Competition year : 
2022-2023

Deadline (pre-request) : 
September 15th, 2022 at 16:00 (EST)

Deadline (application) : 
November 10th, 2022 at 16:00 (EST)

Announcement of results : 
February 2023

Amount : 
Startup Phase: $15,000 for one year; Action Phase: $30,000 for 1 year

Duration : 
1 year for the Startup Phase and 1 year for the Action Phase (realization of the project)

If you are a citizen and would like to apply to the ENGAGE program, complete this formulary to ask your Question or click here for more information about the program.

If you are a researcher and would like to access the application form, go to your FRQnet electronic portfolio and select the Nature et technologies section (managing agency). The form is available under “Available competitions : Research grants”.

NOTE

This program refers to the Common General Rules (CGR), which apply to all FRQ programs. However, some specific conditions apply to the ENGAGE Program. These are indicated in this document 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 ENGAGE participatory science program is back. The Fonds de recherche du Québec (FRQ) are once again offering a competition that places citizens unfamiliar with the research community at the heart of the scientific process and encourages Québec researchers to develop innovative participatory science practices.

For the purposes of the ENGAGE Program, the FRQ use the term scientific process to refer to all the steps aimed at producing new knowledge about a research problem, following a procedure based on the principles of neutrality and rigor and recognized by the scientific community.

The FRQ use the term participatory science to refer to activities that actively involve citizens in a scientific endeavor that generates new knowledge or a new understanding of the scientific process. Participatory science is carried out in the spirit of the 10 principles of citizen science defined by the European Citizen Science Association. The scientific knowledge generated can take the form of articles published in scientific journals or contributions to science conferences, but can also take the form of grey literature (reports, contribution to information sessions, etc.).

The ENGAGE Program consists of 2 phases:

  1. Startup Phase (1 year): $15,000
  2. Action Phase (1 year): $30,000

The Startup Phase allows citizens to propose a scientific question (hereafter referred to as the Question) that they would like to contribute to answering as part of a participatory science project. The citizen completes a short form to submit his or her question click here and, in a Duo with a researcher, learns about the scientific method and reviews the available knowledge on the topic. The FRQ provide resources to help citizens develop their Question and contact researchers for the purpose of forming a Duo. For the selected Duos, the Startup Phase focuses on the development of a participatory science process based on the citizen’s Question and the recognition of the importance of exposure to research within Québec society.

After presentation of a status report on the Startup Phase, if the project is proceeding well, Duos can begin the Action Phase to officially start their participatory science  project and implement their Plan (see Section 8) to increase scientific knowledge in the spirit of the 10 principles defined by the European Citizen Science Association.

These program rules present the Startup Phase and the transition of Duos to the Action Phase.

2. OBJECTIVES

ENGAGE is a science culture initiative with the following specific objectives:

  • To actively involve citizens in a scientific process based on a question that interests them;
  • To support the development of new participatory science practices in Québec;
  • To promote the democratization of scientific knowledge within Québec society.

This program is particularly aimed at citizens who have never participated in a research project. It will allow them to familiarize themselves with, or even appropriate, the scientific method, under conditions conducive to enhanced learning.

3. ELIGIBILITY

Teams eligible for the program are composed of two individuals who form a Duo, as follows:

  • A citizen AND
  •  A researcher

A person can only be a member of one Duo. However, a Duo member can act as a collaborator on other projects submitted to the ENGAGE program.

Note that a collaborator is a person declared by the Duo to bring specific expertise to the submitted Plan. A collaborator does not provide a CV and cannot be delegated to manage a portion of the funds.

3.1. Eligibility of the citizen

Under the ENGAGE program, to be eligible, a citizen must submit a Question to the program by completing a short online survey[MJA1]  and meet each of the following criteria:

  1. Be of legal age at the time of submitting his or her Question to the FRQ;
  2. Be (1) a Canadian citizen OR (2) a permanent resident of Canada;
  3. Reside in Québec;
  4. Not be enrolled in an undergraduate, graduate or postgraduate university program or have a doctoral degree;
  5. Not have any of research statuses 1, 2, 3, 4a or 4b as defined in the CGR;
  6. Not have previously had research status 4c, 4d or 4e as defined in the CGR;
  7. 7- Not have been convicted of a fraudulent offence related to financial management.

3.2. Eligibility of the researcher

To be eligible, a researcher wishing to be part of a Duo must have one of the following statuses as defined in the CGR:

  • Status 1: University researcher;
  • Status 2: Clinical university researcher;
  • Status 3: College researcher.

