Master’s Training Scholarships (MD, M.Sc.)
This program refers to the Common General Rules (CGR) of the Fonds de recherche du Québec (FRQ).
These rules apply to all FRQ funding offers. Only the specific requirements for this program are indicated in this document and take precedence over the CGR.
The link to the FRQnet electronic portfolio (ePortfolio) and the competition forms are available in the Portal access tab of the website. Additional information is available in the Documents menu of the FRQnet ePortfolio. It is the sole responsibility of the applicant to select the right form from the right Fonds de recherche. In the event of an error, the Fonds will not transfer an application from one program to another, and the application will be deemed ineligible as part of the eligibility verification process or by the review committee.
APPLICATIONS CANNOT BE SUBMITTED AFTER THE COMPETITION DEADLINE. ALL REQUIRED DOCUMENTS MUST BE ATTACHED TO THE APPLICATION IN THE FRQNET ELECTRONIC PORTFOLIO. THE COMPLETE APPLICATION MUST BE RECEIVED BY THE RELEVANT FONDS BY THE COMPETITION DEADLINE.
IMPORTANT NOTE (Common General Rules, Section 3.3): Applicants must prepare their application sufficiently in advance to ensure they have all the required documents and submit the form by the competition deadline. Applicants must also anticipate and consider the high volume of funding applications received by the Fonds near the competition deadline.
The scholarships granted by the Fonds de recherche du Québec aim to:
- help support new generations of students in a range of research sectors:
- natural sciences, mathematics sciences and engineering (FRQNT)
- human health (FRQS)
- humanities, social sciences, art and literature (FRQSC)
- spark the interest of new generations of students in research;
- support research excellence by providing financial assistance to the best students as they undertake or pursue a master’s research program.
This particular program is designed to allow medical students to pursue research training at the Master’s level in parallel with their medical studies.
2.1 Value of the scholarship
The master’s scholarship is valued at $20,000/year.
The maximum amount is six (6) payments totalling $40,000.
One new award per year, per university
Exceptionally two awards, if no application for the M.D.-Ph.D. program is submitted by the university
Applicants must meet all eligibility requirements in effect during the competition period, as stipulated in the program rules and the CGR.
3.1 TARGET GROUP AND ELIGIBILITY PERIOD
Master’s training scholarship
The master’s training scholarship program is open to applicants who :
- have completed at least 90 course credits in a university program;
- those who have not completed 90 course credits in a university program must provide a letter of recommendation from the Dean of the Faculty of Medicine
- are registered in a regular undergraduate medical program at a Quebec university (the 90 required university credits may have been completed as part of an undergraduate medical degree or any other bachelor’s degree)
- are enrolled or plan to enroll (before January 15, 2025), simultaneously in a regular research-type master’s program (M.Sc.) in a structured M.D.-M.Sc. program at this university that is recognized by the FRQS. As part of the master’s research program, the awardee must be required to write a research thesis (essays, research reports, dissertations and articles not eligible). Professional master’s programs are not eligible.
- submit a research project with a direct bearing on human health that may be completed in up to two (2) years. The research project may be undertaken in periods of two (2) to four (4) months (non-consecutive) or integrated into the MD program. Awardees are not required to interrupt their medical studies.
Applicants must have been enrolled in a master’s program for up to three (3) full-time semesters (1 year) or less before May 1, 2024. Semesters completed in a professional master’s degree program and those completed in a master’s research program in another area leading to graduation are excluded from the calculation.
Applicants who obtained a first master’s degree in research and who seek to undertake a second in another area may apply to the Fonds if their initial master’s degree was not funded by a Fonds de recherche du Québec scholarship program. The Fonds reserve the right to deny an application when they deem there are too many similarities between the two master’s programs.
Applicants who are not enrolled in a master’s program and considering graduate studies are eligible for the program on the condition they start their program between May 1, 2024, and January 15, 2025.
Applicants who apply to the FRQS are eligible to receive scholarship payments for a period of six (6) semesters or until the end of the program for which the scholarship is sought, whichever comes first.
