The Acfas was founded in 1923 as the Association canadienne-française pour l'avancement des sciences (French-Canadian Association for the Advancement of Science). Its name was changed in 2001 to the Association francophone pour le savoir. Despite the name change, Acfas retained the acronym by which it has become known.
The association played an important role in building Francophone Quebec's scholarly community, supporting the growth of an intellectual milieu outside the formal boundaries of the Catholic Church. Among its founders were prominent French-Canadian intellectual such as Brother Marie-Victorin, the father of biology in francophone Quebec, and the radiologist Léo Pariseau. Today Acfas is best known for the scholarly prizes it awards annually and for its yearly conference of French-language learned societies in Canada, which is hosted by a different university each year, usually in Quebec.
Gingras, Yves. (1994) Pour l'avancement des sciences : histoire de l'ACFAS 1923-1993. Montréal: Éditions Boréal (ISBN 2-89052-619-4).