Partnership Training Awards program rules
This program refers to the Fonds de recherche du Québec (FRQ) Common General Rules (CGR), which govern all FRQ funding offers. Only rules specific to this award program are indicated in this document, and these prevail over the CGR.
The link to the FRQnet electronic Portfolio and the forms associated with this competition is available under the Portal Access tab of the website. More information is available in the Documents menu of the FRQnet electronic Portfolio. It is the applicant’s sole responsibility to choose the correct application form for the right Fonds. Should an error occur, the Fonds will not transfer the application from one program to another and the application will be deemed ineligible, either when assessed for eligibility or by the evaluation committee.
AN APPLICATION SUBMITTED TO THE FONDS AFTER THE COMPETITION DEADLINE DATE AND TIME WILL BE DEEMED INADMISSIBLE BY THE FONDS.
IMPORTANT NOTE (Section 3.3 of the CGR): Applicants are advised to prepare their application well in advance to be sure of obtaining the required documents and submitting the application before the deadline. They should also take into account the large number of applications and requests received by the Fonds at the end of the competition period.
The Partnership Training Awards program has the following objectives:
Foster student interest in research and financially assist top applicants in undertaking or continuing a doctoral research program on climate change and its expected impacts.
The Partnership Training Awards program is a FRQNT program and is administered by the FRQNT. It is funded by the FRQNT and the program partner Ouranos. Program partners determine the program’s focus and approve applicant eligibility and selection.
The annual value of the award is $40,000.
The maximum amount that can be awarded is 9 instalments (9 semesters) totalling $120,000.
Applicants must meet all eligibility requirements in effect at the time of application as set out in the program rules and the CGR.
3.1 Target group and eligibility period
This training award offered in partnership with Ouranos is intended for students accepted or enrolled at a Québec university who wish to undertake or continue a doctoral program in one of the areas targeted by Ouranos.
Applicants are eligible throughout their doctoral research program.
The applicant must be supervised or have made an agreement with a research director for the supervision of the doctoral research.
Continued physical presence in Québec is required throughout the entire term of the award, 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.
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 award period, even if their citizenship and residence conditions change.
* To avail themselves of this option if the award is granted, applicants must provide a Declaration of travel outside Québec approved by the Québec university in the Manage my funding section of the FRQnet electronic Portfolio.
3.2 Citizenship and residence requirements
This competition is open to all applicants whose training is related to the priority areas and sectors targeted by Ouranos, with no restrictions as to citizenship or place of residence.
3.3 Target areas and priority sectors
To be eligible, the research must be in one of the areas targeted by Ouranos:
- Climate sciences
- Applied regional climatology
- Sciences related to climate change impacts and adaptation such as:
- Life sciences
- Social sciences and economics
The following areas are not eligible under this funding program:
- Greenhouse gas reduction
- Calculation of GHG emissions
- Projects aimed at knowledge transfer or outreach to students or the general public
Among the eligible areas, the partner has identified the following research themes as priority sectors:
- Historical data and analysis of climate variability
- Climate modelling and simulation
- Impacts of climate on:
o Hydrology and water management
o Coastal erosion
o River flooding and low flows
o Agricultural production
o Food security
o The St. Lawrence River
- Social and health challenges
- Water supply and wastewater treatment
- Energy security (including production, transmission, distribution and demand management)
- Climate governance
- Socio-economic assessments of impacts and adaptation strategies
An analysis of the alignment between the research project and the areas targeted by Ouranos will be carried out by experts selected by Ouranos (see Section 4.2, Description of the alignment between the research project and the areas targeted by Ouranos). Following this analysis, applications whose research project does not correspond to one of the targeted research areas will be declared ineligible.
Applicants cannot apply for funding under this program to carry out preparatory studies.
An applicant who has already received funding under this program is not eligible.
Applicants may submit only one funding application to this competition and may also apply to the FRQNT 2024-2025 doctoral training scholarship program.
The 2023-2024 electronic application form will be made available on the FRQNT website at least one month before the competition deadline and must be submitted electronically by the competition deadline date and time set by the Fonds.
For information on the language of submitted forms and documents, please refer to Section 3.6 of the Common General Rules.
Please refer to the Presentation Standards for Attached Files in the FRQnet electronic Portfolio when preparing the files to be attached to the form.
United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG)
In accordance with the Québec research and innovation investment strategy 2022-2028 (SQRI2) and the Québec Government Sustainable Development Strategy 2023-2028 (SGDD 2023-2028) and in line with their 2022-2025 strategic plans, the FRQ are seeking to promote the role of science and the scientific community in attaining the SDGs.
To that end, applicants are asked to indicate, if appropriate to their project, the contribution of their research to attaining the SDGs in the “Contribution to the sustainable development goals” section of their application form. This section will not be sent to the evaluation committees. Please consult the FRQ SDG Guide for further details.
4.1 Electronic form (research director)
A research director who does not have a personal identification number (PIN) must request one from the FRQNT and provide it to the applicant. The applicant must enter this PIN in his/her application form.
