Andrea Amortegui, Abdelali Moukhsil, Fabien Solgadi, Guillaume Allard and Patrice Roy
Ministère de l’Énergie et des Ressources naturelles
The Association québécoise des sciences de la Terre (Québec Association of Earth Sciences, or AQUEST) was founded in 2004 to promote the Earth sciences among college and university students in Québec. Its mission is to publicize the original contribution made by the geosciences to society.
In the ten years since its foundation, AQUEST has organized geoscientific activities designed for organizations and individuals with an interest in the quality of training and research in Québec. Among other things, it encourages college and university students in related fields (Earth sciences and mine engineering) to present their research findings.
AQUEST’s mission and activities are consistent with the principle of sustainable development through access to information: “Measures aimed at promoting education, access to information and research must be encouraged with a view to stimulating innovation and improving the general public’s awareness of and participation in the implementation of sustainable development.”
Because of its status as a section of the Geological Association of Canada, AQUEST forms part of a network that extends far beyond Québec’s borders. In addition, as a French-language organization, it serves as a gateway to the French-speaking population for the Geological Association of Canada.
AQUEST has organized a competition for students at every annual congress of the Ministère de l’Énergie et des Ressources naturelles since 2005 (Québec Exploration from 2005 to 2009 and Québec Mines since 2012), awarding scholarships to the winners. For the 2014 edition of the AQUEST-Québec Mines competition, four university scholarships will be awarded: three to postgraduate students (Master’s and Doctoral level), and one to an undergraduate student. Over the years, participation in the competition has increased significantly, from 10 in 2010 to 30 in 2013. The awards acknowledge the quality of academic training in the geosciences in Québec, and facilitate exchanges between graduate students and companies.
In addition, the Association is involved in organizing the Défi EXPLO Québec Mines competition, in which teams of three students, representing different universities, must produce an exploration project within a 12-hour timeframe. Each team is allocated a specific prospecting sector, and must then race against the clock, using a computer equipped with the necessary ArcGIS tools and all the geological and geophysical data from SIGEOM to target a mining property, prepare a detailed exploration program based on the property’s geology and available substances, and produce a detailed report on the program. The winning team, the one whose exploration project is chosen by the judges as the most promising, receives a prize.
Since it was first founded, AQUEST has awarded more than $32,000 in scholarships and sponsorship. Once again this year, it is offering scholarships worth a total of $6,000 for the two competitions.
AQUEST is proud to encourage students to persevere in their field of study and stimulate performance and innovation through their research. Its efforts also help to consolidate the existing network of young scientists dedicated to the promotion of the geosciences in Québec.