3.3 Other eligibility requirements

The Duo may choose a managing organization to manage part of the funding on behalf of the citizen (optional). This organization must work in areas relevant to the topic of the Question and Plan. The managing organization may be:

  • A non-profit organization (NPO) (OBNL) registered with the Registraire des entreprises du Québec for more than 2 years (after January 1, 2020);
  • A museum institution accredited by the Government of Québec (IMAGQ) for more than 2 years (after January 1, 2020).

There may or may not be an employment relationship between the citizen and this organization. The choice of managing organization, if applicable, must be justified in the application. A managing organization that manages part of the funding must submit an annual financial report to the managing institution, signed by a chartered accountant.

The following are not eligible:

  • Companies listed in the register of companies not eligible for public contracts (RENA) as published by the Secrétariat du Conseil du trésor du gouvernement du Québec;
  • Political organizations, union organizations, religious associations, foundations whose mission is essentially to collect and redistribute funds.

The members of the Duo, the Plan, the managing institution and the managing organization, if applicable, must meet all eligibility requirements in effect at the time of submitting the funding application, and throughout the entire period covered by the funding.

4. APPLICATION

4.1 Steps leading to the submission of an application

Step 1: Express interest by submitting a Question

Eligible citizens (Section 3.1) who wish to participate in the program are invited to complete an online form to submit a Question, before the deadline of September 15, 2022 at 4 PM EST. An individual may submit only one Question under this competition. Before submitting their Question, citizens can use the resources provided by the FRQ.

Submitted Questions should relate to one or more research areas covered by the three Fonds de Recherche du Québec (Nature et technologies — NT ; Santé — S ; Société et culture — SC).

Step 2: Form a Duo and collaborate to develop a Plan

As a first step in forming Duos, the Questions submitted by citizens will be posted on the FRQ website and shared with the research community served by the FRQ, including researchers.

How to form a Duo

  •  Researchers can communicate directly with citizen whose questions are published on the FRQ website if the citizen chose to make their contact information public, or through the FRQ by writing to the program manager (see Section 11) if they did not.
  • Citizens can also share the link to their Question on the FRQ website directly with a researcher working on related topics. Researchers’ professional addresses are often listed on their institution’s web page.

Citizens and researchers who participate in the program are responsible for forming Duos and maintaining a healthy collaboration to achieve their goals.

How to write the Plan
Duo members get to know each other, exchange ideas, and jointly draft a Plan.

A Plan is a presentation of the Duo’s activities for developing a participatory science process over the course of 1 year for the Startup Phase and a project outline for the Action Phase (see Section 1 for more details). It refers to the citizen’s Question as the starting point for the project. The Plan also includes the following points:

  • The planned synthesis of available knowledge;
  • The learning objectives for the citizen with regard to the scientific method and the means used to achieve them;
  • Planned actions to adapt and democratize the resulting methodological practices and/or scientific knowledge;
  • The resources that will be used and a detailed budget.

The Plan can be written in French or in English. However, the title and summary to be used for public dissemination must be provided in French.

The following are not eligible:

  • A Plan that is part of a private research initiative;
  • A Plan that is part of an entrepreneurial research initiative.

Important note: All deliverables produced during the Startup and Action Phases (for example, the knowledge synthesis and scientific report) must be made public no later than 6 months after the end of each phase of the project.

Step 3: Submit an application

The Duo researcher is responsible for completing the form, attaching the required documents and submitting the application through the FRQnet electronic portfolio, Nature et technologies section (managing agency), before the deadline of November 10, 2022 at 4 PM EST.

4.2 Submitting the application

Applicants are advised to prepare their application well in advance to ensure that it is submitted before the deadline, given the large number of applications and requests received by the Fonds de recherche du Québec at the end of the competition.

The researcher undertakes to prepare the application jointly with the citizen, although he or she is responsible for completing the form, attaching the required documents and submitting the application

DOCUMENTS TO BE SUBMITTED ELECTRONICALLY

1.  The online form, available in the FRQnet electronic portfolio, which includes a text of a maximum of 3 pages corresponding to the Plan. The Plan is directly and explicitly linked to the Question proposed by the citizen and should include the following points:

  •  The planned synthesis of available knowledge;
  •  The learning objectives for the citizen with regard to the scientific method and the means used to achieve them;
  •  Planned actions to adapt and democratize the resulting methodological practices and/or scientific knowledge;
  • The resources that will be used;
  • The realizations envisaged for the Action Phase.

