As a private and independent corporation, the Institute needs to form an official association with the Hôtel-Dieu. In an affiliation contract completed in December 1964, both parties decide to work in close collaboration – the Institut for its need to be closely linked to a university-affiliate teaching hospital, and the hospital to promote the quality of its scientific work and patient care. The contract is signed for a 25-year term as of January 1, 1966. Under the terms of the agreement, clinician-researchers were now part of the Hôtel-Dieu medical staff, with access to a 14-bed metabolic unit. In return, the Institut performs ultra-specialized lab tests for the hospital.
In June 1967, the IRCM obtains its direct affiliation with the Université de Montréal. Under the terms of the agreement, IRCM researchers would collaborate in the faculty’s teaching and research activities, and supervise graduate students who would earn degrees from the university. At the time of the agreement between the Université de Montréal and the Institut, André Barbeau (son of the eminent neurologist Antonio Barbeau) sets up his neurobiology laboratory at the Institut, along with a research team that had already established a solid reputation working at the university since 1961. The team would achieve great distinction, mainly for its work on Parkinson’s disease.
The Institut’s expansion was not without its share of rough patches and controversies. Some in the clinical and academic community see the Institut as a new and dangerous rival that is growing too fast, while others have trouble accepting the fact that it was an independent body located off-campus. Many also feel that it is receiving preferential treatment. The Institut, in turn, believes that the academic world moves too slowly.
However, the Hôtel-Dieu recognizes the importance of the discoveries made by Dr. Genest’s team, as well as the unexpected scope of its research projects. According to the hospital, a reorganisation of the Institut is essential to ensure its proper functioning, its expansion, and its lasting quality.