Competition year : 
2021-2022

Deadline (notice or letter of intent) : 
July 8th, 2021 at 16:00

Deadline (application) : 
September 23rd, 2021 at 16:00

Announcement of results : 
Décembre 2021

Amount : 
$15,000 for 1 year

Duration : 
One year

If you are a citizen and would like to apply to the program, click here for more information (deadline to submit a question: 8th of July 2021).

An information session on the program is scheduled on June 4th 2021 at 9:30 AM – Inscription here.

Presentation

The Engage participatory science program has been revamped. The Fonds de Recherche du Québec (FRQ) are offering a competition that places citizens unfamiliar with the research community at the heart of the scientific process and invite Québec researchers to develop innovative participatory science practices.

The Engage program consists of 2 phases:

1 – Startup phase (1 year): $15,000

2 – Action phase (1 year): $30,000

In the Startup Phase, citizens propose a scientific question (Question) about which they would like to learn more through science by completing a short form [click here], and then team up with a researcher to review the available knowledge on the topic. The FRQ provide resources to help citizens develop their Question and contact researchers to form a Duo. During the Startup Phase, the Duos whose projects (Plans) are selected will develop a participatory science approach to the citizen’s Question.

The Action Phase is a continuation of the activities carried out by Duos during the Startup Phase. This second phase will allow the teams selected at the end of the Startup Phase to design and create a participatory science project to increase scientific knowledge in the spirit of the 10 principles defined by the European Citizen Science Association (ECSA).

The rules presented here apply only to the first phase of the program, i.e., the Startup Phase. This phase focuses on the development of a participatory science process (see the Appendix in Section 10 for more details) and the recognition of the importance of exposure to research within Québec society.

1. 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.

2. Eligibility requirements

Teams eligible for the Startup Phase of 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 program (see the Appendix in Section 10 for details).

2.1. Citizen

Under the Engage program, a citizen is a person who submits a Question to the program by completing a short online survey and who meets all of the following seven criteria:

  1. Is of legal age at the time of submitting his or her Question to the FRQ;
  2. Is (1) a Canadian citizen OR (2) a permanent resident of Canada;
  3. Resides in Québec;
  4. Has not participated in a research project or collaborated with the research community on a research project, and does not have a doctoral degree;
  5. Is not enrolled in a full-time undergraduate, graduate or postgraduate university program;
  6. Does not meet any of the researcher status definitions (see the Appendix in Section 10 for details);
  7. Has never been convicted of a fraudulent offence related to financial management.

2.2. Researcher

A researcher wishing to be part of a Duo must have one of the following statuses (see the Appendix in Section 10 for more details):

  1. University researcher;
  2. Clinical university researcher;
  3. College researcher.

3. Procedure

3.1. Expressing interest: submitting a Question

Citizens who meet the eligibility requirements (Section 2.1.) and who wish to participate in the program are invited to complete an online survey [Click here] to submit a Question. An individual may submit only one Question under this competition. Before submitting their Question, citizens can use the resources provided by the FRQ [Click here].

Submitted Questions should be related to the themes covered by one or more of the FRQ (Nature et technologies — NT; Santé — S; Société et culture — SC).

3.2. Forming a Duo

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 9) 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 web page.

The FRQ are also planning to offer specific support for the establishment of Duos between citizens and researchers [Click here].

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

3.3. Working as a Duo: the Plan

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

A Plan is a presentation of the Duo’s activities for developing a participatory science process over the course of 1 year.

What does the Plan include? The Plan introduces the citizen’s Question as the starting point for the project. It should present the steps involved in the synthesis of available knowledge, the resources that will be used, a detailed budget, the learning objectives for the scientific method by the citizen and the means used to achieve them, and planned actions to adapt and democratize the resulting methodological practices and/or scientific knowledge.

It is preferable that the Plan be written in French, but English will be accepted. However, the title and summary to be used for public dissemination must be provided in French.

The Plan should not under any circumstances be part of a private research or entrepreneurial project. Any deliverables produced during the Startup Phase (for example, the knowledge synthesis and scientific report) must be made public no later than 6 months after the end of the project.

4. Application process

4.1. Dates

  • Submit a Question: before July 8, 2021 at 4 p.m.
  • Form a Duo: from the time the Question is posted online until the Plan submission date.
  • Submit a Plan: September 23, 2021 at 4 p.m.

