Competition year : 
2022-2023

Deadline (notice or letter of intent) : 
November 1st, 2021 at 16:00 (EST)

Deadline (application) : 
February 7th, 2022 at 16:00 (EST)

Announcement of results : 
May 2022

Amount : 
$200,000 per project for 2 years

Duration : 
2 years maximum

Program deadlines

Submission of the letter of intent: November 1, 2021, 4 p.m.

Mandatory methodology workshop: week of December 6, 2021

Submission of the application: February 7, 2022, 4 p.m.

Announcement of the results: May 2022

The documents highlighted in blue are available online (links) and in the program Toolbox on the website of the FRQS.

This grant program is supported by Oncopole, the Pôle cancer FRQS and the Unité de soutien SSA du Québec, in collaboration with the Programme québécois de cancérologie (PQC) of the Ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux.

CONTEXT

The complementarity of the expertise of health professionals and cancer patients is increasingly recognized. Through active collaboration, patient-partners provide added value through their experiential knowledge.

To achieve its mission to mobilize research driven by patient needs, Oncopole assembled a committee of patient-partners whose initial mandate was to identify the issues on which research teams are invited to focus, in close cooperation with patient-partners.

1. PROJECT ELIGIBILITY

General objective

To fund applied research projects in real contexts to improve the care and service experience and quality of life of cancer patients and their loved ones.

Funded projects must provide health and social services professionals, managers, decision-makers and community groups with tools to implement new practices to benefit users (patients and their loved ones).

Training and support led by the Unité de soutien SSA du Québec will be available to teams to ensure members have the tools required to integrate the principles of the learning health system, including patient partnerships, when defining and carrying out their research projects.

Research themes and relevant program criteria

Projects must make it their priority to address one or more issues raised by the Oncopole patient-partner committee. The issues are categorized based on the terminology used in the Pan-Canadian Framework for Cancer Survivorship Research:

Survivors’ experience and outcomes

  • Functional and economic impacts and outcomes of cancer and its treatment
  • Informational and self-management needs of survivors
  • Interventions to address psychosocial needs

Late and long-term effects

  • Mechanisms of late and long-term effects and predictors of high-risk
  • Informational needs of patients and caregivers
  • Oversight mechanisms to detect delayed effects and their repercussions
  • Interventions to prevent and reduce delayed medical and psychosocial effects

Models of care

  • Interventions to improve consistency, coordination and integration of follow-up care, including transitions in care

Cross-cutting themes

  • Engagement of survivors in both the research and program/policy decision-making processes
  • Improved strategies and mechanisms for healthcare providers to communicate reliable information
  • Knowledge translation, where appropriate, to ensure findings are communicated and delivered in understandable and relevant ways

The projects must align with the intervention priorities of the PQC as they pertain to the response to patient needs.

IMPORTANT: Directors, co-directors, coordinators and members of the Unité de soutien SSA Québec who were involved, directly or indirectly, in the development of the program or who signed a confidentiality agreement related to the competition cannot join a team that prepares and submits a letter of intent and complete application to the program. Failure to comply with this rule shall automatically render the proposed project ineligible. However, when the FRQS grant is confirmed, directors, co-directors, coordinators and members of the Unité de soutien SSA Québec may join the funded team as co-investigators or collaborators. The project leader must inform the FRQS of the additions to the team as soon as possible.

Directors, co-directors, coordinators and members of the Unité de soutien SSA Québec identified as the principal investigator, co-investigators or collaborators on a proposal must delegate responsibility for supporting research teams to a colleague who possesses similar experience.

2. PRINCIPLES OF A LEARNING HEALTH SYSTEM AND PATIENT-CENTRED RESEARCH

Definition: Learning Health System

The learning health system (LHS) approach aims to establish a continuous cycle to improve clinical and organizational practices in three steps: practice to data (data management), data to knowledge (data development) and knowledge to practice (change management). A partnership between all individuals and organizational stakeholders in health research, care and social services is essential within an LHS. Therefore, an LHS is a dynamic care ecosystem in which the scientific, clinical, social, technological, political and ethical aspects are aligned to integrate current practices into the learning and ongoing improvement cycles, which ultimately aim to support the transfer of emerging knowledge rooted in comparisons of practices in real settings and best practices.

The overarching four-fold objective of the LHS is to enhance:

  1. patient experiences and care trajectories;
  2. population health;
  3. health system efficiency;
  4. the wellbeing of the human resources in health and social services.

