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Introducing the winner of the 6th edition of the Laure Waridel Bursary

Actu - 6e bourse Laure Waridel (2013) - 2

Olivier Samson-Robert, an MA student in plant biology at Université Laval, is the newest winner of the Laure Waridel bursary.

A selection committee composed of Laure Waridel and members from academic and environmental circles chose Samson-Robert for his study on the impact on bees of neonicotinoids – a new class of insecticide that poses a threat to pollinators. This prize, now worth $10,000, has been offered for six years in a row by Equiterre and the Caisse d'économie solidaire Desjardins. 

His innovative research was carried out in the field under natural conditions. All other studies to date on this topic have been conducted in the laboratory under controlled conditions. This is research that could have an impact at the political level.

"This project is unique, and reflects Equiterre's goal of reducing the use of synthetic pesticides for agricultural purposes," said Isabelle St-Germain, deputy director of Equiterrre.

"In science, particularly in research, money is a rather limited resource. This award will give us the means to educate the public about the importance of protecting pollinators, and to inform farmers, who are the main users of neonicotinoid insecticides. Thank you to Equiterre and the Caisse d'économie solidaire Desjardins for this show of support and confidence," said Olivier Samson-Robert.

For Waridel, it is a pleasure to be associated with this research, which has a strong action and educational component: "Olivier Samson-Robert is one of the first researchers to identify contamination by neonicotinoids of surface water as a possible route of exposure to this neurotoxin. Knowing that his work has already already attracted the interest of beekeepers, as well as of regulatory agencies at both the federal and provincial level, we are confident that the results of his research will serve the common good."

Pictured, from left to right: Bernard N'Dour, senior advisor, Strategic development, Caisse d'économie solidaire Desjardins; Olivier Samson-Robert, winner of the 2013 Laure Waridel bursary, Isabelle St-Germain, deputy director of Equiterre and Nadine Bachand, project manager – Agriculture and pesticides at Equiterre. Photo: Fanny Lasselin