Montreal, February 14, 2019 - Desjardins Group President and CEO Guy Cormier was the inaugural speaker at a new socio-economic lecture series hosted by Polytechnique Montréal (Rendez-vous socio-économiques de Polytechnique Montréal). The topic for Cormier's lecture was sustainable socio-economic development that puts people first, but he also announced a partnership with the university in which Desjardins will commit $1.25 million over five years to research in cybersecurity and artificial intelligence (AI). "Cybersecurity has become a field of extreme strategic importance that requires constant innovation. Desjardins wants to share knowledge and expertise with stakeholders doing cutting-edge research in the field. The partnership with Polytechnique will help us create a more secure environment for individual and business members and clients to manage their finances. At the same time, we're building a hub of technical expertise in cybersecurity and artificial intelligence in Quebec," said Cormier.

The agreement reflects Polytechnique Montréal's continued commitment to cybersecurity, which is woven into its mission, according to Philippe A. Tanguy, Chief Executive Officer of Polytechnique Montréal. "Cybersecurity is an essential part of our training and research programs. This partnership with Desjardins comes at just the right time. New technologies, like 5G connectivity, and the growing popularity of the Internet of Things will increase the flow of data and in turn, the risk of cyberattacks and fraud. We need to develop stronger and more nuanced defense mechanisms, provide expert-level training and encourage the next generation of cybersecurity entrepreneurs," said Tanguy.

"Cyberattacks are becoming increasingly sophisticated," said José Fernandez, an associate professor in the Department of Computer Engineering and Software Engineering at Polytechnique Montréal. "Governments, banks, leading businesses--certainly well equipped to protect themselves--have all been victims. We're constantly playing catch up to new cyberattacks. This partnership will build a cutting-edge research program from the ground up; a bold one that will use deep learning techniques in AI to solve fundamental cybersecurity issues," he added.

The need for cybersecurity professionals can't be ignored. According to an analysis by Deloitte and the Toronto Financial Services Alliance in 2016, the demand for cyber talent in Canada is increasing by 7% annually, meaning organizations will need to fill 8,000 cybersecurity roles by 2021.

Desjardins and Polytechnique are aware of the growing demand. Their partnership will enable faster detection of IT security incidents, improve automation for detecting and responding to incidents and train a dozen high-level experts in graduate and post-graduate programs.

Institute for Data Valorization (IVADO)

This agreement wouldn't have been possible without the contribution of the Institute for Data Valorization (IVADO), which aims to bring together industry professionals and academic researchers to develop cutting-edge expertise in data science, operational research and artificial intelligence. IVADO members provide data management methods and inform decision making for optimal resource use. In essence, IVADO creates opportunities for knowledge exchange and collaborations between the specialists, partners, researchers and students in its network.

Partners and founding members of CyberEco

Polytechnique Montréal and Desjardins are founding members and board members of CyberEco, a cybersecurity collective and talent pool founded in September 2018. The research commitment made today in cybersecurity and AI reflect CyberEco's goal of making Quebec a global hub in the field.

About Polytechnique Montréal

Founded in 1873, Polytechnique Montréal, technological university, is one of Canada's largest engineering teaching and research institutions. It is the Québec leader for the scope of its engineering research activities. It is located on the campus of Université de Montreal, the largest French-language university campus in the Americas. With over 49,000 graduates, Polytechnique Montréal has educated 22% of the current members of the Ordre des ingénieurs du Québec. The institution offers more than 120 programs. Polytechnique has 260 professors and 8,600 students. It has a global annual budget of $215 million, including a research budget of $81 million.

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