Specific requirements related to patient-centred research (PCR)

Research Partnership with users (patients and their loved ones based on the research theme)

  • Users must be involved in drafting the application and throughout the project as part of a co-creative approach, in accordance with applicable practices.
  • Teams that apply must demonstrate that the proposed practice targets the priorities identified by the Oncopole patient-partner committee, as detailed in the RESEARCH THEMES section, and provides practical and measurable benefits for users.

Action research approach

The project stakeholders (researchers, health and social services professionals, managers and users) must be involved in the project’s various steps, from results interpretation to knowledge transfer and appropriation.

3. CALL FOR PROPOSALS AND PROJECT FOLLOW-UP

Steps

1. Submission of letters of intent and assessment of relevance

Teams must submit a letter of intent based on the requirements detailed in the REQUIRED DOCUMENTS AND EVALUATION sections.

The relevance of the letter of intent will be assessed by program partners, and recommendations will be made for the submission of a complete application, when appropriate. Only the most relevant letters of intent will move on to the next step in the competition.

2. Mandatory methodology workshop led by the Unité de soutien SSA du Québec in collaboration with Oncopole

Following the assessment of the relevance of the letters of intent, the FRQS will invite teams to submit a complete application. The Unité de soutien SSA du Québec will then assist them in the development of their proposals at a methodology workshop held during the week of December 6, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. (location to be determined). Note that teams must take part in the workshop to submit a complete application.

Jointly organized by Oncopole, the Unité de soutien SSA du Québec and the FRQS, the methodology workshop aims to:

  • provide researchers, health and social services professionals, managers and users with an opportunity to network;
  • support teams in drafting a complete application with respect to applicable practices pertaining to LHSs and user engagement;
  • steer teams with regard to knowledge appropriation in clinical settings;
  • provide information and tips on accessing administrative and clinical data.

3. Submission of complete applications and scientific evaluation

A joint committee of peers, independent researchers and users trained in PCR and action research will assess the applications using the criteria detailed in the EVALUATION section.

SUPPORT AND PROJECT FOLLOW-UP

The teams that are awarded funding will receive support from the Unité de soutien SSA du Québec throughout their projects. The Unité will offer consultations tailored to the projects and needs of the research teams in the areas of:

  • learning health systems;
  • capacity building;
  • data organization and management;
  • patient-public partnership;
  • health economics;
  • data development;
  • equity, diversity and inclusion;
  • Indigenous health;
  • PREMs and PROMs.

4. APPLICANT ELIGIBILITY

Conditions

A team may be made up of researchers, health and social services professionals, managers and users. Researchers must have the status of university researcher, clinical university researcher or college researcher (see Definitions section of the Common General Rules).

Team structure

The team must include:

  • A principal investigator (PI) with university researcher or clinical university researcher status under the Common General Rules who will represent the project and act as the scientific director and manager, in accordance with the administrative conditions and requirements of the FRQS. The principal investigator’s home institution shall manage the funding;

AND

  • A co-investigator with 4c status under the Common General Rules (e.g. physician or health and social services professional) who represents a user community;

AND

  • A user (patient or patient partner) with 4e status under the Common General Rules. Note that the identity of the user may be confirmed when submitting the complete application.

An unlimited number of additional team members may join as co-investigators (statuses 1, 2, 3, 4a, 4b, 4c and 4e under the Common General Rules).

An unlimited number of additional team members may join as collaborators (any individual who has one of the four statuses under the Common General Rules).

Individuals with a student status under the Common General Rules are not eligible to contribute as collaborators.

The role and research status of each team member must be clearly detailed in the documents submitted for evaluation. Team members, including users, must demonstrate how they collaborate or actively collaborate on the proposed project and specify the amount of time they allocate to the project or their level of involvement.

The program partners strongly encourage collaboration between researchers with expertise in different sectors, as well as the integration of new researchers.

Professional corporations

Team members who are health and social services professionals must provide proof that they are members in good standing of the professional order that governs their sector in Québec, have a valid license to practice in Québec and have professional liability insurance.

Multiple applications

An individual may contribute to up to two (2) applications to this competition as a team member.

However, a co-investigator (statuses 1, 2, 3, 4a, 4b, 4c) may only submit one complete application as a principal investigator.

Ethics

Team members with 1, 2, 3, 4a and 4b status must comply with the standards pertaining to the ethical conduct of research detailed in the Common General Rules.

Basic research ethics training

Basic research ethics training is mandatory for all team researchers with 1, 2, 3, 4a and 4b status, since the projects involve humans. Other team members are also encouraged to follow the training.

