In his roles as vice chairperson of the Board of Governors and chairperson of the Board Executive Committee from 1970-1976, and later as senior vice-president of the Centre until 1979, Berlinguet helped to manage the Centre’s activities and assumed several functions of the president’s office.
Born in Trois-Rivières in 1926, Berlinguet studied chemistry at the Université de Montréal and later earned a PhD in chemistry from Université Laval. After completing postgraduate studies in Chicago, Bethesda, and London, UK, he returned to Université Laval where he was appointed professor of biochemistry in 1961, head of the department of biochemistry in 1963, and assistant dean of research in the Faculty of Medicine in 1967.
For his contributions to the field of teaching and for advancing scientific research in Quebec and Canada, he was named an officer of the Order of Canada in 1974. “IDRC is indeed proud to have such a distinguished Canadian as a member of its governing board,” wrote Hopper in a letter to the Board. “You deserve it, we’re very proud to know you; your appointment adds lustre to the honour.”
Following his tenure at IDRC, Berlinguet was the scientific attaché for the Canadian embassy in Paris. Upon his return to Ottawa in 1983, he became the first scientific advisor and deputy minister for Science and Technology Canada. This position was followed by senior roles at L’Institut de recherche en santé et en sécurité au travail du Québec and the Conseil de science et technologie du Québec. In 1990, he became an officer of l’Ordre du Québec.
Berlinguet’s contributions in IDRC’s early days helped to establish the Centre’s reputation, in Canada and globally, as an important contributor to groundbreaking international development research. As the Centre mourns his loss, we extend our deepest sympathies to Louis Berlinguet’s family and friends.