Competition year : 
2023-2024

Deadline (pre-request) : 
September 8th, 2022 at 16:00 (EST)

Deadline (application) : 
December 8th, 2022 at 16:00 (EST)

Announcement of results : 
End of April 2022

Amount : 
Up to $ 100 000, over a period of 12 months, may be spread over 24 months

Duration : 
1 year

IMPORTANT NOTICE: Electronic forms are available in the e-portfolio (FRQnet) of the applicant (FRQSC platform). More details are available in the FRQnet Help section.

Your FRQnet account in the e-portfolio is unique for the three Fonds de recherche du Québec (FRQ). To access the form, you must choose the ”Society and Culture” section (Fund manager). The form is available under “Competitions Available, Program: Research Grants”.

NOTE

This program refers to the Common General Rules (CGR), which are applicable to all programs of the Fonds de recherche du Québec (FRQ). Any special terms and conditions applicable to the AUDACE program are indicated in this document, and these prevail over the CGR.

In the event of a discrepancy between the English and French versions of this program, the French version prevails.

1. CONTEXT

Convinced that an intersectoral approach will open up novel research perspectives, introduce groundbreaking conceptual frameworks, cast new light on complex phenomena and provide innovative solutions to multidimensional issues, the Fonds de recherche du Québec (FRQ) invite members of the scientific community from all sectors (natural sciences and engineering, health sciences, humanities and social sciences, arts and literature) to address the major challenges facing Québec society, by viewing them through the prism of a truly joint, co-constructed, integrated approach.

AUDACE is part of significant efforts made over the last six years by the Chief Scientist of Québec to foster intersectoral research through forums on research direction; periodic consultations with stakeholders from research, the public, private and political sectors and the artistic community; and by launching a wide-ranging process of reflection on creativity and intersectorality.

Launched in 2017, AUDACE was the first funding opportunity of the Directorate of Societal Challenges and Intersectoral Networks (Direction des défis de société et des maillages intersectoriels; DSMI) to come out of the funding programs focusing on intersectoral networking and on the advances that can be made by the cross-pollination of scientific knowledge, approaches and cultures. It is in line with the Support for innovative research and Support for innovative projects programs—which succeeded one another as part of FRQSC’s programming between 2002 and 2013—, two funding offers that invited the community to propose projects that were out of the ordinary, innovative, and outside of the box. Drawing on lessons learned through these programs, AUDACE represents a firm commitment on the part of the three FRQ to support exploratory intersectoral initiatives with the potential to radically transform research and creation.

With this program, the FRQ are also seeking to restore Québec’s position in the international shift toward High-Risk/High-Reward funding. AUDACE aims to provide researchers from the three major sectors covered by the FRQ with favorable conditions for initiating projects with a high level of risk and the potential for high impacts, be they scientific, social, economic, technological, cultural, aesthetic, etc.

More specifically, Québec researchers are invited to submit proposals that:

  • are in line with an intersectoral approach – in the sense that they involve collaboration between researchers from at least two of the three major sectors covered by the FRQ;
  • dare to break with established frameworks and patterns of thought;
  • are likely to produce radically innovative knowledge and have a high potential for impact.

2. OBJECTIVES

2.1 General objective

The objective of the AUDACE program is to support bold research that offers a departure from traditional approaches. For the purposes of this program, “bold” refers to the ability of the researchers and their project to go beyond the existing paradigms of their respective scientific cultures and fields of research – theories, practices, hypotheses, methods, and even modes of thought. The FRQ also wish to encourage innovative research proposals with a high potential to transform and to produce considerable impacts, regardless of their nature (scientific, social, economic, technological, cultural, aesthetic, etc.).

2.2. Specific objectives

More specifically, through this program, the FRQ aim to:

  • foster intersectoral networking by funding research projects at the crossroads of disciplines and sectors;
  • provide funding for projects considered risky because of their boldness and which, due to their intersectoral nature, do not fall within the scope of the regular funding programs offered by each of the three FRQ.