Other documents to attach in the electronic form:

2.  An abridged CV of a maximum of 2 pages for the citizen using the following presentation rules:

  • Education and/or employment:

o   Academic and/or professional training, diploma(s) obtained or in progress with start and end dates for each;

o   Work experience: list the employer, the position held, and start and end dates.

  • Professional and leadership experience;
  • Expertise and contributions relevant to the proposal submitted to the FRQ.

3.  An abridged CV of a maximum of 2 pages for the researcher using the following presentation rules:

  • Research sector that best represents your expertise in the proposed research project:

o   Natural sciences and engineering (FRQNT);

o   Health (FRQS);

o   Social sciences and humanities, arts and letters (FRQSC)

  • Academic training (diplomas) and work experience;
  • Professional and leadership experience;
  • Expertise and contributions relevant to the proposal submitted to the FRQ.

4.  A detailed budget and a maximum of 1 page of budget justifications (see eligible expense categories in Section 7).

5.  For citizens, one proof of Canadian citizenship OR one proof of Canadian Permanent Resident status, whichever is applicable. The following documents are accepted:

  • Valid Canadian passport;
  • Canadian citizenship certificate;
  • Citizenship card;
  • Birth certificate from a Canadian province or territory;
  • Valid permanent resident card.

6.  For the citizen, one proof of residence in Québec. The following documents are accepted:

  • Valid RAMQ card;
  •  Valid Québec driver’s license.

The following may also be attached to the application, if applicable:

7.  A letter of commitment from the managing organization (optional, see Section 3.3) and justification of the choice of managing organization.

Important notes related to this program:

  • Once the Plan has been submitted, the composition of the Duo cannot be changed for the duration of the project (both phases), except in the case of force majeure, medical leave, or parental leave. Any change of situation must be reported, with official supporting documents, as early as possible to the program manager (see Section 11).
  • Citizens and Duos may request the withdrawal of their Question or their Plan at any time by contacting the program manager (see Section 11).

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.
  • The approval of the managing institution is required before the application can be forwarded to the FRQ. Please note that the deadlines fixed by your institution for approval are usually earlier than those specified in the program rules. It is therefore suggested that you contact the appropriate people at your institution to find out the internal deadlines as soon as you start preparing your application.
  • Required documents that are missing or non-compliant will not be requested and will render the application ineligible.
  • Unrequested documents submitted with the application or pages in excess of the number permitted will be removed from the application before evaluation.
  • Documents received after the competition deadline will not be considered. Once submitted, applications cannot be updated.

5. ÉVALUATION

5.1 Evaluation committee

The FRQ submit eligible Plans for evaluation by a committee whose members are recognized for their skills, expertise and achievements related to the program objectives and the submitted Plans.

5.2 Evaluation criteria

The evaluation criteria are as follows:

1- Quality and realism of the Plan (30 points):

  • Synthesis of available knowledge and identification of knowledge and data gaps related to the Question;
  • Development of the Question and realism of the Plan;
  • Presentation of the anticipated scientific process (see Step 2 in Section 4);
  • Clarity, realism and sharing of each stage; quality of the budget.

2- Potential for learning the scientific method (40 points):

  • Involvement of the citizen in the development of the Plan and expected benefits for the citizen in terms of learning the scientific method;
  • Planned scientific support and guidance of the citizen;
  • Number and frequency of planned exchanges between the members of the Duo;
  • Profile of the citizen (level of familiarity with research and the scientific method).

3- Potential for innovation in participatory science practices (30 points):

  • Adaptation of the researcher’s methodological practices;
  • Planned approach for the democratization of scientific knowledge to the general public;
  • Diversity of people affected or reached by the Plan;
  • Potential for developing the Plan into a participatory science project.

Duo members and members of the evaluation committees may not communicate in any way during the ongoing evaluation process related to this program.

6. ANNOUNCEMENT OF RESULTS

The decisions of the evaluation committees are forwarded to Duo members and to the researcher’s managing institution and the citizen’s managing organization, if applicable. Funding awards will be announced in February 2023.

The amount of funding may be modified at any time without prior notice, in accordance with the funds made available for this program.

7. DESCRIPTION AND NATURE OF FUNDING

The maximum funding awarded to a Duo to carry out the Startup Phase is $15,000 for one year. For Duos who present a satisfactory status report on the Startup Phase and demonstrate that the project is proceeding well, the maximum funding awarded for the Action Phase is $30,000 for the second year.  In addition, indirect costs of research (FIR) of 27% are paid to the managing institution of researchers with status 1, 2 and 3 (as defined in the CGR), applicable to the specific portion of funding managed by their institution.

