Competition year : 
2024-2025

Deadline (pre-request) : 
December 15th, 2023 at 16:00 (EST)

Deadline (application) : 
February 29th, 2024 at 16:00 (EST)

Announcement of results : 
May 2024

Amount : 
Startup phase: $15,000 for one year; Action phase: $30,000 for 1 year; Sharing phase: up to $15,000 for 1 year

Duration : 
1 year for the Startup phase, 1 year for the Action phase (realization of the project), 1 year for the Sharing phase

IMPORTANT NOTES

If you are a citizen and would like more information, visit the ENGAGE citizen page. If you would like to take part in the program, you can submit your Question using a form until December 15, 2023.

Submitting a Citizen Question is equivalent to submitting a pre-application under this program.

If you are a researcher and would like to access the form (as of December 1, 2023) to submit an application on behalf of your Duo, go to your FRQnet ePortfolio. You must select the Nature et technologies section (managing agency), regardless of the research sector of the proposed project. The form is available under “Available competitions: Research grants”. You can consult the list of Citizen Questions published on the FRQ Question page to identify topics of mutual interest and form a Duo with a citizen.

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 program is back. The Fonds de recherche du Québec (FRQ) are once again offering a competition that places citizens who are unfamiliar with the research community at the heart of the scientific process and encourages Québec researchers to develop innovative citizen research and 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 consider citizen research to consist of research activities that actively involve citizens and that generate new knowledge or a better understanding through the contribution of experiential knowledge.

Bridging the gap between science and society

The ENGAGE program allows citizens who are unfamiliar with research to familiarize themselves with, or even appropriate, the scientific method. The question proposed by the citizen (hereinafter referred to as the Citizen Question) serves as a starting point for forming a Duo with a researcher around a topic of common interest. The Duo co-constructs a project plan and an implementation plan drawing on both citizen and academic knowledge and the exploration of new research perspectives.

New!

Noting the significant impacts of the projects funded to date and the great potential for knowledge mobilization by and for citizens, the FRQ are pleased to enhance the program with additional funding. Duos now have the opportunity, if they so choose, to undertake a third phase in which they share their experience, their findings and the new knowledge generated in connection with their Citizen Question.

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 citizen research and participatory science practices and help stimulate diverse research in Québec;
  • To promote the democratization of scientific knowledge within Québec society.

The ENGAGE Program consists of 3 phases (see Section 4 for details):

1 – Startup phase (1 year): $15,000

2 – Action phase (1 year): $30,000

3 – Sharing phase (1 year): $15,000

The Startup phase focuses on the development of a participatory science process around the Citizen Question. It is a familiarization phase for both parties, in which the citizen is introduced to the scientific method and the researcher learns about citizen knowledge and realities. This phase involves:

  • The integration of the citizen into the research team;
  • Co-construction of the proposed Plan with the citizen, with a view to its implementation;
  • Adaptation of research approaches and methodologies in line with the proposed Plan.

After presentation of a status report on the Startup phase (see Section 8), Duos can, if they wish, begin the Action phase. The main thrust of this phase is:

  • The implementation of the Plan with the aim of increasing scientific knowledge related to the Citizen Question.

After presentation of a status report on the Action phase (see Section 8), Duos can, if they wish, move on to the Sharing phase. This final phase provides support for:

  • Events, activities and initiatives for knowledge mobilization and exchange, particularly with the general public, in order to share their experiences, their findings and the new knowledge generated by their project.

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 the short online form and meet all of the following criteria:

  1. Be of legal age at the time of submitting their Question to the FRQ;
  2. Be a Canadian citizen OR 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 qualify for research statuses 1, 2, 3, 4a or 4b as defined in the CGR;
  6. Never have been granted research status 4c, 4d or 4e as defined in the CGR;
  7. Not work as highly qualified personnel in a research institution (e.g., research professional, lab technician);
  8. Never have been convicted of a fraudulent offence related to financial management.

Role

The FRQ define the citizen as someone who makes an individual contribution to the project. The citizen’s contribution is centred on their experiential knowledge, which gives them a key role in the project. Their skills and knowledge can be of various kinds, including professional, technical and practical. However, the citizen’s specific contribution to the project is above all personal, related to their life course. This specific contribution must not coincide with the citizen’s current or previous professional duties.

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 Citizen 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;
  • A museum institution accredited by the Government of Québec (IMAGQ) for more than 2 years.