By “intersectoral networking”, the FRQ are referring to a research and collaboration approach which, in order to shed new light on common or shared research issues, brings together researchers from disciplinary fields or research practices from at least two of the three major sectors covered by the Fonds de recherche du Québec (Nature et technologies, Santé and Société et culture) to work on a research topic, problem, method or question. We are talking about going beyond the simple combination or juxtaposition of several disciplines and sectors (or even the instrumentalization of one discipline or sector by another) to resolve a problem or tackle a research topic. From an intersectoral perspective, disciplines and sectors must firmly engage in a joint and co-created research approach whose mode of operation lies outside of the hierarchization of fields of knowledge.

3. ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS

3.1 Eligibility of the project leader

The project leader (principal investigator; PI) must have one of the following research statuses defined in the Common General Rules (CGR):

  • status 1: university researcher;
  • status 2: clinical university researcher;
  • status 3: college researcher.

He/she must also meet all general eligibility requirements set out in the CGR.

Retired researchers may assume the role of principal investigator and hence lead the project, provided they can prove that they are still active in research (publications, grants, student supervision, etc.). A letter from the university with which the researcher is affiliated must be provided, clearly indicating that 1) before retirement, the researcher was a regular professor, 2) for the term of the grant, he/she will have access to the facilities and logistical support required to carry out research activities and 3) he/she will continue to train/supervise students, where applicable.

Researchers with the research status (see the CGR) of university researcher or clinical university researcher and who receive a salary as a contracted professor (non-tenure track position) in a university recognized by the FRQ to manage funding must attach, in the “Other documents” section of the pre-application form and, where applicable, in the application form, a mandatory document from their university certifying that they will retain this position throughout the duration of the grant.

3.2 Team configuration

In order to be eligible, a project must imperatively be headed by a team of at least two people (including the principal investigator) from at least two different sectors covered by different FRQ (FRQNT, FRQS and FRQSC) with the status of:

  • status 1: university researcher;
  • status 2: clinical university researcher;
  • status 3: college researcher.

Role in the application

Co-director (optional)

The principal investigator can designate one or a maximum of two (2) people as project co-director(s) in the pre-applicationand, where applicable, in the application. The co-director of a team must:

1.      work in a sector covered by a FRQ that is different from that of the principal investigator;

2.      have one of the research statuses listed in Section 3.1:

  • status 1: university researcher;
  • status 2: clinical university researcher;
  • status 3: college researcher.

Retired researchers and university and clinical university researchers who receive a salary as a contracted professor (non-tenure track position) in a university recognized by the FRQ to manage funding must provide a letter from their university as described in Section 3.1 confirming their eligibility. If a researcher’s status cannot be validated in the absence of documents required under the program rules, that researcher will be removed from the list of team members before the pre-applicationis presented to the relevance committee, or if applicable, before the proposal is presented to the scientific committee.

A project co-director shares the responsibility for the conduct of the proposed research equally with the principal investigator. As such, and if applicable, the co-director must accompany the principal investigator to the interview with the scientific committee in Phase 2 of the application evaluation. Should the project receive funding, the co-director must 1) be identified with the principal investigator as co-leader of the research project and 2) endorse the final report at the end of the grant period.

Co-investigator

At the application stage, team may include an unlimited number of co-investigators with one of the following research statuses defined in the CGR:

  • status 1: university researcher;
  • status 2: clinical university researcher;
  • status 3: college researcher;
  • status 4: other research statuses different from statuses related to status 1, 2 and 3 mentioned above:

o   researcher in a government institution recognized by the FRQ;

o   researcher in a government-sector organization not recognized by the FRQ or in the private sector;

o   practitioner;

o   artist;

o  individual contributor.

Thus, for a project to be eligible under the program rules, it must be led by a team composed of at least one principal investigator AND one co-director or co-investigator, each of whom must work in a different sector covered by different FRQ (FRQNT, FRQSC, FRQS) and have one of the following statuses as defined in the CGR:

  • status 1: university researcher;
  • status 2: clinical university researcher;
  • status 3: college researcher.

As is the case for the principal investigator, and for the purpose of validating their status, a co-director or co-investigator with the status of retired researcher or university researcher or clinical university researcher who receives a salary as a contracted professor (non-tenure track position) in a university recognized by the FRQ to manage funding must provide a letter from their university as described in Section 3.1 If a researcher’s status cannot be validated in the absence of documents required under the program rules, that researcher will be removed from the list of team members before the pre-applicationis presented to the relevance committee.

