Competition year : 
2022-2023

Deadline (pre-request) : 
September 22nd, 2022 at 16:00 (EST)

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

Announcement of results : 
December 2022

Amount : 
$12 000

Duration : 
4 to 6 months

Partnership

Advisory Committee on Climate Change

IMPORTANT NOTE: The electronic form is available in the FRQ electronic Portfolio. You have a single FRQnet Portfolio account for the three Fonds de recherche du Québec (FRQ). To access the form, you must select the Société et culture section (FRQSC is the managing agency). The form is available under “Available competitions”, Program: “Training and internship awards”.

NOTE: This competition refers to the Common General Rules (CGR), which apply to all Fonds de recherche du Québec programs. Any specific conditions that apply to this program are set out below and prevail over the CGR.

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

1. BACKGROUND

The Advisory Committee on Climate Change (hereafter “the Committee”) and the Fonds de recherche du Québec (FRQ) have joined forces to launch a new science advice-related funding program for climate change research intended for Québec students.

The Committee is a standing independent body (web page) whose mission is to advise the Minister of the Environment and the Fight against Climate Change on orientations, programs, policies and strategies to tackle climate change. The Committee publishes the opinions it produces for the Minister. In carrying out its mandate, the Committee takes into account the evolution of scientific and technological knowledge as well as scientific consensuses. When formulating and disseminating its opinions, the Committee also relies on consultation and collaboration processes involving a plurality of civil society actors.

With this scholarship program, the Committee and the FRQ wish to offer $12,000 scholarships to doctoral students in all disciplines and provide an opportunity to participate in the future of climate action in Québec. The students selected under this program will use their research skills to produce new scientific knowledge to support the Committee’s science advice activities. This knowledge will be aimed at applying scientific findings on climate change to inform public policy and, as such, is likely to have significant societal benefits.

The program is intended for anyone enrolled in a doctoral research program at a Québec university. The scholarship lasts from four to six months and is awarded concurrently with the applicant’s research program. This scholarship can be combined with other scholarships, as the amount awarded and its duration are equivalent to those of a scholarship supplement. In addition, the awarding of the scholarship is conditional on the completion of a project involving the writing and submission of a final deliverable which will be analysed by the Committee and may then, at its discretion, be published on its web page.

2. PROGRAM OBJECTIVES

Developed in partnership by the Committee and the FRQ, the program’s objective is to award climate change research scholarships in order to:

  • Support studies directly related to the work of the Committee and diversify the scientific knowledge available, thereby contributing to the fulfilment of its mandate to advise the Minister of the Environment and the Fight against Climate Change;
  • Develop students’ skills in the practice of applied research in order to help meet the major challenges facing society;
  • Foster the emergence of a new generation of professionals who are well-versed in the complex challenges of the fight against climate change, particularly with regard to public policy;
  • Familiarize the student community with the fields of science advice and public administration;
  • Make accessible to the public, at the discretion of the Committee and on the Committee’s webpage, studies funded by the scholarships with a view to supporting climate change advocacy.

3. EXPECTATIONS AND SUPPORT

The FRQ and the Committee fund research projects that lead to the production of deliverables whose final purpose is the formulation of recommendations, potential solutions or the development of public initiatives based on science and best practices. In their project, applicants propose a final deliverable that will be written in French and whose objective is to contribute to the application, in the Québec context, of the knowledge resulting from the proposed research project related to the fight against climate change.

The final deliverable can take, without being limited to, one of the following forms:

  • A 30-page report containing the problem, perspective, methodology, results and recommendations of the research project;
  • A systematic review of the literature and/or of best practices in a specific field;
  • A web page or other public communication tool;
  • A meta-analysis synthesizing the results of all studies in a specific field;
  • A survey.

Successful candidates will carry out their project under the supervision of their thesis director. At the same time, the Committee will provide follow-up to maximize the relevance of the work and ensure that the deliverables provided to the Committee contribute to the fulfilment of its mandate. This follow-up will also allow the selected applicants to gain hands-on experience of climate action from a public policy perspective. For this reason, applicants must have a satisfactory level of conversational French.

By accepting the award, the scholarship holder grants to the parties a non-exclusive and non-transferable license on the final deliverable. This licence allows the recipient to reproduce, adapt, translate, communicate to the public by any means, represent or execute in public and to carry out further research, based on the results contained therein, for non-commercial purposes and in compliance with copyright law. This licence is granted without territorial or time limits. This licence includes the right to grant sub-licences under the same conditions to other ministries and agencies of the Government of Québec.

4. RESEARCH THEMES

Successful projects may cover a number of disciplinary fields relevant to the fight against climate change, including reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, adaptation to the impacts of climate change, greenhouse gas sequestration, and mobilization for climate action. The objective is to mobilize multiple perspectives on complex climate change issues in ways that complement the work of the Committee. The Committee hopes that these projects will, among other things, build bridges with civil society groups and traditional knowledge, and that they will be part of a just transition.