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 PROCESS

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 a short online form to submit a Question, before the deadline of December 15, 2023 at 16:00 EST. An individual may submit only one Question under this competition. Before submitting their Question, citizens can use the resources provided and receive support from the FRQ.

Step 2: Form a Duo and collaborate to develop a Plan
To facilitate the formation of Duos, Citizen Questions are published on the FRQ website and shared with the research community served by the FRQ, including researchers.

How to form a Duo

  • Researchers can contact citizens whose Questions are published on the FRQ website through the program manager (see Section 11).
  • Citizens can contact researchers directly by sharing the link to their Question published on the FRQ website. Researchers’ professional addresses are often listed on their institution’s web page.

Citizens and researchers 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 draw up a Plan.

A Plan is a summary presentation of the Duo’s familiarization and project development activities for the Startup phase (Year 1) and a project outline for the Action phase (Year 2). Activities planned for the Sharing phase can also be mentioned (Year 3). The plan must refer to the Citizen Question as the starting point for the project. The Plan also includes the following:

  • 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, if applicable;
  • The resources that will be used;
  • Planned achievements for the Action phase, if applicable;
  • Planned achievements for the Sharing phase, if applicable.

With regard to the language of submitted forms and documents, please refer to Section 3.6 of the FRQ’s Common General Rules.

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;
  • A Plan that is part of a professional project for the citizen.

Step 3: Apply

The Duo researcher is responsible for completing the form, attaching the required documents and submitting the application through the FRQnet ePortfolio, selecting the Nature et technologies section (managing agency) regardless of the research sector of the proposed project. Applications must be submitted before the competition deadline.

4.2 Submitting an application

Applicants are advised to prepare their application well in advance to ensure that it is submitted before the deadline, taking into account time and accessibility constraints that may vary from one citizen to another.

The researcher undertakes to prepare the application jointly with the citizen, whenever possible, although the researcher is responsible for completing the form, attaching the required documents and submitting the application.

DOCUMENTS TO BE SUBMITTED ELECTRONICALLY

The online form, available in the FRQnet ePortfolio, including:

1. The Plan (maximum 3 pages), a text which is directly and explicitly linked to the Citizen Question 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;
  • Planned achievements for the Action phase, if applicable;
  • Planned achievements for the Sharing phase, if applicable.

Other documents to attach in the electronic form:

2.  A text (maximum 1 page) describing the formation of the Duo and the co-construction of the Plan. Describe the following:

  • How did the members of the Duo first connect: Direct contact? Through someone else?
  • How does the Citizen Question relate to the researcher’s research interests?
  • How was the Plan co-constructed?

3.  An abridged CV (maximum 2 pages) for the citizen, using the following presentation template, including:

  • Education and/or employment:
    • Academic and/or professional training, degree(s) obtained or in progress with start and end dates for each;
    • 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.

4.  An abridged CV (maximum 2 pages) for the researcher, using the following presentation template, including:

  • Research sector that best represents your expertise in the proposed research project:
    • Natural sciences and engineering (FRQNT);
    • Health (FRQS);
    • Social sciences and humanities, arts and letters (FRQSC)
  • Academic training (degrees) and work experience;
  • Professional and leadership experience;
  • Expertise and contributions relevant to the proposal submitted to the FRQ.

5.  A detailed budget for the Startup phase (Year 1) and a maximum of 2 pages of budget justifications. These justifications may include an anticipated summary budget for the Action phase, if applicable (see eligible expense categories in Section 7).

6.  For the citizen, 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 or citizenship card;
  • Birth certificate or birth record issued by the appropriate Canadian provincial or territorial government authority;
  • Valid permanent resident card;
  • Confirmation of permanent residence issued by the Canadian immigration authorities.

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

  • Valid RAMQ card;
  • Valid Québec driver’s license;
  • Recent invoice from an energy, telephone or cable company (three months or less before the competition deadline).

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

8.  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 application has been submitted, the composition of the Duo cannot be changed for the duration of the project (the three 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 may request the withdrawal of their Question at any time by contacting the program manager (see Section 11).
  • A detailed budget will be required for the Action phase (Year 2) and the Sharing phase (Year 3), if applicable, when transitioning from one phase to the next.
IMPORTANT NOTES RELATED TO SUBMITTING APPLICATIONS
  • Documents sent by email or by post will not be accepted.
  • The approval of the managing institution is required before the application can be submitted to the FRQ. Please note that the deadlines fixed by your institution for approval are usually earlier than those specified in the program rules.
  • 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. EVALUATION

5.1 Evaluation committee
The FRQ submit eligible applications for evaluation by a committee whose members are recognized for their skills, expertise and achievements related to the program’s objectives.