The Fonds will consider unregistered semesters and those completed on a part-time basis when calculating the eligibility period. Applicants can verify their eligibility by consulting the Equivalent table for part-time terms.
The Fonds will also consider the number of semesters during which applicants received financial support from a recognized funding agency of the Canadian or Québec government (e.g., NSERC, CIHR, SSHRC, Fonds de recherche du Québec) to ensure the total funding granted does not exceed six (6) semesters.
Applicants who apply for a scholarship for their preparatory studies are not eligible.
The Fonds reserve the right to refuse any exception request that is not adequately justified.
The rules pertaining to the eligibility period for training scholarships allow for exceptions in circumstances that are beyond an applicant’s control, such as serious illness, major family obligations or disability.
- Major family obligation or serious illness: an applicant who has suspended or delayed their studies owing to a parental leave, serious illness or a major family obligation may seek to extend the eligibility period for up to twelve (12) months. The Fonds will determine the duration of the extension based on the supporting documents provided by the applicant.
- Disability: as defined in the Act to secure handicapped persons in the exercise of their rights with a view to achieving social, school and workplace integration (E-20.1) and reserved for persons who meet the definition of “handicapped person” in the Act, the rules pertaining to the eligibility period do not apply. The maximum duration of the funding is six (6) semesters at the master’s level. Supporting documents must be submitted with the application.
3.2 CITIZENSHIP AND DOMICILE
The following section is based on Section 2.1. of the Common General Rules:
To be eligible to apply for a master’s training scholarship, applicants must:
- Be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident
- Have a health insurance card issued by the Régie de l’assurance maladie du Québec (RAMQ) valid at the competition deadline, or proof that a health insurance card has been requested from the RAMQ and that the card will be valid at the competition deadline.
If either of the above conditions is not met, the applicant must submit one of the following documents to be eligible:
- Proof of admission to a program of study eligible for this scholarship program (see section 3.1.1) at a Québec university
- An acceptance form from the research supervisor at a Québec university (“Supervisor’s form”).
An applicant may carry out training outside Québec on the condition they:
- are a Canadian citizen or permanent resident
- have a valid health insurance card issued by the RAMQ or proof of RAMQ eligibility
- If either of the above conditions is not met, the applicant must carry out their training in Québec. Continued physical presence in Québec is required throughout the entire term of the scholarship, excluding the break periods specified in the academic calendar, unless the institution approves* travel outside Québec deemed necessary for the proper implementation of activities related to the program of study.
- Travel outside Québec as part of a co-supervised program is not permitted except for applicants who are eligible to carry out training outside Québec.
- Applicants who are not eligible to carry out training outside Québec at the time of filing their application to the competition will not be eligible to study outside Québec during the scholarship period, even if their citizenship and domicile conditions change.
* To avail themselves of this option if the scholarship is awarded, applicants must provide a Declaration of travel outside Québec approved by the Québec university in the Manage my funding section of the FRQnet ePortfolio.
The 2024–2025 application e-form (pdf for information) will be available on the respective websites of the Fonds at least one month prior to the competition deadline. The form must be submitted electronically by the competition deadline, as determined by the Fonds.
With regard to the language of submitted forms and documents, please refer to Section 3.6 of the Common General Rules.
Refer to the Presentation standards for PDF attachments in the FRQnet ePortfolio to properly format any documents to be attached to the application.
4.1 DOCUMENTS REQUIRED FROM THE APPLICANT
All required documents must be included with the application for it to be considered eligible. Documents that are illegible or low-resolution or do not allow the eligibility of the application to be determined will not be accepted.
Official documents submitted in a language other than English or French must include a certified professional translation. Any other documents submitted in a language other than English or French must include a basic translation.
4.1.1 RAMQ health insurance card (if applicable)
Case 1: Applicants who do not have proof of full-time admission to a Québec university or who do not have an acceptance form from the research supervisor at a Québec university (“Supervisor’s form”).
