As I write this message, there is a wonderful feeling of optimism in Québec as the summer advances and vaccination rates increase. We are cautiously planning for a more traditional autumn semester and it is exciting to imagine in-person classes, seminars, conferences and visit to other labs!
The past months have been busy. As announced previously, the Stratégie québécoise de la recherche et de l’innovation (SQRI), which provided significantly increased funding to the FRQNT from 2017-2022, is in the process of being renewed. Thanks to all of you who responded to surveys about the impact of FRQNT funding on your career and research. Such information will inform the Ministry of Economy and Innovation for the next version of the SQRI.
The FRQNT is also grateful to the research community for their participation in preparing memoires regarding the new SQRI. Over 230 memoires were submitted and are now being analysed. This feedback from the community is also information for the FRQNT as we initiate our next strategic plan this summer.
We hosted a virtual discussion with the Strategic clusters as well as consulted with the college community and industry. There was general consensus that the next SQRI should support the FRQNT with regard to: (1) fundamental research to stimulate applications and innovation, i.e. a coherent and balanced pipeline from discovery to commercialization or social innovation; (2) an ambitious strategy for recruiting and retaining students / researchers, including the promotion of merit scholarships; (3) human and material infrastructures already within the strategic clusters; (4) an FRQNT research program for international collaborations.
The new joint website for the FRQNT, FRQSC and the FRQS has been launched. There, you will find information on our programs, including the newly revised and more inclusive scholarship criteria. We are also very pleased to launch three, completely new programs. First, NOVA, a joint FRQNT-NSERC team grant that must have an early-career researcher from Québec as the principal researcher and include researchers from provinces or territories outside of Québec. In the context of the post-pandemic recovery, we launched a pilot program for public-privately funded research chair with co-principal researchers, one of which must be a new recruitment. The FRQNT is also managing a newly announced Arctic research program in collaboration with the UKRI, Polar Canada, National Research Council Canada, Parks Canada, and Inuit-Tapariit-Kanatami. We are convinced that these new programs will provide great exciting opportunities to the research community.
Wishing you a happy and safe summer.