AN APPLICATION SUBMITTED AFTER THE DEADLINES INDICATED ABOVE FOR EACH STAGE OF THE PROCESS WILL BE DEEMED INELIGIBLE BY THE FRQ.

4.2 Required documents to submit a Plan

To formally apply to the program, Duos must:

  • Ensure that both members of the Duo meet the eligibility requirements; AND
  • Provide the following three documents.

The three documents must be converted to non-protected PDF format and be sent by one of the Duo members to the program manager in a single email. The other member of the Duo must be copied (cc’d) on the email.

Document
Prepared by
Comments
FRQ resources available
Document

The Plan

Prepared by

Both members of the Duo

Comments

The Plan must be directly and explicitly linked to the Question proposed by the citizen. The detailed budget must present all planned expenses and clearly identify the amounts to be managed by the managing institution and by the managing organization, if applicable (see the Appendix in Section 10 for details).

The complete document must contain no more than 8 pages, including the FRQ introduction page, Plan title and summary (maximum 500 words), budget table and signature page.

FRQ resources available

Form to be completed to submit a Plan – see the toolbox.

Document

CVs

A CV for each member of the Duo. The two CVs should be saved together in a single PDF file.

Prepared by

Each member of the Duo prepares his or her CV

Comments

Citizens should provide an abridged CV of no more than 3 pages.

Researchers may use an abridged CV of up to 3 pages or a CCV in one of the Fonds de recherche du Québec formats.

FRQ resources available

[Click here] for the abridged CV presentation and content rules.

[Click here] to go to the CCV platform.

Eligible researcher statuses: see the Appendix in Section 10 for details.

Document

Two documents proving the citizen’s eligibility. The two documents should be saved together in a single PDF file.

Prepared by

The citizen member

Comments

1) Proof of residency in Québec

AND

2) Proof of Canadian citizenship OR proof of permanent resident status in Canada, as applicable.

FRQ resources available

[Click here] to see what documents are accepted.

Any pages exceeding the maximum limit will be removed from the application without notice.

IMPORTANT

Once the Plan has been submitted, the composition of the Duo cannot be changed for the duration of the project, except in the case of force majeure, sick 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 9).

Citizens and Duos may request the withdrawal of their Question or their Plan at any time by contacting the program manager.

5. Evaluation

5.1. Verification of eligibility

The FRQ program manager verifies the eligibility:

  • Of each member of the Duo, as described in Section 2;
  • Of the submitted application (the 3 PDF documents are complete, legible and submitted before September 23, 2021 at 4 p.m.).

The members of the Duo, the Plan, the managing institution and the managing organization (see the Appendix (section 10) for details), if applicable, must meet all eligibility requirements in effect at the time of submitting the funding application, throughout the entire period covered by the funding.

5.2.2 Evaluation

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

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 the Appendix (section 10) for details);
  • 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.

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. The FRQ reserve the right to withdraw from the competition any funding application that is subject to inappropriate intervention, lobby, undue influence or collusion during the evaluation process.

6. Announcement of results

The decisions of the evaluation committees are transmitted to Duo members and to the researcher’s managing institution and the citizen’s managing organization, if applicable (see the Appendix in Section 10 for details). Funding awards will be announced in December 2021.

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

7. Support and management of funding

7.1 Eligible expenses

The maximum funding awarded to a Duo, to be used strictly and directly for carrying out the activities proposed in the Plan, is $15,000 for 1 year.

In addition, indirect costs of research (FIR) of 27% are paid to the managing institution of researchers with status 1 and 2, applicable to the specific portion of funding managed by their institution.

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).

Duo members with researcher status 1 or 2 cannot receive remuneration. Duo members with status 3 and no teaching duties can use a portion of the funding for salary support. (Details below).

SUPPLEMENT for eligible college researchers with status 3 who have teaching duties (release from teaching duties – colleges)

For the Duo member who is a college researcher with teaching duties, an additional amount of up to $5,000 for 1 year may be asked. If applicable and justified in the Plan, this amount will be paid directly to the college institution to cover the portion of the researcher’s salary related to a release from teaching duties.

Salary support for eligible CCTT and college researchers (status 3) with no teaching duties: A portion of the FRQ funding may be used as salary support for a college researcher with no teaching duties who is a member of a Duo. This amount must be included in the budget and may be transferred directly to the researcher’s managing institution or to the college with which the CCTT is affiliated in the case of a CCTT researcher.