Case 2: Applicants who are Canadian citizens or permanent residents
Applicants in cases 1 and 2 must provide:
- a photocopy of their RAMQ health insurance card valid at the competition deadline;
- an official document from the Régie de l’assurance maladie du Québec (RAMQ) that establishes their status as a resident of Québec within the meaning of the Health Insurance Act;
- if an official document is not available, proof that a health insurance card has been requested from the RAMQ and that the card will be valid at the competition deadline.
Case 3: Applicants who do not have a RAMQ health card must provide:
- proof of admission to a master’s program at a Québec university
- an acceptance form from the research supervisor at a Québec university (“Supervisor’s form”).
4.1.2 Acknowledgement of receipt from publishers
Acknowledgements for all papers submitted to publishers and publisher notifications for papers accepted for publication (acknowledgements for previously published papers are not shared with the committee).
4.1.3 Additional documents
Applicants who did not complete 90 course credits in a university program:
- letter of recommendation from the dean of the faculty of medicine
Applicants who completed one or more part-time semesters since the date at which they first registered for a graduate program and applicants whose transcripts do not include all registered semesters:
- Attestation from the registrar’s office indicating all semesters.
Applicants seeking to avail themselves of an exception:
- Official document attesting to the duration of the parental leave or sick leave, such as a medical certificate or a copy of the child’s birth certificate.
- In the case of a major family obligation or a person with a disability, documents attesting to the situation.
No appendices or documents other than those required will be shared with the review committee.
Applications cannot be updated after the competition deadline.
4.2 DOCUMENTS REQUIRED FROM THE RESEARCH SUPERVISORS
Electronic form from the research supervisor (and co-supervisor, if applicable) (PDF version for information)
Notice: Under no circumstances may the applicant create an account in the name of another person (respondent, director or supervisor, etc.) to submit documents him/herself. Should this be the case, his or her file may be considered ineligible.
Applicants will receive an email notification to inform them that their application was either sent to the review committee or deemed ineligible by December at the latest.
Applicants who have not received an email notification must contact the program manager before the end of December.
For more information on the rules regarding the evaluation process, refer to Section 4 of the CGR.
Applications are reviewed according to the following evaluation criteria and weighting:
Academic record and progress (50 points)
- Honours (awards, distinctions, scholarships)
- Achievements (scientific, professional, social, etc.) and relevant experience (related to the project or background)
Research interest and potential (45 points)
- Proposed research (originality, clarity, coherence, etc.)
- Relevance of the methodological elements and the overview of the conceptual framework.
Overall presentation (5 points)
TOTAL (100 points)
6. OPEN ACCESS POLICY
Peer-reviewed publications stemming from the research funded by the scholarship must be made immediately available on an open access (non-embargoed) basis under an open license in accordance with the FRQ’s Open access policy for the dissemination of research (revised 2022).
Master’s theses stemming from the research funded by the scholarship must be made available on an open access (non-embargoed) basis in an institutional or disciplinary repository, in accordance with the FRQ’s open access policy for the dissemination of research (revised 2022).
7. PARTNERSHIP SCHOLARSHIPS
The Fonds may grant training scholarships with partners. As with all scholarships granted by the Fonds, scholarship offers are given out according to merit following a scientific evaluation by a peer review committee.
There are three steps in the process to select eligible applicants for the scholarships:
- Applicants select one or more partners whose research areas are in line with their research theme (in the Partnerships section of the application form);
- The Fonds send the partners the list of applicants who have expressed interest and the information required to determine the relevance of the applications to their strategic and research priorities;
- When the evaluation process is complete (see Section 5 of this document), applicants who obtained a scientific excellence rating that entitles them to receive funding from the Fonds and whose proposed projects are deemed relevant by the partners may receive an offer for a partnership scholarship.
By choosing to be considered for a partnership scholarship and being granted a scholarship, applicants agree that the partner may contact them regarding activities related to the research project.
8. USING A FONDS SCHOLARSHIP
To maintain a scholarship or supplement, the awardee must meet these basic requirements throughout the funding period:
- Meet citizenship and residency requirements;
- Be enrolled in the training program for which the scholarship was granted on a full-time basis (subject to the exceptions specified in this section);
- Comply with the rules pertaining to concurrent scholarships;
- Comply with the rules pertaining to employment and internships.