For this first edition in 2022-2023, the priority themes are:

  • The contribution of the finance sector to the climate transition;
  • Eco-taxation applied to the fight against climate change;
  • The development of adaptation strategies in Quebec;
  • The development of nature-based solutions;
  • The contribution of Quebec’s agricultural sector to the fight against climate change;
  • The levers of Québec action in climate change enabling mitigation actions in all emission sectors;
  • Just transition and equity in the fight against climate change in Quebec;
  • Assessment and outlook for Quebec’s climate action;
  • The promotion of the role of cities in climate action;
  • Québec’s climate action from an international perspective.

5. ELIGIBILITY

The following are eligible for this competition:

  • Students enrolled in a doctoral program at a Québec university for at least 2 full-time semesters (or equivalent) of the 3 semesters prior to the competition closing date. The current semester is not included in the calculation.

To be eligible, students must also have the support of their research director. The research supervisor must give consent via his or her FRQnet portal and complete the template available in the toolbox at the bottom of the program web page in order to certify that:

  • The proposed project integrates well with the applicant’s workload and that it can realistically be completed in 4 to 6 months (e.g., compatible with his/her other tasks, complementary to his/her thesis work);
  • The student was enrolled at a Québec university for at least 2 full-time semesters (or equivalent) of the 3 semesters prior to the competition closing date. The current semester is not included in the calculation.

6. REQUIRED DOCUMENTS

1) The electronic form, to be completed directly in the applicant’s FRQSC electronic Portfolio (Société et culture is the managing agency for this program), which includes the following sections:

  • Project summary (maximum 500 words);
  • Project description (maximum 3 pages) and bibliography (maximum 1 page) with the following elements:
    • Research problem, perspective, methodology and objectives;
    • Relationship of the research project to the chosen theme;
    • Nature and contents of the final deliverable and its contribution to the Committee’s mandate and Québec climate policy;
    • Implementation plan with timeline.
  • Academic background: study programs and training environments;
  • Integrated presentation of the applicant’s background explaining why the chosen theme and the scholarship program are consistent with the applicant’s academic and personal background (maximum 1 page);
  • Relevant experience and scientific achievements;
  • Recognitions: scholarships, awards, etc.

2) Official transcripts

A copy of all transcripts is required, for all university studies pursued by the applicant, whether completed or not. This includes transcripts from exchange programs or courses (equivalencies), where applicable.

Transcripts must be up-to-date and include all completed semesters and grading scales (back of transcript).

Transcripts sent to the Fonds must be official. What makes a transcript official may differ from one academic institution to another. Nonetheless, to be deemed official by the Fonds, each transcript must:

  • be issued by the institution in question; and
  • include elements indicating that it is an official transcript for that academic institution. This may be the seal or stamp of the issuing institution AND/OR the registrar’s signature AND/OR the notation “Official Transcript”, etc.

See the Important Notes at the end of the section for more details.

3) Where applicable, the following documents must be included in the “Other documents” section of the form.

  • Submitted, in press and accepted articles: All submitted articles must be accompanied by a letter of acknowledgement from the publisher. Articles accepted for publication or in press must be accompanied by a notification from the publisher. The applicant must be identified by name, or the article in question will not be considered in the application evaluation.
  • Medical certificate for eligibility period exception: Applicants seeking eligibility period exceptions must provide a medical certificate attesting to the duration of the sick leave or parental leave or the disability to justify the delay or interruption of studies. A certificate from the university may replace the medical certificate in the case of parental leave.

Important notes related to official transcripts

Transcripts sent to the Fonds must be official.

  • It is the applicant’s responsibility to check with the relevant educational institutions to determine the processing time for obtaining official transcripts.
  • THE PRESENCE OF A WATERMARK will not render a transcript unofficial, as long as it meets the requirements specified above.
  • A transcript delivered in a sealed envelope by the registrar’s office can be opened and its contents scanned. Opening the envelope to scan the transcript will not render it unofficial for the purposes of the Fonds.
  • For a current program of study, the transcript must include the last semester completed before the competition deadline, including the summer session.
  • In the case of transcripts from institutions outside North America, a document explaining the grading system used must be included in the “Other documents” section of the form. This letter must clearly explain the institution’s grading system, in order to allow a proper understanding of the transcripts.
  • If the university where the applicant’s studies took place does not provide a transcript, the applicant must attach a letter of explanation from this institution (registrar’s office or equivalent administrative body) stating the reasons for the missing transcripts.
    • If such a letter from the institution is not available, a letter of explanation written by the applicant, justifying the absence of a transcript and endorsed by the department director, must be attached to the application.

Important notes related to submitting applications:

  • The required forms and documents must be submitted through the FRQnet electronic Portfolio. Documents sent by email or by post will not be accepted.
  • Required documents that are missing or non-compliant will not be requested and will render the application ineligible.
  • Unrequested documents submitted with the pre-application or application will be removed before evaluation.
  • Documents received after the competition deadline will not be considered. Once submitted, applications cannot be updated.
  • Any official document submitted in a language other than French or English must be accompanied by a professional translation certified as a true copy of the original document. Any other document submitted in a language other than French or English must include a basic translation.

