The GRIL was created in 1989 through the actions of an enthusiastic group of limnologists from four Montréal-area universities: Université de Montréal (UdeM), Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM), McGill University, and Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières (UQTR). Since the 1970s, Montréal had been a core site of limnological research in Canada consisting of two main competing groups: one associated with Étienne Magnin at the francophone Université de Montréal and the other at the anglophone McGill University with Frank Rigler, Jacob Kalff, and Rob Peters.
Discussions of joining research forces in limnology commenced between Peters and Kalff (McGill), Bernadette Pinel-Alloul (UdeM), Pierre Legendre (UdeM), and Dolors Planas (UQAM) in 1989 and quickly engaged other young, dynamic researchers including Pierre Magnan from UQTR and others in the Montreal community: David Bird, Daniel Boisclair, Antonella Cattaneo, John Downing, Réjean Fortin, Pierre-Paul Harper, William Leggett, Asit Mazumder, Yves Prairie, and Joe Rasmussen. All four founding universities provided some seed funds permitting the group to submit their first proposal to the provincial funding agency, based on a set of bilingual discussions lead by the talented Rob Peters. The first grant of $150,000 was awarded in 1993 by the FCAR (now FRQNT), firmly establishing the GRIL on the Canadian research scene. Since those early days, many other researchers and six other Québec universities have joined the GRIL: Institut National de la Recherche Scientifique – Centre Eau Terre et Environnement, Concordia University, Université de Sherbrooke, Université du Québec à Chicoutimi, Laval University and Université du Québec en Outaouais.
The GRIL has grown over the years through the guidance of four directors (see picture below): Bernadette Pinel-Alloul from UdeM (1989–1999), Yves Prairie from UQAM (2000–2008), Pierre Magnan from UQTR (2008–2015) and Beatrix Beisner from UQAM who is leading the group since 2015.
Source : Adapted from the section « A brief history » in the article « The GRIL: A Limnological Research Network », published in 2018 in Limnology and Oceanography Bulletin - volume 27, number 2, pages 45-47.
GRIL is an FRQNT-funded strategic cluster