Awardees must also comply with all the requirements specified in the program rules and CGR.
Awardees who are registered in a program outside Québec (when permitted under the terms of the scholarship) must request official proof of registration from their university at the start of every semester and send it to the Fonds. For awardees registered in a Québec university, proof of registration is sent directly to the Fonds by the institution.
Awardees must notify the Fonds as soon as possible when a requirement is no longer met and whenever there is a change in their situation that could affect compliance with the terms of the scholarship. Failure to do so may result in the cancellation of the scholarship and/or the obligation to reimburse the amounts received.
Please refer to the Technical User Guide to find out where to find the required documents and how to attach them in your Portfolio.
8.1 Scholarship start date
The payments may start in any of the three (3) semesters following the awardee’s acceptance.
The start date of the scholarship refers to the semester in which the first payment may be claimed (see Section 8.10.2 in the CGR for further details).
For awardees whose training program has not started when the scholarship letter is issued, the first payment may be made as of:
- May 30 after the scholarship is granted (summer semester)
- September 30 after the scholarship is granted (fall semester)
- January 30 after the scholarship is granted (winter semester)
For awardees whose training program is in progress when the letter of scholarship is issued, the first payment will be made as of:
- May 30 following the scholarship (summer semester)
8.2 Payments and management
Payments are conditional on compliance with the basic requirements and submission of all requirements documents in the FRQnet electronic portfolio (ePortfolio)
8.2.1 Cancellation of a payment or a scholarship
The Fonds will cancel a scholarship upon notice if it is not claimed or deferred or if required documents are not received in the two months following the start of the semester.
The Fonds will cancel a scholarship upon notice if the awardee has not taken any action in their FRQnet ePortfolio for two consecutive semesters.
The Fonds will cancel a scholarship upon notice if two consecutive payments must be cancelled due to non-compliance with the basic requirements or if required documents have not been submitted in the two months following the start of the semester.
In addition, the FRQ reserves the right to cancel any payment or scholarship in accordance with the Policy for the responsible conduct of research.
A scholarship offer that is declined by the applicant cannot be reactivated.
A final report in the format required by the FRQ must be submitted at the end of the semester in which the last scholarship payment is made.
8.2.3 Mandatory basic research ethics training
Who must take this training?
Basic research ethics training is mandatory for all holders of this scholarship whose research involves humans (direct participation or the use of human biological material or data concerning humans).
The training consists of completing levels 1 and 3 of the research ethics tutorial developed by the Ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux in the year following the receipt of the scholarship offer from the FRQS (see Required documents section).
8.3 Exceptions for part-time studies
In all of the following cases, the Fund reserves the right to reject any application that is insufficiently justified.
Part-time studies are permitted only in the cases listed below:
8.3.1 Family caregiver, parenthood or medical condition
This exception is only available to an awardee who is the caregiver for a close family member, who is the primary caregiver for a young child (5 years and under) or who has a medical condition that prevents them from following a full-time program (in the case of a disability, see Section 8.3.2). During part-time semesters, the awardee may receive 50% of the value of the scholarship payments.
Awardees who want to avail themselves of this exception must complete their FRQnet ePortfolio and attach the following documents:
- Proof of part-time studies from the university
- Copy of the medical certificate (caregiver, medical condition) or the birth or adoption certificate of a child (parent)
It is possible to receive concurrent parental insurance plan benefits, as applicable.
A person with a disability who is unable to pursue their training program on a full-time basis may choose to enrol on a part-time basis and benefit from full scholarship payments when the university allows for part-time status and upon presentation of a medical certificate or an official document attesting to the situation.
This exception is in accordance with the Act to secure handicapped persons in the exercise of their rights with a view to achieving social, school and workplace integration (E-20.1) and reserved for persons who meet the definition of “handicapped person” in the Act.
