The cooperation between Bavaria and Quebec

The fact that two regions, separated by 6,000 km and a language barrier, decided to work together so closely is due to many similarities:

Bavaria and Quebec see a particular importance in defending their own culture and identity, which are fundamental to their respective political identities.

Bavaria and Quebec share a relatively recent Catholic and rural past, yet both regions took advantage of their economic structures, which favor the growth of small and medium-size companies, in order to turn into high-tech centers.

Both regions see a particular importance in the development of renewable energies – solar and wind in Bavaria, hydroelectric in Quebec.

Bavaria’s population and culture, just as Quebec’s, are renowned for their warmth and friendliness.

The diversity of the bilateral collaboration after 25 years is proof of the close friendship that both regions have developed for one another over the years. Be it between social institutions like the Red Cross in Bavaria and in Quebec, or between student bodies like HFF München and L’INIS; from technological exchanges and common research projects in various industrial branches to active political contacts and exchanges between Bavaria’s Landtag and Quebec’s National Assembly: the bilateral relationships take all sorts of forms and can hardly be summed up.

A multi-faceted collaboration for more than 30 years

Political Relationships

In 1989, after several years of bilateral relations, Bavaria’s Minister-President Max Streibl and Quebec’s Premier Robert Bourassa signed a cooperation agreement in Munich that officially established the framework of the existing relationship. This agreement aimed at promoting commercial, scientific, technological and cultural exchanges between the two regions. 

The partnership has developed very dynamically and to date, over 600 successful projects have been carried out. The success of Bavaria-Quebec relations is mainly due to a common political will, as well as to the friendship and trust that have developed over the years of working together. 

Cooperation projects are decided every two years at bilateral meetings held alternatively in each region. Each government supports joint initiatives with financial and logistical resources, respecting the principle of reciprocity. 

Economic Partnership

Bavaria and Quebec share similar economic interests and developments. Both regions are high-tech locations of international reputation thanks to the efficient concentration and collaboration of actors within their industrial sectors. Specific, branch-related, government-supported clusters bring together SMEs, multinationals, research institutes, technical and higher education centres, engineering schools and professional associations, creating the conditions for synergies and an integrated development approach that fosters growth and innovation.  

The longstanding friendship and collaboration in economic development and technological transfer between Bavaria and Quebec has led to the establishment of several fruitful partnerships, sometimes leading up to 10 years: between MTU and Pratt & Whitney; between IABG and Bombardier; between bavAIRia and AeroMontreal as well as between LBC and CRIAQ –to name just a few from examples from the aerospace sector. 

Further technological topics relating to mutually beneficial economic developments are also at the heart of the Bavaria-Quebec relations: Umweltcluster Bayern and Écotech Québec are aiming at joint projects in the green tech field; Fraunhofer ISC Würzburg and IREQ are working together over battery life enhancement; Zentrum Digitalisierung.Bayern and IVADO are establishing contacts in the AI and big data sectors. The audiovisual niches (video games, post-production, special effects, etc.) are a promising industry for closer collaborations between the Montreal hub and the Bavarian talent platform.

Cooperation in R&D

The Bavarian Office for Research Coordination (Dr. Florence Gauzy) supports scientists and graduate students from higher education institutions in Bavaria and fosters research collaboration – as opposed to individual research – based on a reciprocity principle. 

The program is organized in three stages: 

  • networking 
  • support during funding application process 
  • multilateral expansion 

The program also provides logistical and administrative support to scientists applying for external funding (German Research Fund (DFG), European Union, international programs). 

Small and large projects are welcome and will be examined with the same attention, regardless of their field. The participation of companies is always welcome. Applications may be submitted at any time and will be examined in order in which hey are received. 

Cooperation projects are decided upon once every two years at bilateral meetings held alternatively in each region. Each government supports the joint initiatives with financial and logistical means, respecting the principle of reciprocity.  

Student Mobility and Exchanges

The Bavaria-Quebec cooperation has seen several exchange programs and funding opportunities set up during its existence. These programs are most often managed by third parties directly involved in the local education system on both sides, whether universities or dedicated student exchange bureaus.  

Foreign Language Teaching Assistants Program 

As part of its cooperation with the Pädagogischer Austauschdienst (German Teaching Exchange Services Office), the Quebec Ministry of Education offers a Foreign Language Teaching Assistants Program (second or third language) to Quebec students who wish to work in Germany, where they can support French classes. 

German schools wishing to host a French Teaching Assistant from Quebec through this program can apply here. German students can also take advantage of the reciprocal program to become Teaching Assistants in Quebec. 

Bavaria-Quebec School Exchange Program 

In collaboration with the Bayerischer Jugendring (BJR – Association for Bavarian Youth), the Quebec Ministry of Education offers 9th and 10th grade students the opportunity to spend three months as an exchange partner in Germany, while 9th and 10th grade students have the opportunity to spend two months in Germany. The program is managed by the BJR in Bavaria and Éducation internationale in Québec (Échanges Azimut) and spans over 6 months.  

Quebec pupils interested in this opportunity should contact Échanges Azimut. For German students interested in the spending time in Quebec, the contact is the BJR. 

Premier’s Scholarships 

In order to strengthen and promote links and exchanges between universities and students of Bavaria and of Quebec, the Quebec Ministry of International Relations offers 2 scholarships Bourse du premier ministre Québec-Bavière. The grants are 5000$ each and are awarded for short-term stays in Bavaria (4-12 weeks) to Quebec undergraduate and graduate students who wish to carry on their studies or conduct research. More detailed information can be found on the website of the Education Ministry. 

For their part, Bavarian students may apply for a Stipendium des Ministerpräsidenten. Awarded yearly to between 3 and 5 students, they support with a total amount of 1500 euros each, for students to spend 4 to 12 weeks in Quebec in order to write their thesis on a Quebec-specific issue. More information should be requested with Dr. Sabine Schwarze, Chair of the Romanic Languages Department at Universität Augsburg (tel. +49 (0) 821 598 2740). The Institut für Kanada Studien website also lists further scholarship opportunities for Canada. 

Mobility opportunities for young professionals 

Since 2013, a cooperation agreement between the Bavarian State Chancellery and LOJIQ facilitates young professionals’ exchanges. Through this agreement, Bavaria became one of LOJIQ’s target regions, where students or young professionals can apply for internships in Bavaria or financial support to complete a professional project there. This is aimed at 18 to 35 year-olds. More information can be requested with LOJIQ. 

Cultural Relations

Within the framework of the Bavaria-Quebec cooperation, several exchange programs and funding opportunities have been established during its existence. These programs are mostly managed by local cultural institutions, i.e. third parties directly involved in the local cultural landscape. Some of them span several years or are still ongoing, some are one-time projects.  

Cooperation projects are decided every two years, at bilateral meetings held alternatively in each region. Each government supports the joint initiatives with financial and logistical means, respecting the principle of reciprocity.