in water sciences, under the supervision of Professor Valérie Langlois. Her choice to pursue graduate studies at INRS stems from her desire to build a career in environmental research, with the intention of completing a post-doctorate in academia. Alongside her studies, Marie-Pier is actively involved with the Québec City YWCA, where she makes a significant contribution to supporting women in precarious financial situations.

Congratulations Marie-Pier! We are pleased to announce that a friendly bursary ceremony will be held at the Eau Terre Environnement Research Centre in the fall. This occasion will enable the INRS community to celebrate the achievements of our award winner.

Here's a glimpse of Marie-Pier's academic career and aspirations.

Marie-Pier Brochu, doctoral student in water sciences

Marie-Pier, what brought you to INRS? What can you tell us about your experience to date?

The fact that INRS is an exclusively research university (no undergraduates) and that the whole scientific community is very productive. I thought it was the perfect environment to do a PhD, and I was right. To this day, my experience at INRS is that the professors and support staff do everything possible to ensure that students flourish not only academically, but also personally, by valuing work/leisure balance.

Describe the challenge and impact of the research presented in your doctoral project.

My project aims to evaluate the use of environmental DNA - genetic material released by living organisms into the environment - as a method of monitoring important animal species in Québec. This method is non-invasive, which is particularly interesting for certain species such as small mammals (mice, shrews, moles, voles), which are currently inventoried using lethal traps. One of the chapters of my thesis therefore aims to determine whether the detection of small mammals by environmental DNA collected in soil samples is comparable to trap captures.

What does winning this scholarship mean to you?

Marie-Pier Brochu

“Winning this scholarship shows me that I'm on the right track and encourages me to continue with my commitments. Indeed, when you're involved in a number of extra-academic activities, you sometimes wonder whether you shouldn't be investing those hours in your research instead. However, to become a good scientist, I think we need to get out of our laboratory and see other realities, and that's what this grant promotes.”

My involvement with the YWCA brings me into contact with people whose basic needs such as clothing, food, shelter and safety are not always met. It puts things in perspective, and reminds me that while the work we do is important, there are other issues in our communities that are just as deserving of our time.

What are your plans for the future?

I plan to graduate in 2025 and then I'd like to pursue my career in environmental research by doing a post-doctorate, while of course continuing to get involved in causes that are close to my heart.


About the Leadership and Engagement Scholarship

Created thanks to the generosity of members of the INRS Foundation team, who donate through payroll deductions, this $2,000 bursary is designed to recognize and promote student leadership and involvement in community, social and associative activities, or in any other field that contributes to the vitality of our community. It improves the study conditions of the winners.

Announced in winter 2024, this is one of the first new sources of support for the INRS student community created by the Foundation as part of our personalized scholarship program.

The scholarship competition opened in January and closed on April 12, 2024. It was managed by the Service des études supérieures et de la réussite étudiante (SESRE) and attracted a great deal of interest from the student community.

About Connor Rowe

Mr. Connor Rowe is currently a PhD student in Energy and Materials Science, under the supervision of Professor José Azaña at the Énergie Matériaux Télécommunications (EMT) Research Centre. His choice to pursue his studies at INRS was motivated by the attraction of world-class supervision, unique collaboration opportunities, as well as the innovative research projects underway in his field of study. Connor expresses his deep gratitude for being selected as this year's recipient of the Andrea-Rovere Fellowship. He underlines the significant impact and lasting legacy left by the latter within the EMT Centre, a constant source of inspiration for him.

Congratulations Connor! We are pleased to announce that a scholarship ceremony will be held this fall at the EMT Centre. This occasion will allow the INRS community to celebrate the achievements of our newest scholarship recipient.

Here's a look at Connor's educational background and ambitions.

Connor Rowe, PhD student in energy and materials science

Connor, what brought you to INRS? What do you retain from your experience to date?

It was the world class mentorship and collaboration opportunities that originally brought me to the INRS. It was also the groundbreaking research projects ongoing such as invisibility cloaks and quantum signal denoising. My research director, José Azaña, is someone who inspires incredible excitement for research and discovery throughout my studies and made it very easy to stay motivated. His group members, in particular Benjamin Crockett, mentored me through my first experiments and publications.

Describe the challenge and impact of the research presented in your doctoral project.

Amplification, filtering, and spectrum analysis are all examples of signal and image processing which require demanding digital computation. My doctoral project focuses on replacing computer intensive processing tools with optical techniques implemented directly in the analogue domain using fiber or free space optics. This means significant improvements in speed and bandwidth, as well as potential energy and cost savings. These processing techniques are essential for cognitive communications, sensing and ranging, optical telecommunications, radio astronomy, and ultrafast laser characterization.

What does winning this scholarship mean to you?

Connor Rowe

“I am deeply honoured to receive this scholarship established in memory of Dr. Andrea Rovere. Although I did not have the opportunity to meet him, I have witnessed the profound impact his work and his passing have had on the INRS community and my mentors. I extend my sincere gratitude to the contributors who honor his legacy through this scholarship, and to the committee for selecting my application. Thank you for this meaningful support.”

How do you see things going from here?

I will continue my doctoral research under Pr. José Azana at the INRS, with a focus on developing my own ideas under his supervision. I envision my role expanding as a mentor and lead collaborator to new students. Furthermore, I will pursue the commercialization of the technology which was the subject of my master’s thesis and has now been patented, culminating in the creation of a startup company.


About the Andrea-Rovere Fellowship

Offered since 2023, the Andrea-Rovere Scholarship is created in memory of the brilliant INRS graduate and generous postdoctoral researcher of Italian origin Andrea Rovere. It recognizes the community involvement and quality of the research work of a doctoral student at the INRS Énergie Matériaux Télécommunications Research Centre. This scholarship enhances the study conditions offered by INRS to the winner.

The scholarship competition opened in January and closed on April 12, 2024. It was managed by the Service des études supérieures et de la réussite étudiante (SESRE) and attracted a great deal of interest from the student community.

The INRS Foundation would like to express its sincere thanks to the SESRE team for its invaluable support, as well as to the members of the selection committee and all those who submitted entries, contributed to the dissemination of information and ensured the smooth running of the competition. We would particularly like to thank our generous donors for their ongoing support.




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