Awardees must complete their FRQnet ePortfolio and attach these documents:
- Proof of part-time study from the university
- Medical certificate attesting to the condition
Training scholarships (master’s, doctoral and postdoctoral) from federal funding agencies: Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) and Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR)
Partial* concurrent funding allowed**
Training scholarships (master’s, doctorate, postdoctoral, partnership) from Québec funding agencies such as the Fonds de recherche du Québec – Santé (FRQS), the Fonds de recherche du Québec – Société et culture (FRQSC)
No concurrent funding
Scholarships from Canadian and Québec government departments and agencies other than those mentioned above
Concurrent funding allowed
Co-supervised international mobility scholarships and scholarships for internships outside Québec
Concurrent funding allowed
Scholarships from the Canada Council for the Arts (CCA) or Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec (CALQ)
No concurrent funding when the scholarships are for the same project
Scholarships from the private sector, internal scholarships from universities and affiliated centres and supplementary scholarships from the research supervisor
Concurrent funding allowed
*Partial concurrent funding with a scholarship from a federal funding agency
Partial concurrent funding with a scholarship from a federal funding agency is possible when the scholarship from the Fonds is of a higher value or longer duration than the scholarship with which concurrent funding is prohibited. In such cases, the awardee must accept the federal scholarship.
However, the awardee may also accept the scholarship from the Fonds in order to take advantage of additional benefits that are not covered by the federal scholarship, as applicable.
- When the value of the scholarship from the Fonds is higher than that of the other scholarship, the amount will be adjusted to make up for the shortfall;
- When the duration of the scholarship from the Fonds is longer than that of the other scholarship, the Fonds will extend the term of the scholarship to make up for the shortfall when the other scholarship ends, unless the total value of the other scholarship is equal to or higher than the total value of the scholarship from the Fonds.
- All the financial benefits associated with the Fonds’ scholarship will also be made available by the Fonds.
It is not possible to defer a payment or the start of a scholarship to receive another scholarship with which concurrent funding is prohibited.
Awardees who receive payments in a situation in which concurrent funding is prohibited will be required to reimburse the sums paid.
**Concurrent funding for studies outside Québec
An awardee may hold concurrent scholarships from federal and provincial granting agencies if, at the start date of the scholarship from the Fonds, the awardee is attending an academic institution outside Québec and the annual tuition fees are equal to or higher than the annual value of the scholarship offered by the Fund.
The annual value of the tuition fees does not include registration fees, student association fees, etc. Tuition fees must not be reimbursed by another organization.
8.5 Scholarship supplements for parental leave
During the authorized suspension of the research project due to the birth or adoption of a child, a scholarship holder may apply for an eight-month continuous parental leave supplement.
This supplement may be requested only by those who have already received their first instalment as a grant holder.
To be eligible for this supplement, the scholarship holder must not be enrolled in a training program or be in paid employment for the duration of the leave. In the case of partial cumulation, the scholarship supplement cannot be granted when a parental leave allowance is received from a federal agency.
In this case, the scholarship holder must take the paid leave offered by the federal agency.
If your university permits, parental leave may be extended for an additional four months at no additional cost.
8.6 Employment and internships
In compliance with the conditions detailed here, an awardee may accept a lectureship, an internship (mandatory or not) or paid employment.
8.6.1 Paid employment
Paid work carried out while enrolled in a training program is permitted. There is no limit of time per semester. The employment must be approved by the research supervisor and must not interfere with the research activities.
In addition to the paid work permitted per semester, awardees may earn a salary for working solely on the funded research project. For the sole purpose of interpreting the rules for concurrent funding (Section 8.4), the salary is considered a concurrent scholarship when confirmed by the research supervisor.
Within the limits stated below, it is possible to do an internship (mandatory or not).
Part-time enrolment is permitted for the duration of an internship if the internship is required as part of the awardee’s training program and no research credit is granted. It is not possible to ask to defer payments to carry out an internship.
In the case of a non-mandatory internship as part of the awardee’s training program, the remuneration related to the internship is considered employment income. Where university rules permit, a deferral of payment may be requested if the non-mandatory internship constitutes an opportunity to gain relevant experience (Section 8.7.1).
Deferral of payment is permitted for sick leave (refer to CGR Section 6.14), parental leave (refer to CGR Section 6.13) or family leave or to gain relevant experience.