Research on humans involves:

  • the participation of humans as subjects;
  • the use of human biological material (parts, products, tissues, cells, genetic material derived from the human body) from a living or deceased person;
  • assisted reproduction activities or the use of embryos derived therefrom, within the meaning of the Act respecting clinical and research activities relating to assisted reproduction (R.S.Q. Chapter A-5.01);
  • the use of administrative, scientific or descriptive data from humans.

Participants must successfully complete levels 1 and 3 of the online tutorial in research ethics of the Ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux du Québec.

The first payment is conditional upon the successful completion of the training program.  

5. REQUIRED DOCUMENTS – LETTER OF INTENT

  • The documents must be duly transmitted to the FRQS via the form in the FRQ electronic portfolio of the principal investigator.
  • Missing documents and required documents that do not comply with the competition rules or e-forms may make the application ineligible.
  • The team shall not be notified when a required document is missing from the application.
  • Documents received after the submission deadline for the letter of intent shall not be considered. Applications shall not be updated.
  • Documents that are not required but transmitted with the letter of intent shall be removed from the application prior to the evaluation.
  • No extensions. Forms that are not transmitted by the deadlines shall be automatically rejected.

Every co-investigator must consent to being part of the team prior to the deadline to submit a complete application set by the managing institution. Otherwise the principal investigator shall not be eligible to submit the application form. Co-investigators who have not created their FRQnet account should go to the toolbox and follow the steps to do so.

Team leader (university researcher or clinical university researcher)

NOTE: The letter of intent must be submitted to the FRQS by the team leader (university researcher or clinical university researcher) and must include:

  • Priorité patient letter of intent e-form
  • Canadian Common CV (Funding CV version for FRQS – updated on June 1, 2020)
  • Detailed contributions (updated on June 1, 2020 – consult Instructions for the detailed contributions and the Canadian Common CV – FRQS in the Toolbox)

Only teams whose letter of intent is deemed eligible will be invited to submit a complete application.

Co-investigators (status 1, 2, 3 and 4a)

  • Canadian Common CV (Funding CV version for FRQS – updated on June 1, 2020)
  • Detailed contributions (updated on June 1, 2020) (consult Instructions for the detailed contributions and the Canadian Common CV – FRQS in the Toolbox)

Important: Status 4a co-investigators must send their CCV and detailed contributions in PDF format to the principal investigator.

Co-investigators (status 4b, 4c)

  • Up-to-date short CV (maximum 2 pages)
  • Detailed contributions (updated on June 1, 2020, and the competition deadline) (consult Instructions for the detailed contributions and the Canadian Common CV – FRQS in the Toolbox)

Important: These documents must be sent to the principal investigator.

 Users (status 4e) (if already identified)

  • Up-to-date short CV (maximum 2 pages)

6. REQUIRED DOCUMENTS – COMPLETE APPLICATION

  • The letter of intent must be transmitted through the e-form available in the FRQ electronic portfolio of the principal investigator.
  • Missing documents and required documents that do not comply with competition rules or e-forms may make the application ineligible.
  • The team shall not be notified when a required document is missing from the application.
  • Documents received after the submission deadline for the letter of intent shall not be considered. Applications shall not be updated.
  • Documents that are not required but transmitted with the letter of intent shall be removed the application prior to the evaluation.
  • No extensions. Forms that are not transmitted by the deadlines shall be automatically rejected.

Team leader (university researcher or clinical university researcher)

The complete application must be submitted by the principal investigator and include:

  • Priorité patient letter of intent e-form
  • Canadian Common CV (Funding version for FRQS – updated on June 1, 2020)
  • Detailed contributions (updated on June 1, 2020) (consult Instructions for the detailed contributions and the Canadian Common CV – FRQS in the Toolbox)
  • Clinician: letter from the director of the clinical department or dean of the faculty detailing the number of hours the applicant will be released from her/his clinical obligations to carry out the research project (only for clinicians who do not hold an FRQS career award)

Co-investigators (status 1, 2, 3 and 4a)

  • Canadian Common CV (Funding CV version for FRQS – updated on June 1, 2020)
  • Detailed contributions (updated on June 1, 2020 – consult Instructions for the detailed contributions and the Canadian Common CV – FRQS in the Toolbox)
  • Clinician: letter from the director of the clinical department or dean of the faculty detailing the number of hours the applicant will be released from her/his clinical obligations to carry out the research project (only for clinicians who do not hold an FRQS career award)

Important: Co-investigators with 4a status must send their CCV and detailed contributions in PDF format to the principal investigator. In addition, clinical researchers must provide the principal investigator with the letter from the director of the clinical department.

