Center for Northern Studies / Centre d’Etudes Nordiques

Founded in 1961, the Centre d’études nordiques (CEN-Centre for Northern Studies) is an interuniversity centre of excellence for research on northern environments. CEN's mission is to contribute to the sustainable development of northern regions by way of an improved understanding of environmental change. CEN researchers analyze the evolution of northern environments in the context of climate warming and accelerated socio-economic change, and train highly qualified personnel in the analysis and management of cold region ecosystems and geosystems. In partnership with government, industry and northern communities, CEN plays a pivotal role in environmental stewardship and development of the circumpolar North.

The Centre brings together members from Université Laval, Université du Québec à Rimouski and INRS Centre Eau, Terre et Environnement along with members from 6 other institutions distributed across Québec. The CEN currently counts over 300 researchers, students and research staff spanning a diversity of disciplines including biology and microbiology, geography, geology, engineering, archaeology, resource management, and political sciences. CEN members actively contribute to fundamental and applied, innovative research projects, while contributing to knowledge exchange and the development of adaptation strategies.

Data management is also a priority and CEN publishes its data in free, online data journals, entitled Nordicana D ( CEN is also a leading contributor to the Polar Data Catalogue ( In the North, the CEN NETWORK is operated by CEN: over 85 meteorological stations and 9 field stations that were established in consultation with northern communities throughout the eastern Canadian Subarctic and Arctic regions. The Network is distributed along a 4000 km ecoclimatic gradient, stretching from boreal forest, through tundra to polar desert.

The CEN Network is part of INTERACT (, an international network of circumarctic research stations for the observation of environmental change. CEN also operates climate instrumentation and manages several laboratories, including labs for animal ecology, radiochronology, telemetry, micro-geoarchaeology, paleo-ecology, and tree ring analysis labs.

Facts and figures

Year Established 1961
Total Number of Staff 20
Number of Academic Staff 59
Number of Students 218