In accordance with the program’s objectives, the grant must be used to finance expenses that are directly related to the realization of the proposed Plan. Eligible expenses are as follows:

  • Stipend for Duo citizen members (maximum daily rate of $250/day, up to a maximum of $7,500 for 1 year);
  • Salary and benefits for personnel directly involved in the project in accordance with the current policies of the managing institution or managing organization, if applicable;
  • Awards, award supplements, and salary support for college, undergraduate and graduate students and postdoctoral fellows;
  • Fees for professional artists and consultants in accordance with the current policies of the managing institution or managing organization, if applicable;
  • Travel and subsistence costs, including the costs of participation in conferences and events for the general public;
  • Purchase or rental of material and supplies directly related to the Plan;
  • Staff training and development costs for the purpose of participating in the Plan, excluding tuition fees;
  • Translation, reproduction and digital platform costs;
  • Telecommunication, computers, tablets, modems, new technologies, specialized software and other hardware required for the Plan that is not normally provided by the managing institution or organization, if applicable, subject to appropriate justification;
  • Data banks (access or purchase).

Other eligible expenses:

  • A portion of the funding provided for a researcher with status 3 under the CGR who has no teaching duties may be used for salary support. A status 3 researcher with teaching duties may request a supplement (release from teaching duties – colleges) for an additional amount of up to $5,000 for 1 year. In such a case, this amount must be justified in the Plan. The amount will then be paid directly to the college institution to cover the portion of the researcher’s salary related to a release from teaching duties.
  • A portion of the funding provided for a researcher with status 3 under the CGR who is affiliated with a college centre for technology transfer (CCTT) and has no teaching duties may be used for salary support.
  • Management fee for the managing organization that manages a portion of the funding on behalf of the citizen, if applicable: up to 15% of the amount managed by the organization. These funds will be paid directly to the managing organization.

The following expenses are not eligible:

  • Remuneration of researchers with status 1 or 2 under the CGR

Important notes:

  • The funding awarded is not renewable.
  • Management of all or part of the grant funds awarded by the FRQ must be entrusted to the managing institution of the Duo researcher (mandatory). A portion of the funds awarded by the FRQ may be entrusted to a managing organization (optional). Neither the citizen nor the researcher may manage any portion of the FRQ funding in a personal capacity. If there is no managing organization, the researcher’s managing institution shall manage the entire grant amount.
  • Only one managing institution and one managing organization are allowed per project and must remain the same for the Startup and Action Phases.
  • Managing institutions and organizations must administer the grant funds as the property of others. The FRQ are committed to ensuring that no expenditures be made for personal or family gain or for purposes that are not strictly and directly related to the activities set out in the Plan. Rigorous and sound administration of public funds is required.

8. FOLLOW-UP AND FINANCIAL REPORTING

Duos are expected to take part in a follow-up meeting organized by the FRQ three to six months after the beginning of the Startup Phase. Eight to ten months after the beginning of the Startup Phase, Duos will be asked to jointly prepare and present their status report on the implementation and advancement of the project in order to transition to the Action Phase.  At the end of both phases, Duos must jointly prepare and submit a final report. The format of the status report and the final report will be communicated in due course.

The managing institution must submit an annual financial report, in collaboration with the managing organization where applicable, to the FRQ. This report must be sent to the FRQ no later than six months after the end of the FRQ fiscal year of March 31.

9. OTHER CONSIDERATIONS

9.1 Ethical and responsible conduct of projects

Duos, managing institutions and managing organizations, if applicable, undertake to conduct and administer the Plan in an ethical and responsible manner, in the spirit of the policy for the responsible conduct of research.

9.2 Requirements relating to participatory science

Notwithstanding any intellectual property arrangements made, both members of the Duo, the managing institution and the managing organization (if applicable) must, at a minimum, be able to use the knowledge acquired for research and teaching purposes.

10. IMPORTANT DATES

  • Submission of Question: before September 15, 2022 at 4 PM (EST).
  • Creation of Duos: from the time the Question is online until the Plan submission deadline.
  • Submission of Plans: November 10, 2022 at 4 PM (EST).
  • Announcement of results: February 2023.

11. CONTACT PERSON FOR THIS PROGRAM

Josée Ann Maurais

Program manager

Directorate of Societal challenges and Intersectoral Networks (DSMI)

514-873-2114, poste : 4225

joseeann.maurais@frq.gouv.qc.ca