The Bordeaux – Waterloo joint workshop on Artificial Intelligence and health sciences

Taking place from the 8th to the 10th of April 2019 in Bordeaux, the objective of this workshop was to discuss the collaboration opportunities between the University of Bordeaux and the University of Waterloo in the fields of artificial intelligence and health sciences.

  • 19/06/2019

Since 2010, the University of Bordeaux (UBx) and the University of Waterloo (UW) in Canada have been successfully collaborating in many fields with a strong focus on: functional materials for energy, nanoscience, health and environment. Since their first formal collaboration within the framework of the IDSFunMat joint doctoral school, the two institutions have subsequently organized joint workshops proposing to extend the collaboration to new areas. Following on from these initiatives, a joint fund was launched to support collaboration between the two communities in education and research in all fields, supporting nearly 30 projects to date.

The main purpose of this three day workshop in April was to strengthen the long standing partnership between the two institutions, as well as to identify specific areas of potential collaborations in the field of artificial intelligence and health. Around 80 participants were present, including researchers and doctoral fellows, all highly involved in the field of artificial intelligence innovation for societal impact.

A shared scientific challenge

Artificial intelligence (AI) is an emerging research priority in a growing number of countries worldwide. Within this framework, both institutions wish to jointly contribute to significant advances in AI in the areas of ​​research and training, and more specifically in health and computer science.

Officially opened by Stéphanie Debette, Vice-president for external relations (UBx), the workshop was led by Paul Fieguth, professor at the Department of Systems Design Engineering, representing the Institute of Artificial Intelligence (UW) and Rodolphe Thiébaut, director of the Public Health research department, professor at the Bordeaux School of Public Health and deputy director of the Bordeaux Population Health research center (UBx).

The workshop brought together researchers from both universities, from the fields of computing, system design and public health, and proposed over 30 thematic sessions dedicated to key emerging topics, such as:

  • Core artificial intelligence
  • Medical informatics and big data
  • Biostatistics – personalized medicine
  • Public health
  • Computer science / Machine learning, algorithm and health / Medicine

Following the sessions, a great number of propositions for potential collaborations were put forth, including research topics for visiting researchers, research topics for collaborations, as well as prospective teaching programs. A joint call for projects to support upcoming Bordeaux – Waterloo collaborations will be launched within the next few weeks, so stay tuned!

We have high hopes that the next call for proposals will bring many new, innovative collaborations, which the University of Waterloo will continue to encourage.

Paul Fieguth — Professor, Department of Systems Design Engineering (UW)


The Canadian delegation was composed of representatives of the Institute of Artificial Intelligence, including from the Department of Systems Design Engineering, the Department of Statistics and Actuarial Science, the School of Public Health and Health Systems, the School of Computer Science, and the Professional Practice Center for Health Systems.

Speakers affiliated to UBx included a representative of the Ministry of Higher Education, Research and Innovation, the UBx Vice-Presidents for External relations, International networks and Strategy and development, the Director of the International Office, as well as members of the Bordeaux Population Health research center, the Bordeaux School of Public Health, the Bordeaux University Hospital, the Comprehensive Cancer Centre of the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region (Institut Bergonié), the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS), the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research (INSERM), the French National Research Institute for Digital Sciences (INRIA), the Institut de Mathématiques de Bordeaux (IMB), the Laboratoire de l'Intégration du Matériau au Système (IMS), the Laboratoire Bordelais de Recherche en Informatique (LaBRI) and Bordeaux INP.

Find out more!

To find out more about the Bordeaux – Waterloo partnership, please consult this webpage.