When the applicant enters the PIN of the research director in the application form, the “Director’s Section” form becomes available in the director’s FRQnet electronic Portfolio.
The “Director’s Section” form must be completed and submitted via the FRQnet electronic Portfolio of the research director by the competition deadline. It is the applicant’s responsibility to ensure that the research director submits the acceptance letter by the competition deadline.
4.2 Required documents
All required documents must be included in the application for it to be considered eligible. Any documents that are illegible, of a poor resolution or that do not allow verification of the application’s eligibility will be rejected.
Any official document submitted in a language other than French or English must be accompanied by a professional translation certified as a true copy of the original. Any other document submitted in a language other than French or English must be accompanied by a basic translation.
Description of the alignment between the research project and the areas targeted by Ouranos
Candidates must include in their application a description of the alignment between their research project and at least one of the areas targeted by Ouranos.
Any transcript that is missing, incomplete, unofficial, out-of-date, or is not a certified copy of the original will render the application ineligible.
Copies of all transcripts are required, for all university studies pursued by the applicant, whether completed or not. This includes transcripts from exchange programs or courses (equivalencies), where applicable.
- For a current program of study, the transcript must include the last semester completed before the competition deadline, including the summer session if applicable.
What makes a transcript official may differ from one academic institution to another. Nonetheless, to be deemed official by the Fonds, each transcript must:
- be issued by the institution in question;
- include elements indicating that it is an official transcript for that academic institution. This may be the seal or stamp of the issuing institution AND/OR the registrar’s signature AND/OR the notation “Official Transcript”, etc.
THE PRESENCE OF A WATERMARK will not render a transcript unofficial, as long as it meets the requirements specified above.
If there is any doubt about the authenticity of a transcript included with the application, the Fonds reserves the right to verify with the applicant or the institution concerned.
A transcript delivered in a sealed envelope by the registrar’s office can be opened and its contents scanned.
Other documents to attach, where applicable, in the file with the transcripts:
- Document explaining the grading system for transcripts from institutions outside North America. This letter must clearly explain the grading system used, so that the transcripts can be properly understood;
- Letter of explanation from the institution (registrar’s office or equivalent administrative body) if no transcript is issued. The letter must state the reasons for the missing transcript. The Fonds reserves the right to verify the acceptability of the reasons given;
- If no transcript is issued but the applicant is unable to obtain a letter from the university, a letter of explanation written by the applicant and endorsed by the department director at the host institution, justifying the absence of the transcript.
Proof of citizenship
A photocopy of the identification page of a passport from the applicant’s country of origin (valid at the time of application) or any other official document establishing the applicant’s citizenship.
Acknowledgement of receipt from publishers
- Acknowledgements of receipt from the publisher for all articles submitted and notices received from publishers for articles accepted for publication (acknowledgements of receipt for articles already published are not forwarded to the committee).
A notice of the application’s transmission for evaluation or of its non-eligibility will be sent to you by email in December at the latest. An applicant who has not received this notice should contact the program manager before December 15.
To find out more about the rules governing the application evaluation process, please refer to Section 4 of the CGR.
Academic record and background
- Honours (awards, distinctions and scholarships);
- Achievements (scientific, professional, social, etc.) and relevant experience (related to the project or background);
- Capacity for engagement and leadership (in academic and non-academic settings);
- Ability to facilitate dialogue between science and society.
- Originality of the project and contribution to the advancement of knowledge;
- Clarity and coherence of the research problem;
- Relevance of the methodology;
- Feasibility of the project and realism of the time frame.
Alignment with Ouranos priority sectors (Section 3.3 Target areas and priority sectors)
6. Open access policy
Peer-reviewed publications resulting from the research made possible by this award must be released as immediate open access (without embargo), under an open license, in accordance with the FRQ Open Access Policy (revised in 2022).
The doctoral thesis resulting from this award must be made freely accessible, without embargo, in an institutional or disciplinary repository in accordance with the FRQ Open Access Policy (revised in 2022).
7. Using the award
To retain an award or award supplement, the awardee must maintain the following basic conditions throughout the duration of funding:
• Meet citizenship and residency requirements.
• Be enrolled in the training program for which the award was granted on a full-time basis (subject to any exceptions specified in this section).
• Respect the rules relating to concurrent funding.
• Respect the rules relating to paid employment and internships.
Award holders must also comply with all applicable requirements specified in the program rules and the CGR.
Awardees have the obligation to notify the Fonds as soon as any of these conditions are no longer met and upon any change in their situation that could affect compliance with the terms of the award. Failure to meet a condition (or to inform us of such a change) may result in the cancellation of the award and/or the obligation to reimburse the amounts received.
7.1 Award start date
Payments may start in any of the three semesters following the awardee’s acceptance.
The start date of the award refers to the semester in which the first payment may be claimed (see Section 8.10.2 for further details).