7. DURATION OF THE SCHOLARSHIP

The scholarship duration is 4 to 6 months and must start on the date indicated in the award letter. The scholarship start and end dates may be changed subject to approval by the FRQ of a documented change request, approved by the Committee and sent by email to the FRQ program manager. The proposed change must meet all eligibility requirements and may not change the nature of the scholarship as initially evaluated by the FRQ.

8. SCHOLARSHIP AMOUNT AND PAYMENTS

The scholarship has a value of $12,000. This scholarship may be held concurrently with other funding, as its amount and duration are equivalent to a scholarship supplement. A first payment of $6,000 is made at the start of the period referred to in the scholarship announcement and a second payment of $6,000 is made after approval of the final deliverable by the Committee.

9. APPLICATION EVALUATION PROCESS AND CRITERIA

Applications are evaluated in two phases. The first is carried out on pre-applications (deadline: September 22, 2022 at 4 PM (EST)). Candidates selected in phase 1 will be invited to submit an application for phase 2, the content of which will be identical to that of the pre-application (deadline: November 8th at 4 PM (EST)).

Phase 1: Relevance assessment of all eligible applications by a panel composed of members of the Advisory Committee on Climate Change, or any other person appointed by the Committee, to select the projects that meet its needs and address the competition themes.

Relevance assessment criteria

Quality of the academic record: 35%

  • Relevance of the academic background in relation to this scholarship program and the chosen theme;
  • Level of excellence of the applicant’s academic background in terms of grades, scholarships and awards.

Project relevance: 50%

  • Project’s potential to contribute to the Committee’s objectives;
  • Alignment with the themes of the competition;
  • Integrated knowledge of the climate issue addressed in the project in its various dimensions;
  • Capacity to translate the expected research results into concrete proposals, solutions, recommendations or public initiatives.

Potential feasibility of the project and of the production of the deliverable by the applicant: 15%

  • Realistic nature of the proposed timeline;
  • Knowledge and interest in the issues and challenges related to public decision-making and public policy implementation.

Phase 2: Scientific evaluation of a limited number of applications selected during the relevance assessment by an intersectoral panel composed of individuals known for their climate change expertise and selected according to the rules in force at the FRQ and in light of the program’s evaluation criteria.

Scientific evaluation criteria

Quality of the academic record: 35%

  • Research ability (scientific experience and achievements);
  • Level of excellence of the applicant’s academic background in terms of grades, scholarships and awards.

Scientific quality of the project: 50%

  • Clarity and coherence of the perspective, research problem, methodology and objectives;
  • Scientific quality and rigour of the proposed deliverable.

Potential feasibility of the project and the production of the deliverable in conjunction with the completion of the applicant’s degree: 15%

  • Potential for integration of the scholarship project into the student’s academic and personal background;
  • Realistic nature of the proposed timeline.

To be recommended for funding, the application must: 1) include all required documents; 2) be deemed relevant to the competition themes; 3) obtain a minimum overall score of 70% in the scientific evaluation.

10. IMPORTANT DATES, ANNOUNCEMENT OF RESULTS AND EFFECTIVE DATE

August 10, 2022 : Launch of the competition

September 22, 2022, at 4 PM (EST): Deadline for preapplication

November 8th, 2022, at 4 PM (EST): Deadline for application

December 2022 : Announcement of results

For the conditions regarding the announcement of funding, refer to Section 5 of the CGR, with the exception of the date on which the results will be published, which is variable for this program.

These rules apply to the 2022-2023 fiscal year.

11. UNDERTAKINGS

All applications submitted to this program must comply with the requirements set out in the FRQnet portals and e-forms.

12. IMMEDIATE OPEN ACCESS FOR PUBLICATIONS RESULTING FROM THIS SCHOLARSHIP

Peer-reviewed publications resulting from the research made possible by this scholarship must be released as immediate open access (without embargo), under an open license, in accordance with the FRQ Open Access Policy (see version revised in 2022).

13. KNOWLEDGE MOBILIZATION

The FRQ and the Committee encourage funding recipients to lead and contribute to knowledge mobilization activities (transfer, sharing, development, outreach and dissemination) with practice settings and the public, whenever such activities are relevant in the context of their research. To learn more, please click here: Knowledge mobilization.

14. CONTACT PERSONS

For the FRQ:

Emiliano Scanu

Program Manager

Directorate of Societal Challenges and Intersectoral Networks

Office of the Chief Scientist

Phone: 418 643-8560 ext. 4269

Email: emiliano.scanu@frq.gouv.qc.ca

For the Advisory Committee on Climate Change:

Benoit Rigaud

Secretariat du Comité consultatif sur les changements climatiques

Ministère de l’Environnement et de la lutte contre les changements climatiques

Phone: 418 558-1607

Email: benoit.rigaud@environnement.gouv.qc.ca