I am pleased to congratulate the FRQNT research community for their collective success in obtaining scholarship (bourse d’excellence) and research grant funding as announced for the 2022-23 competitions. Over 2000 submissions were considered by 150 evaluation committees! The public research funding ecosystem depends on an efficient peer-review process and the time, rigor, and professionalism of these evaluators are essential in ensuring that the FRQNT can serve its community. We are very grateful to the 500 scientific experts who served on these evaluation committees – thank you!
The FRQNT also thanks the scientific community – especially the Regroupements stratégiques, for taking the time to submit mémoires in support of science as part of the work leading to the Stratégie québécoise de recherche et d’investissement en innovation 2022-2027 (SQRI2). We are pleased with the new SQRI2, which has significant funding targeted to support research talent in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and to strengthen existing research regroupements. Fundamental research plays an indispensable role in stimulating the innovation cycle in Québec and this announcement reflects the MEI’s commitment as the FRQNT’s base budget has been increased, which will enhance key programmes, such as support for new professors and team grants.
The SQRI2 also demonstrates the importance of promoting the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals in the research ecosystem , including principles of equity, diversity and inclusion, about which the FRQNT community is already a leader (FRQ’s EDI principles). I am confident that the FRQNT community will continue to show vision and leadership in providing solutions to these challenges.
A major highlight of the 2022-23 competitions includes increased funding for the PhD scholarship program, which allows the FRQNT to support a greater number of students. Indeed, there is an urgent need in the Québec workplace for more highly trained individuals in the FRQNT domains and we hope these researchers will mitigate this challenge. We are acutely aware, however, that the amounts of the scholarships awarded to graduate students and postdoctoral fellows is insufficient. The Chief Scientist of Québec and the FRQ will continue to work to improve the situation.
Another highlight is enhanced support for the Regroupements stratégiques. The FRQNT will launch a new research programme in 2023 inviting strategic collaborations among multiple research regroupements, including the Catalysers d’innovation, to address major challenges in natural sciences, mathematics, and engineering. Therefore, each FRQNT regroupement is currently eligible for a one-time supplement to help initiate planning for this new call, which will be prepared in consultation with the research regroupements themselves.
In conclusion, I hope the FRQNT community will welcome these results of the 2022-23 competition and the SQRI2. I am optimistic that we are moving in the right direction so that Québec science can serve as a model for other research communities and an inspiration to the public.
Have a great summer!
Scientific Director FRQNT
P.S. Thank you to everyone who contributed to my Les Audacieuses campaign for Leucan, it was a great success!