Research is a core component of our IUHSSC. Our research culture contributes to quality of services, development of innovation, and implementation of leading practices. 

The MWI IUHSSC takes part in different types of research projects that are carried out in collaboration with various facilities and directorates. Our organization authorizes an average of 95 to 125 new projects each year. Currently, there are more than 400 projects included in the organization’s register of ongoing research projects. Researchers at the Douglas Hospital Research Centre and St. Mary’s Research Centre are at the very heart of our research, which also features many outside collaborators, such as students and professionals. 

Each new project is approved following ethics and suitability evaluation (feasibility and relevance) processes. New projects must also undergo a contract monitoring process. Anyone interested in conducting a research project at the MWI IUHSSC must submit a project proposal for review and approval. 

For more information, refer to the Framework Policy.

Douglas Hospital Research Centre

The Douglas Hospital Research Centre is the second largest mental research centre in Canada. Its research pace is set by more than 60 principal investigators, eight Canada Research Chairs, and over 250 graduate students and postdoctoral fellows from numerous laboratories. 

Its four main research programs cover all stages of life, from neurodevelopmental aspects to aging:

For more information, visit the Douglas Hospital Research Centre’s website.

St. Mary’s Research Centre

St. Mary’s Research Centre is reputed for its achievements in research on health care delivery. As a research centre and unit embedded within a care setting, its accomplishments are achieved through: 

  • The use of research methods to improve care and services provided to patients and families at St. Mary’s Hospital Center; and 
  • The implementation of research projects and creation of scientific knowledge generalizable to other settings. 

The Centre’s main research topics are a good illustration of its community role: 

  • front-line care 
  • elderly care
  • emergency rooms
  • community cancer care 

The research centre’s staff comprises full-time and associate researchers, clinical researchers, students, research assistants and coordinators, a team of statisticians, and an administrative team. 

For information requests, please write to

Research Ethics

Two research ethics committees have been established at the Montreal West Island IUHSSC—the Douglas Mental Health University Institute Ethics Committee and the St. Mary’s Hospital Center Ethics Committee—with a mandate to protect research participants in all facilities. These committees report to the Board of Directors. 

The committees must ensure that research projects respect the rights, dignity, and well-being of the subjects. Research ethics committees have the authority to approve, modify, interrupt, and refuse any research project proposal or continuation. They ensure follow-up of ongoing research projects.  

Also, as a government-appointed ethics committee, they are in charge of enforcing article 21 of the Civil Code of Quebecin matters of research involving a minor or a person of full age incapable of giving consent. Research at the MWI IUHSSC is subject to a regulatory framework made up of policies and procedures in compliance with all laws and standards governing research ethics. These include the Ministerial Action Plan for Research and Scientific Integrity and the Tri-Council Policy Statement: Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans (TCPS).

For information on how to submit a research project, please refer to the Evaluation and Authorization section.

Evaluation and Authorization of Research Projects

Each new project is authorized based on four parallel reviews: 

  1. Scientific review
  2. Ethics review
  3. Suitability review (feasibility and relevance)
  4. Contract review (where appropriate)

The Research Ethics Committee is responsible for conducting scientific and ethics reviews. In compliance with its governing standards, the Research Ethics Committee has adopted a proportionate approach to research ethics review. The first step consists in determining the level of evaluation based on the level of risk associated with the research. As such, the lower the level of risk, the lower the level of scrutiny (delegated review). However, the higher the level of risk, the higher the level of scrutiny (evaluation as a plenary committee conducted by the Research Ethics Committee). Each new project is authorized based on an ethics review process in compliance with the Framework for Multicentered Research Ethics Review

Regardless of the level of evaluation adopted, the proportionate approach used to review the ethical acceptability of research means the consideration of foreseeable risks, potential benefits, and ethical implications. Based on that approach, if the Research Ethics Committee considers the project bears minimal risk, it will undergo delegated review by two members of the Committee. A response time of approximately two weeks following the request can be expected.  However, if the Research Ethics Committee considers the risks of the project exceed the minimal risk, it will undergo review by a plenary committee. A response will be given approximately two weeks before the meeting. 

Suitability reviews are used primarily for determining whether directorates involved in a given project agree to participate. Each directorate appoints representatives to review the project’s goals, technical details, and plans for knowledge transfer. Representatives verify if the proposed research fits with the directorate’s scope, mission, strategic guidelines, philosophy, program, and research priorities. In no case does the suitability review cover the scientific and ethics components of the project. 

If you wish to submit a research project to us or learn more about the procedure to follow, please write to

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