If the Duo wishes to use an organization working in areas relevant to the topic of the Question and the Plan to manage a portion of the funding on behalf of the citizen (see Managing Organization in the Appendix in Section 10):

  • Management fee for the managing organization: up to 15% of the amount managed by the organization. These funds will be paid directly to the managing organization.

7.2. Administrative management

Funding is awarded for a period of 1 year and is not renewable. Funding is provided for the period January 1, 2022 to December 31, 2022. Any unexpended funding remaining at the end of this period cannot be carried forward and must be returned to the FRQ.

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, see the Appendix in Section 10 for details).

IMPORTANT

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 in the Startup Phase.

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.

7.3. Follow-up and accountability

Members of the Duo: At the end of the Startup Phase and no later than March 15, 2023, Duos must submit a scientific report, in English or French (title and summary in French), reporting on the activities carried out during the year in relation to the objectives stated in the Plan and in the program.

Managing institution and managing organization: As administrators of all or part of the FRQ grant funds, managing institutions and managing organizations (if applicable) must each prepare and submit an annual financial report, signed by a chartered accountant before transmission to the FRQ. These reports must be sent to the FRQ no later than three months after the end of the FRQ fiscal year of March 31.

The financial reports and scientific report must be received and approved by the FRQ prior to applying for the 2nd phase of the program, the Action Phase. At that time, Duos may apply for funding for a participatory science (see Section 10) project, if they wish.

8. Other considerations

8.1. Ethical and responsible conduct of projects

Duo members, 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. In particular, they agree to:

  • Adopt exemplary practices in research ethics and scientific integrity;
  • Obtain approval from the animal care committee of the Duo researcher’s institution if the Plan involves animals or animal parts, products or tissues;
  • Reduce the negative environmental impacts of their activities, while promoting their positive impacts.

8.2. 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.

9. Person to contact for this program

Margaux Gourdal
Program Manager
Engage Program
418 643-8560, ext.: 3373

10. Appendix

Researcher status

1— University researcher:

Person who: a) receives a salary: i) either as a regular professor or contracted professor in a university recognized by the FRQ to manage funding, ii) or as a full-time researcher, with a PhD, in a university-affiliated CIUSSS, CISSS or other public institution within the health and social services network, that is recognized by the FRQ to manage funding;

AND b) is affiliated with a Québec university in which he/she is qualified to act as the sole supervisor of graduate students and independently lead research projects.

2— Clinical university researcher:

Person who: a) receives a salary for a full-time or part-time position at an institution recognized by the FRQ to manage funding;

AND b) is affiliated with a Québec university in which he/she is qualified to act as the sole supervisor of graduate students and independently lead research projects;

AND c) has completed a professional degree in human health, followed by at least two years (or the equivalent) of research training;

AND d) holds a valid license to practice in Québec.

3— College researcher:

Person who has a PhD (or a master’s in the case of a researcher in the nature and technology (FRQNT) or health (FRQS) sectors) and who is employed in the equivalent of a full-time position at a college-level institution recognized by the FRQ to manage funding. A college researcher must also possess the professional autonomy required to supervise research projects and hold:

i) a position as a college professor,

OR ii) a position as a CCTT researcher;

OR iii) a position in a college-level institution in which at least 75% of his or her time is dedicated to research activities.

Managing institution: For the list of institutions recognized by the FRQ to manage funding, click here.

Managing organization (optional): chosen by the Duo to manage a portion of the funding on behalf of the citizen, a managing organization is a NPO registered with the Registraire des entreprises du Québec for more than 2 years (January 1, 2019) or museum institution accredited by the Government of Québec (IMAGQ) for more than 2 years (January 1, 2019). 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 Plan. A managing organization that manages part of the funding must submit a financial report to the FRQ, signed by a chartered accountant.

The following are excluded as managing organizations for FRQ funding:

  • 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.

Collaborator: 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.

Plan: Written jointly by the two members of a Duo, the Plan describes a proposal for exploring the citizen’s Question using a participatory science approach. The Plan is developed over a period of 1 year, during the Startup Phase of the Engage program.

Scientific process: 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.

Participatory science: The FRQ use the term “participatory science” to refer to activities that actively involve citizens in a scientific endeavor that generates new knowledge or understanding. 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.)