8.7.1 Gaining relevant experience
For each full year of funding, the Fonds may authorize the suspension of one scholarship payment (one semester/four months) during which the awardee gains relevant experience (experience within a research team, teaching experience related in the field of training, language stay, etc.). The payment is then deferred until the end of the funding period. Awardees cannot use this provision for their first payment, to accept another scholarship with which concurrent funding is prohibited or to return to work while on study leave.
Deferrals to gain relevant experience may be consecutive if approved by the research supervisor. Part-time enrollment is also permitted during the consecutive semester(s), where university rules permit.
To avail themselves of an exception, awardees must submit a request to the Fonds that granted the scholarship. In addition, the research supervisor must provide a letter confirming their approval and the relevance of the activities that will be undertaken. The Fonds reserve the right to deny any request that is insufficiently justified or irrelevant.
8.7.2 Leave for major family obligations or parental leave
The Fund will authorize the deferral of one or more payments when an awardee pauses their training to undertake major family or parenting obligations for as long as the awardee’s university permits.
8.8 Discontinuation of the training program and part-time enrolment
An awardee who withdraws during the semester or who decides to pursue their studies on a part-time basis, with the exception of the cases described in sections 8.3 and 8.6.2, is no longer eligible for the scholarship and must notify the Fonds to terminate it. The awardee may be required to reimburse the amounts paid.
8.9 Completion of the training program and graduation
An awardee is eligible to receive payments until the final submission of the thesis. Full-time enrolment is not required after the thesis has been submitted.
8.10 Request for changes
Any change in an awardee’s situation must be communicated to the Fonds via the FRQnet ePortfolio. For reasons of equity, the Fonds will ensure the requested change does not impact the outcome of the application’s initial evaluation and remains in compliance with the eligibility requirements and program rules. The Fonds will assess the requested change and may decide to continue, reduce, suspend or terminate the payments. The Fonds may also require that the awardee reimburse the sums paid.
In all the following cases, the Fonds reserve the right to deny a request that is insufficiently justified or that calls into question the elements set out in the preceding paragraph.
8.10.1 Change in citizenship status
The conditions and privileges of the scholarship as they pertain to citizenship status at the time of application continue to apply throughout the term of the scholarship, even if an awardee’s citizenship status changes during the funding period.
8.10.2 Change in the term of the scholarship or start date
The funding period is determined based on the date of full-time registration in the training program. Two part-time semesters are equivalent to one full-time semester.
This type of change must be made prior to the first payment. It is strongly suggested that the change be requested upon accepting the scholarship. Once the first payment is made, the term of the scholarship and start date cannot be changed.
8.10.3 Change in study level
A master’s training scholarship holder who plans to pursue a doctoral degree may use the remaining payments of the master’s training scholarship to begin a doctoral program, on the condition that the program begins in the next semester.
The payments must occur during the term of the initial scholarship. In addition, the awardee must have received at least one payment of the master’s training scholarship for at least one full-time semester in the program for which the scholarship was granted, except in the case of direct or fast-tracked transfer to a doctoral program.
8.10.4 Change in training program
Any change of program during the term of the scholarship must be in line with the research areas of the Fonds that granted the scholarship and the review committee selection, as established in the initial application.
However, if an awardee intends to change programs for administrative reasons and remains in the same field of study and research, the Fonds will assess the situation and the scholarship may be maintained.
8.10.5 Change in training location and institution
An awardee may change the training and research location on the condition that the change is consistent with Section 2.1 Citizenship and Domicile in the CGR.
8.10.6 Change in research supervisor
An awardee who continues to study in the same training program and whose research project remains the same may change research supervisor. The request is automatically approved.
8.10.7 Change in research project
The awardee must justify, detail and demonstrate the new research project is of the same scientific quality as the initial project evaluated by the review committee.
Before making its decision, the Fonds will ensure that the change does not impact the parameters of the committee’s evaluation.
In addition, the awardee must specify whether they are remaining in the same field and department, with the same research supervisor and in the same university or research setting.
9. EFFECTIVE DATE
These rules apply to the 2024–2025 and subsequent fiscal years.