The Université de Sherbrooke inaugurates its Fab Lab
Another step to creating one of the most vibrant communities of creatives in Quebec!
Sherbrooke, le 4 octobre 2019 – The Fab Lab – Fondation Huguette et Jean-Louis Fontaine of the Université de Sherbrooke is ready to open its doors to a creative and inventive community of students who are brimming with new ideas, ambitious projects and ingenious prototypes.
“This space was conceived, designed and built so that students could brainstorm, sketch, draw, explore, innovate, design and realize their wildest and most daring dreams. This project is exactly in line with the ideas and actions that have pushed the Bombardier family's projects forward for decades. This launch is the culmination of a project that I think is very important,” says Professor Patrik Doucet, Dean of the Faculty of Engineering.
Outstanding design, innovative projects, and a bold funding model
A building of this scale that is 75% funded by donors is generally unheard of. The $11.2-million overall project came about thanks to significant contributions from the Fondation Huguette et Jean-Louis Fontaine, the Bombardier family, the Association générale des étudiants en génie de l’Université de Sherbrooke (AGEG), employees of the Faculty of Engineering, and many other donors.
For Sylvie Fontaine, daughter of Huguette and Jean-Louis Fontaine and granddaughter of Joseph-Armand Bombardier, inventor of the snowmobile, it was natural for the Fondation Huguette et Jean-Louis Fontaine to partner with this creative space that holds great promise: “This Fab Lab is very much in keeping with our mission to support entrepreneurial education projects. At the lab, students will have everything they need to make their dream projects come true.”
From dream to reality
This is a space for creation, exposure, knowledge development, technological innovation, training, entrepreneurship, and much more. In fact, “Du rêve à la réalisation” (from dream to reality) is the motto inscribed on the building. Train. Innovate. Design. To serve society: this is the mission of the Faculty of Engineering of the University of Sherbrooke. “Everything has come together for us to meet society’s real needs through our creative education and our innovative research,” the Dean explained.
“When a faculty community mobilizes to launch a project that it truly and passionately believes in, and when generous donors join the adventure by sharing their undeniable values and vision, we can achieve extraordinary results. This entire project will fuel the creativity of many generations of students to come and benefit a society that is always looking for innovative and meaningful partnerships,” said a proud Professor Pierre Cossette, Rector of the Université de Sherbrooke.
2,500 square metres of inspiration
With a spectacular 270-degree view of the university campus, the city of Sherbrooke, as well as the mountains in the distance, the Fab Lab is now open to its university population. In the future, it will also welcome the Sherbrooke community and extend its network even further to become Quebec’s most vibrant space of inspiration for creatives in the province.
Just like the left brain, which is associated with logical and rational thinking, and the right brain, which is thought to be intuitive and emotional, the left side of the Fab Lab is dedicated to hands-on testing, experimentation, and production, whereas the right side is for design, exposure to actualized ideas, and creativity. On the left are the assembly room, a rapid prototyping room, a woodworking room, and the electronics, machining and mechatronics rooms. On the right are the exhibition and interactive hall, multipurpose room, mezzanine and idea creation room. An added bonus is an inspiring outdoor balcony tucked away in the trees! These are true collective spaces for people to work and share their skills and experiences.
The AGEG has four core values: commitment, cooperation, openness and fraternity. AGEG President Mathieu Labelle explains how the Fab Lab fully represents these values: “Commitment, because we wanted the Fab Lab to become a reality, and we will do everything we can to make it a ‘living’ space. Cooperation, as the lab is where team-work, innovative projects and revolutionary ideas will come to life. Openness, since the lab is accessible to everyone, from engineers to managers and educators. And fraternity, because the lab will become a meeting place for the broader university family.”
Even more benefits for business
Many projects developed at the Fab Lab will spread the message of the “UdeS difference.” Many major design projects by students who are finishing their bachelor’s program will get support from partners in the Innovation, Partnership and Entrepreneurship (IPE) Strategy of the Université de Sherbrooke.
A carbon-neutral building
In keeping with the university’s carbon-neutral strategy adopted in the spring, the Université de Sherbrooke will offset the building’s annual greenhouse gas (GGH) emissions to meet its commitment that any additional university spaces be carbon-neutral. These GGH will be compensated through the purchase of credits from a recognized voluntary carbon market.
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Geneviève Lussier, Media Relations Advisor
Communications Department | Université de Sherbrooke
819-821-8000, ext. 65472 | medias@USherbrooke.ca