Our legacy

Bringing research closer 
to patients to accelerate innovation


A revolutionary idea for biomedical research takes shape.

In 1952, when the Executive Director of the Hôtel-Dieu de Montréal, Sister Marie-Louise Allard, noted that research was being given an increasingly important place in avant-garde hospitals, she created facilities for research and offered Dr. Jacques Genest the opportunity to create a clinical research department within the hospital under his direction. Jacques Genest accepted with the following conditions: autonomy, educational freedom, and access to patients within the framework of his research. The Montreal Clinical Research Institute was born of this vision.


The Clinical Research Department of the Hôtel-Dieu hospital in Montreal is formed.

In 1955, the Clinical Research Department of the Hôtel-Dieu hospital in Montreal was, at that time, the only French-Canadian hospital where young doctors could receive recognized clinical training and an introduction to research while remaining in contact with patients. 


The first independent clinical research institute emerges.

« A free and independent research institution that will become a world-renowned center for discovery and excellence. »

In March 1964, the Ministère de la Santé of the Government of Quebec granted the funds necessary to create a clinical research institute. It provided $1.2 million for construction, the purchase of equipment and furnishings, as well as $100,000 per year for eight years to cover the future institute’s costs for research, administration, and maintenance. 

With the help of lawyer Marcel Piché, Dr. Genest founded the Centre médical Claude-Bernard corporation, which became the Institut de diagnostic et de recherches cliniques de Montréal in 1965. The institute officially became the Montreal Clinical Research Institute (IRCM) in 1986.  


Construction of the building begins in January 1966. The design of the building is inspired by the most innovative research centers in America.

In April 1967, the building at 110 des Pins Avenue was inaugurated. That same year, the IRCM obtained its direct affiliation with Université de Montréal. Under their agreement, IRCM researchers can collaborate in teaching and research activities and supervise graduate and doctoral students whose work will lead to university degrees.

The IRCM, the legacy of a pioneer of biomedical research in Quebec.

Dr. Jacques Genest

Born in Montreal in 1919, the founder of the IRCM, Dr. Jacques Genest, had a prolific scientific career marked by many significant contributions to medical research. Internationally recognized for the quality and significance of his research and discoveries, he is the author of four books and more than 700 articles, mainly on the mechanisms of high blood pressure.  

A Companion of the Order of Canada since 1967, a Grand Officer of the Ordre national du Québec since 1991, and a Commander of the Ordre de Montréal, Dr. Jacques Genest holds around a dozen honorary doctorates.  

Dr. Genest passed away on January 5, 2018, at the age of 98, but the spirit and vision that drove him are still alive and well within the Institute. His legacy transcends time and his contribution to creating a center of research excellence will continue to inspire many future generations of researchers.


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