During the 1980's, biochemist Robert Cedergren, seconded by David Sankoff, formed the first research group in bioinformatics at the Université de Montréal.

In the Autumn 2001, as the importance of this field of research grew, the Université de Montréal offered its first B.Sc. program specialized in bioinformatics.

In Autumn 2002, following the success of the undergraduate program, students were accepted for masters and doctorate programs in bioinformatics.

On January 19, 2004, the Université de Montréal endowed the Robert Cedergren Centre with the objectives of generating a critical mass in research and teaching, facilitating and creating a synergy for interdisciplinary collaboration, and sharing resources and infrastructure.