Finally, the research team may also enlist collaborators with the same research statuses as co-investigators who provide a specific expertise to the research project for which funding is requested (see CGR section “Definitions – Statuses and Roles”). As a result, postdoctoral fellows may contribute to the project as collaborators. However, research professionals are not eligible to be collaborators.

3.3 Participation in more than one project

A principal investigator cannot be responsible for more than one funding application or grant awarded under this program.

It is possible to have the role of co-investigator in several projects submitted or funded under this program. However, the relevance and feasibility of this type of multiple participation will be subject to evaluation.

4. SUBMISSION OF THE PRE-APPLICATION

Applicants must pre-apply by submitting a pre-application (PA), which will be reviewed by a relevance committee in view of the program’s objectives (Section 2) and criteria (Section 6.1). Following this relevance review, those teams with the most relevant projects will be invited to submit a full application.

4.1 E-forms

The principal investigator must complete the pre-applicatione-form in his/her FRQSC e-portfolio. He/she must first create a user account on the FRQSC website if this has not already been done. Individuals who already have a personal identification number (PIN) have direct access to a FRQnet account and must update their profile using the e-portfolio.

At the pre-application stage, the team description must be limited to the principal investigator and a maximum of two (2) additional members with the role of co-director or co-investigator.

If the team is composed of more than the two (2) or three (3) members already identified in the pre-application, the project description included with the e-form should mention this, specifying each person’s contribution (see section 4.2). Where applicable, all members of the team will eventually be identified in the application form.

Finally, we invite the research teams to consult documents available in the “Tool Box” of the program web page to make sure that they fill out the pre-application e-form correctly.

Only forms completed and transmitted electronically will be accepted. The pre-application e-form submission to the FRQ must be done by the managing and employing institution of the principal investigator before the deadline shown in section 7.

We remind you that the electronic submission to FRQ includes two steps that must be completed before the competition deadline:

  1. transmission of the application to the establishment before the deadline that it may have chosen;
  2. transmission of the application to the FRQ by an administrator of the managing institution.

The managing institution designated in the form by the person responsible for the request must be:

or

  • the place of his research, provided that this establishment:

a)      has been recognized by the FRQ to manage funding;

b)      has an affiliation contract with the employing university.

4.2 Documents to be included

The principal investigator is asked to submit the following documents:

  • A three-page PDF document containing:

1.   a project description addressing the program objectives (section 2) and the evaluation criteria (see 6.1);

2.   a paragraph describing the co-construction process that led the team to submit a pre-application;

3.   a paragraph describing the approach that will lead to the accomplishment of the project and each member’s contribution to this process.

  • For the principal investigator AND one or a maximum of two co-investigators or co-directors, an abridged CV of no more than 2 pages. The abridged CVs must respect the FRQ presentation rules (available here) and summarize, in the order listed:

1.   research sector representing your expertise to the proposed research project:

§  Natural sciences and engineering (FRQNT);

§  Health (FRQS);

§  Social and human sciences or arts and letters (FRQSC).

2.   academic training (degrees) and work experience;

3.   professional activities and contributions;

4.   relevant expertise and contributions pertaining to the application submitted to the FRQ.

Depending on the person’s role (principal investigator, co-director or co-investigator), please refer to the corresponding section of the e-form to insert the abridged CV(s) prepared as requested.

  • If applicable, a mandatory letter from the university including the information described in Section 3.1 must be provided for each member of the team with one of the following research statuses:

o   retired researcher;

o   university researcher who receives a salary as a contracted professor (non-tenure track position) in a university recognized by the FRQ to manage funding;

o   clinical university researcher who receives a salary as a contracted professor (non-tenure track position) in a university recognized by the FRQ to manage funding.

This letter must be attached in PDF format in the “Other documents” section of the e-form. If needed, a single PDF document can include several university letters.

5. APPLICATION PROCESS

Only those applicants whose pre-application receive a favorable review from the relevance committee will be invited to apply. Recommended applicants will receive an e-mail inviting them to complete and submit an electronic application form along with the required supporting documents.