- For awardees whose training program has not started when the award letter is issued, the first payment may be made as of:
May 30 after the award is granted (summer semester)
September 30 after the award is granted (fall semester)
January 30 after the award is granted (winter semester)
- For awardees whose training program is in progress when the award letter is issued, the first payment will be made as of:
May 30 following the award (summer semester)
7.2 Payments and management
Payments are conditional on compliance with the basic requirements and submission of all requirements documents in the FRQnet electronic Portfolio.
7.2.1 Cancellation of a payment or the award
The Fonds will cancel a payment after prior 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 the award after prior notice if the awardee has not taken any action in their FRQnet electronic Portfolio for two consecutive semesters.
The Fonds will also cancel the award after prior 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 question.
In addition, the FRQ reserves the right to cancel any payment or the award in accordance with the Policy for the responsible conduct of research.
An award 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 payment is made.
7.3 Exceptions for part-time studies
In all the following cases, the Fonds reserve the right to deny an insufficiently justified request.
Part-time studies are permitted only in the cases mentioned below:
7.3.1 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 7.3.2). During part-time semesters, the awardee may receive 50% of the value of the award payments.
Awardees who want to avail themselves of this exception must complete a request in their FRQnet electronic Portfolio 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 award 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 (CQLR, c. E-20.1) and reserved for persons who meet the definition of “handicapped person” in the Act.
Awardees must complete a request in their FRQnet electronic Portfolio and attach the following documents:
- Proof of part-time studies from the university
- Medical certificate attesting to the condition.
7.4 Concurrent funding
Concurrent funding is prohibited with merit scholarships from Québec government granting agencies and Merit Scholarships for Foreign Students from the Ministère de l’Enseignement supérieur (MES).
Concurrent funding is permitted with merit scholarships from Canadian government granting agencies; scholarships from Canadian government departments and agencies; scholarships from Québec government departments and agencies other than those mentioned above, provided that an agreement has been reached between Ouranos and the organizations concerned; private sector and internal university scholarships; Ministère de l’Éducation du Québec (MEQ) loans and bursaries.
Reimbursement will be required for any payment received in a situation where concurrent funding is prohibited.
7.5 Award supplement for parental leave
During the authorised suspension of the research project due to the birth or adoption of a child, an awardee 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 an awardee.
To be eligible for this supplement, the awardee must not be enrolled in a training program or be in paid employment for the duration of the leave. In the case of partial concurrent funding, the award supplement cannot be granted if a parental leave allowance is received from a federal agency. In this case, the awardee must take the paid leave offered by the federal agency. If your university permits, parental leave may be extended for an additional four months without pay.
7.6 Employment and internships
In compliance with the conditions detailed below, an awardee may accept a lectureship, an internship (mandatory or not) or paid employment.
7.6.1 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 7.4), the salary is considered a concurrent scholarship when confirmed by the research supervisor.
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 7.7.1).
Deferral of payment is permitted for sick leave (GCR, Section 6.14), parental leave (GCR, Section 6.13) or family leave or to gain relevant experience.
7.7.1 Gaining relevant experience
For each full year of funding, the Fonds may authorize the suspension of one award 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 award with which concurrent funding is prohibited or to return to work while on study leave. In all cases, deferrals are limited to a maximum of four during the term of the award.
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 award. 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 inappropriate.
7.7.2 Leave for major family or parenting obligations
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.
7.8 Withdrawal or part-time enrolment
An awardee who withdraws from their study program during the semester or who decides to pursue their studies on a part-time basis, except for the cases described in Sections 7.3 and 7.6.2, is no longer eligible for the award and must notify the Fonds to terminate it. The awardee may be required to reimburse the current payment.
7.9 Completion of studies and graduation
An awardee is eligible to receive payments until the final submission of their thesis. Full-time enrolment is not required after the initial thesis submission.
7.10 Request for changes
Any change in an awardee’s situation must be communicated to the Fonds via the FRQnet electronic Portfolio. 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 my 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.
7.10.1 Change in citizenship status
The conditions and privileges of the award as they pertain to citizenship status at the time of application continue to apply throughout the funding period, even if an awardee’s citizenship status changes during the term of the award.
7.10.2 Change in award duration or start date
The duration of funding is determined based on the date of full-time enrolment 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 award. Once the first payment is made, the duration and start date of the award cannot be changed.
7.10.3 Change in training program
For a change of program during the term of the award, the Fonds must ensure that the change does not impact the parameters of the committee’s evaluation and the relevance of the research project. 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 award may be maintained.
7.10.4 Change in training location or institution
A change of training and research location is permitted, provided it is in Québec.
7.10.5 Change in research supervisor
Any change in research supervisor must be justified.
7.10.6 Change in research project
The awardee must justify, detail and demonstrate that 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 and the relevance of the research project. In addition, you must specify whether you are remaining in the same field and department, with the same research supervisor and in the same university or research setting.
8. Effective date
The rules apply to the 2024-2025 fiscal year.