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 Citizen Question;
  • Demonstration of the joint development of the Plan;
  • Development of the Citizen 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 Duo citizen in the design, co-construction and implementation 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 concerned or reached by the Plan;
  • Potential for developing the Plan into a participatory science project.

To be recommended for funding, the application must receive an overall score of 70% or more.

6. ANNOUNCEMENT OF RESULTS

Funding awards will be announced in May 2024.

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 for each phase is as follows:

1 – Startup phase: $15,000 for one year

2 – Action phase: $30,000 for one year

3 – Sharing phase: $15,000 for one year

In addition, indirect costs of research (FIR) of 27% are paid to the researcher’s managing institution with the exception of the stipend for the citizen’s contribution.

In keeping with the program’s objectives, the grant must be used to finance expenses that are directly related to the realization of the proposed Plan and knowledge mobilization activities, where applicable. Eligible expenses are as follows:

  • Eligible expenses as listed in Section 8 of the CGR of the FRQ.

Other eligible expenses:

  • Stipend for Duo citizen members (maximum daily rate of $250/day, up to a maximum of $7,500 for the Startup and Sharing phases (Years 1 and 3); for the Action phase (Year 2), this stipend may be up to a maximum of $15,000;
  • 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;
  • Staff training and development costs for the purpose of participating in the Plan, excluding tuition fees;
  • Telecommunications, computers, tablets, modems, new technologies, specialized software and other hardware required for the citizen’s contribution to the implementation of the Plan, if applicable, subject to appropriate justification;
  • 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.

Salary support for researchers from colleges or college centres for the transfer of technology and innovative social practices (CCTT) who have no teaching duties:

  • A portion of the grant may be used as salary support for Status 3 researchers. This amount will be paid directly to the college or college centre with which the CCTT researcher is affiliated.

Salary support for college researchers with teaching duties:

  • A SUPPLEMENT may be requested for a release from teaching duties for eligible Status 3 researchers with teaching duties. This supplement, up to a maximum of $5,000 per year, will be paid directly to the college or college centre to cover the portion of the researcher’s salary normally paid for teaching duties.

The following expenses are not eligible:

·         Remuneration of researchers with status 1, 2 or 3 as defined in the CGR (with the exception of salary support for Status 3 researchers, as described above).

IMPORTANT NOTES
  • The funding awarded is not renewable.
  • The grant cannot be managed in whole or in part in a personal capacity. The grant must be managed by the managing institution of the Duo researcher (mandatory). However, management of the funds used to pay the stipend for the citizen’s contribution may be entrusted to a managing organization (optional).
  • Only one managing institution and one managing organization are allowed per project and must remain the same for the Startup, Action and Sharing 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 an annual follow-up meeting organized by the FRQ.

At each transition between phases (Startup to Action; Action to Sharing), funded Duos must produce a progress report in the form of an oral presentation demonstrating that the project is on track and including a detailed budget for the completion of the next phase. A presentation template will be provided at the appropriate time.

At the end of the project, Duos must jointly draw up and submit a final report. The format of 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 Fonds de recherche du Québec policy for the responsible conduct of research.

In particular, the citizen and the researcher must avoid real, potential or perceived conflicts of interest, or when they are unavoidable, manage them appropriately in accordance with the conflict of interest policy of the institution managing the grant. A conflict of interest arises when there is a conflict between the duties of the citizen and/or researcher related to the research and their personal, professional, institutional or financial interests.

9.2 Requirements relating to citizen research and 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.

9.3 Open access dissemination policy and open science

Any 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 FRQ open access policy for the dissemination of research (revised in 2022).

The link between science and society at the heart of citizen research is an important means of disseminating knowledge to the general public. The FRQ invite Duos to learn more about the principles of open science, which focus on access to scientific knowledge and boosting scientific literacy, and to explore the various ways of increasing the reach of their project’s impact.

10. IMPORTANT DATES

  • Submission of Questions: until December 15, 2023 at 16:00 (EST)
  • Creation of Duos: from the time the Question is online until the application deadline.
  • Application deadline: at the latest on February 29, 2024 at 16:00 (EST)
  • Announcement of results: May 2024

11. CONTACT PERSON FOR THIS PROGRAM

Josée Aubin

Program manager

Directorate of Societal Challenges

418 643-8560 ext.:3342

josee.aubin@frq.gouv.qc.ca