Any application that does not contain sufficient information to establish its eligibility or to evaluate its scientific quality will be declared ineligible by the FRQ.

Only forms completed and transmitted electronically will be accepted. The pre-application e-form submission to the FRQ must be done by the managing and employing institution of the principal investigator before the deadline shown in section 7.

5.1 E-forms

Teams invited by the FRQ to submit an application following the relevance review of their pre-application must complete the e-form that will be made available in the e-portfolio (Société culture platform) of the principal investigator who submitted the pre-application.

All team members, including those already identified in the pre-application form, must be identified in the application form and meet one of the statuses described in Section 3.2. Only forms completed and transmitted electronically will be accepted.

5.2 Documents to be included

The principal investigator is asked to submit the following documents:

  • A three-page project description addressing the program objectives (section 2) and the evaluation criteria (see 6.1). The project description must also include the following:

o   a paragraph describing the co-construction process that led the team to submit a pre-application;

o   a paragraph describing the approach that will lead to the accomplishment of the project and each member’s contribution to this process.

  • An abridged CV for each team member must provide in PDF format (maximum 2 pages) summarizing the following in relation to the project. The abridged CVs must respect the FRQ abridged CV presentation rules (available here) and summarize, in the order listed:

1.   research sector representing your expertise to the proposed research project:

§  Natural sciences and engineering (FRQNT);

§  Health (FRQS);

§  Social and human sciences or arts and letters (FRQSC).

2.   academic background (degrees) and work experience;

3.   professional activities and contributions;

4.   relevant expertise and contributions pertaining to the application submitted to the FRQ.

Depending on the person’s role in the research team (principal investigator, co-director or co-investigator), please refer to the corresponding section of the e-form to insert the abridged CV(s) prepared as requested.

  • One page of budgetary justifications.
  • Where applicable, an ethical justification of up to one page for the use of human subjects, human biological materials or animals.
  •  If applicable, a letter from the university including the information described in Section 3.1 must be provided for each member of the team with one of the following research statuses:

o   retired researcher;

o   university researcher who receives a salary as a contracted professor (non-tenure track position) in a university recognized by the FRQ to manage funding;

o   clinical university researcher who receives a salary as a contracted professor (non-tenure track position) in a university recognized by the FRQ to manage funding.

This letter must be attached in PDF format to the “Other document” section of the form. If necessary, a single PDF file should include several letters from establishments.

5.3. Digital document to upload to the FRQ secure document sharing directory

  • ·A digital accompanying document of maximum 300 MB describing the project or its leaders. The choice of content is left up to the applicants but its duration must not exceed 3 minutes (180 seconds). The following formats are accepted:

o   a video or audio recording;

o   an animated presentation (e.g. PowerPoint, Prezi, etc.) with a maximum of 10 slides.

This document must be identified as follows: APPLICANT’S NAME-APPLICATION NUMBER. It must be sent to the FRQ secure document sharing directory at the following web address: link to the secure document sharing directory.

PLEASE NOTE: Applicants are invited to submit their accompanying document only once, in its final version. In the event of a double transmission resulting from a handling error, the most recent version will be considered for evaluation.

5.4. Frequency of the competition

The competition is offered every year.

6. EVALUATION OF APPLICATIONS

6.1 Evaluation criteria

In line with the program objectives, applications are evaluated according to three main criteria:

Level of intersectoral integration (35 points)

In concrete terms, intersectoral networking in research – which cannot be reduced to a merely collaborative approach – takes shape through:

  • the joint design and development, within the project, of research problems that engage research questions or topics common to or shared by representatives of the different sectors;
  • the development of an innovative methodology, adapted to each research problem and integrating approaches from each sector represented within the project;
  • team composition: the project must be headed by researchers from at least two sectors of FRQ (FRQNT, FRQS et FRQSC).

Potential for disruptive innovation (45 points)

By “disruptive innovation”, the FRQ mean significantly challenging the foundations, knowledge and practices that govern a field of research, or the approaches and methods that commonly underpin the study of a research topic. A project’s potential for disruptive innovation lies in its capacity, thanks to its intersectoral focus, to go beyond the boundaries of what is known, to break with its inherited frameworks and standards in order to produce radically new knowledge of a theoretical, epistemological, methodological, aesthetic or technological nature that will transform the research field. The applicants must demonstrate that the anticipated breakthroughs of the project have a real potential for disruption.

