NSERC grants $1.8 million for logistics research

by Inside Logistics Online Staff

MONTREAL – The Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM) and Teodor Gabriel Crainic, professor of operations research, logistics and transportation in the Department of Analytics, Operations and Information Technology (AOTI), have received a $1.8-million grant from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC).

This record funding from the granting agency to the School of Management Sciences (ESG UQAM) is committed for a period of four years. The NSERC contribution would not have been possible without the support of Polytechnique Montréal, and the Montreal firm ClearDestination.

The funding, totaling $3.92 million, has enabled the creation of the Research and Innovation Chair in Planning of Intelligent Logistics and Transportation Systems (PSILT) at ESG UQAM, with Professor Crainic as chairholder.

The chair will work to better define, design, analyze, plan and support the deployment of the new “4.0” generation of logistics and transport systems. The chair is concerned with the balance between economic profitability and operational efficiency on the one hand, and the sustainable and harmonious development of society on the other.

“What an opportune moment to reiterate that UQAM and its School of Management Science are leaders in research on logistics and transport systems,” noted UQAM Rector Magda Fusaro.

“With the creation of this new chair and the recognized expertise of Professor Crainic, our University confirms its prominent position in this cutting-edge field. I warmly thank the partners of this trailblazing project, which strenghtens our multidisciplinary collaborations in Quebec, in Canada and in the world, in order to ensure the development of research and the next generation in a strategic sector for our society.”

With 40 years’ experience and broad network of collaborators in operations research, logistics and transportation, Professor Crainic has access to an extraordinary team of experts. “My colleagues and I are great believers in international research networks. This large-scale, multidisciplinary, state-of-the-art project reinforces ESG UQAM’s position as a leader in logistics and transport,” he said.

Crainic will collaborate with colleagues Walter Rei, professor in the Department of Analytics, Operations and Information Technology at ESG UQAM, and Michel Gendreau, professor in the Department of Mathematics and Industrial Engineering at Polytechnique Montréal.

“I am delighted to collaborate on this project which is at the forefront of what is happening in the field of logistics and operations research. Transporting goods more efficiently will reduce not only the cost of goods but also the number of vehicles on the road, making a real difference in the fight against climate change. The Chair will also allow us provide training for the next generation in the field, at both UQAM and Polytechnique,” explained Gendreau.

Other researchers on the team, include professor Ygal Bendavid from ESG UQAM and professor Emma Frejinger from the Université de Montréal (UdeM), as well as three researchers from universities in Brazil, France and Italy. The entire team is a member of the Interuniversity Research Centre on Enterprise Networks, Logistics and Transportation (CIRRELT) where much of the project will take place.

“A collaboration with some twenty researchers from ESG UQAM and Polytechnique Montréal is invaluable for a company like ours,” said Christian Lafrance, President and CEO of ClearDestination, a logistics software developer.

“In today’s market, our customers expect us to operate smart logistics chains. With this project, ClearDestination is committed to developing a new generation of supply chain software that integrates operations research and artificial intelligence models and algorithms to automate decision-making on the movement of goods via all modes of transportation. Interconnected digital logistics will reduce costs and contribute to the reduction of greenhouse gases.”