Scope of the anticipated impacts (20 points)

For the purposes of this program, the notion of “impacts” is understood to mean “deliverables”, in the broadest sense of the term. The potential impacts under this program, which must be of benefit to Québec society, can be scientific, social, economic, technological, cultural, or aesthetic in nature.

In all cases, the impacts of the project, as envisaged, must be considerable in the event of success.

Finally, the budget estimates are analyzed by the committee, which verifies their consistency with the submitted project.

6.2 Application evaluation process

As agreed to between the FRQ and FRN, the FRQ acts as lead-agency in this call and the application evaluation process is similar to the evaluation process of the annualised FRQ AUDACE program. Applications will be in competition to the once submitted to the annual FRQ AUDACE program. The FRQ will also manage of these processes all along the competition.

As indicated in Section 4 of the CGR, the FRQ receive funding applications, check their eligibility and submit them for scientific evaluation by a committee whose members are recognized for their skills, expertise and achievements relating to the program objectives and the applications submitted. Nonetheless, as the committee members for this type of program come from a variety of different backgrounds, applicants are encouraged, in the documents submitted for evaluation, to present their project in such a way as to be easily understandable in an intersectoral context.

The project evaluation process takes place in two phases:

  • phase 1: analysis by the scientific committee of the submitted application and accompanying document;
  • phase 2: interview with the leaders of the projects selected in Phase 1 for a presentation before the scientific committee.

The conditions governing funding decisions are specified in Section 4.5 of the CGR.

7. IMPORTANT DATES AND ANNOUNCEMENT OF THE RESULTS

  • July 7, 2022: Launch of the call for projects. The AUDACE program rules and pre-application-form are made available online;
  • August 10, 2022, at 9:30 AM: Information webinar; registration is compulsory. Click here to register (the webinar will be recorded and available in the toolbox of the program webpage).
  • September 8, 2022, at 4 PM: Deadline for submission of pre-application by the managing and employing institution of the principal investigator (PI) to the FRQ;
  • November 3, 2022: Teams shortlisted by the pre-application relevancy review are invited to apply. The application e-form is made available online;
  • December 8, 2022, at 4 PM: Deadline for submission of applications by the managing and employing institution of the PI to the FRQ;
  • End of February 2023: announcement to the teams preselected by the international scientific committee of their invitation to an interview in March;
  • March 2023: Interviews with the leaders of the projects selected in Phase 1 of the evaluation (individual evaluations) for presentation before the international committee;
  • End of April 2023: Announcement of the results.

For the conditions regarding the announcement of funding, refer to Section 5 of the CGR.

8. DESCRIPTION AND NATURE OF THE FUNDING

The funding consists of a grant of up to $100,000 over a period of 12 months. In the documents submitted for evaluation, the use of the funding amount may be spread over 24 months.

In accordance with the program objectives, the grant must be used to cover expenses directly related to the implementation of the project. All budget items listed in the CGR are eligible (refer to Section 8 of the CGR).

indirect costs equivalent to 27% of the grant amount will be paid in addition to the research grant, to a maximum of $27,000.

9. FOLLOW-UP AND ACCOUNTABILITY

In accordance with the CGR, the holder of a grant obtained under this program is required to submit a final report, the format of which will be communicated in due course to the project leader who submitted the application.

In addition, in the interest of promoting the impacts of the projects funded under this program, teams must contribute, on invitation, to events such as forums, conferences and follow-up or transfer activities organized by the FRQ. The FRQ also encourage funding recipients to carry out knowledge mobilization activities (transfer, sharing, valorization, dissemination, etc.) for practice settings and the general public, whenever such activities are relevant in the context of their research.

10. IMMEDIATE FREE ACCESS FOR PUBLICATIONS ISSUED FROM THIS GRANT

Peer-reviewed publications resulting from the research made possible by this grant must be released in immediate open access (without embargo), under an open license, in accordance with the Open access policy for the dissemination of research (revised in 2022).

11. EFFECTIVE DATE

These rules apply to the 2023-2024 fiscal year.