Co-investigators (status 4b, 4c)

  • Up-to-date short CV (maximum 2 pages)
  • Detailed contributions (updated on June 1, 2020, and the competition deadline – consult Instructions for the detailed contributions and the Canadian Common CV – FRQS in the Toolbox)

Important: These documents must be sent to the principal investigator.

Users (status 4e)

  • Up-to-date short CV (maximum 2 pages)
  • Letter of motivation and description of the nature of the expertise they contribute to the project (maximum 2 pages)

7. RESEARCH LOCATION

Choice of research location

Québec university, college institution, FRQS group or centre or institution of the Ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux (MSSS).

Refer to the list of institutions recognized by the FRQ to manage funding.

Change of research location

The FRQS expects the grant holder to lead her/his project in the institution or university that endorsed the application for the entire duration of the grant period.

A grant holder who wants to change research location must submit her/his request to the FRQS in writing. The application must detail the reasons for the change, as well as the potential impacts on the research project.

University or institution administrators must provide the FRQS with written approval of the change.

Administrators of the new research centre or university department of the new research location must advise the FRQS in writing of their willingness to welcome the grant holder.

The conditions surrounding changes to the research location and any other change made during the grant period are detailed in Section 6 of the Common General Rules.

8. GRANT PERIOD

Term

Up to 2 years

Start date

July 2022

9. AMOUNT OF THE GRANT

Amount

The maximum amount for this program is $200,000 per project over two (2) years.

The program has a minimum budget of $600,000. As a result, at least three (3) projects will be funded.

Indirect costs of research

This program does not benefit from the amount paid out by the FRQS and its partners to cover the indirect costs of research.

10. EXPENSES

Eligible

In addition to the list of eligible research expenses detailed in Section 8 of the Common General Rules, the following expenses are eligible:

  • Master’s and doctoral awards or scholarships, postdoctoral fellowships and supplements and, where applicable, salaries for graduate students and postdoctoral fellows
  • Salaries for research assistants
  • Fees and reimbursement of travel expenses for human research subjects
  • Key resources who are essential to the project, including the cost of leaves of absences to participate in team activities (when the leaves require replacements).
  • Institutions may be compensated directly from the project budget to replace the professionals participating in the project.
  • Compensation for physicians for the time dedicated to project-related professional activities that are not billable to the RAMQ, in accordance with the agreements between the MSSS and the medical associations (FMOQ, FMSQ) (excluding the project leaders)
  • Compensation for users involved in the research process

Not eligible

  • Salaries for researchers and team leaders
  • Costs related to the development, refurbishment, rental and maintenance of facilities and costs covered by the host institution
  • Salaries for employees in the health and social services network working in the institution or medical clinic during the development of the project and who are not replaced in their regular duties
  • Purchase of major equipment
  • All costs incurred by the institution, clinic or its partners before the project is presented to the FRQS

Funds may not be transferred outside Québec.

11. EVALUATION

Letter of intent

A relevance assessment committee made up of representatives from Oncopole, the PQC, the Unité de soutien SSA du Québec and the patient-partners will review and select letters of intent based on relevance criteria that meet the objectives of the program and research themes.

Only the teams whose letter of intent was selected by the relevance assessment committee will be invited to submit a complete application. The FRQS will advise the applicants by email.

The recommendations from the relevance assessment committee will be sent to the applicants and the joint committee responsible for reviewing the complete applications.

The relevance criteria are as follows:

  • Alignment of project objectives with the competition priorities. Team members must highlight the relevance of their project with a view to improve the care and services provided to users.
  • Demonstration of innovative and cutting-edge aspects of the practice. Information on the practical components must be clear and detailed.
  • Project feasibility. The practical and measurable benefits expected for the users must be defined.
  • Demonstration of user involvement in the project. The letter of intent must state the anticipated methods to engage users.
  • Project’s inclusion in a learning health system perspective. Considered as a whole, the project has a high potential to improve patient care experiences and outcomes, population health and the efficiency of the system. It must also account for the wellbeing of the human resources in health and social services (four-fold objective). The project is in line with the principles of the LHS cycle and includes ongoing improvement cycles in the care trajectory.

Complete application

The complete application will be reviewed by a joint committee of scientific and health and social services experts, according to current FRQS rules for the composition of review committees. Users will also sit on the joint review committee. They will be selected through a rigorous process by the members of Oncopole and the Stratégie de partenariat de recherche avec les patients et le public of the Unité de soutien SSA du Québec.

The evaluation criteria for complete applications are as follows:

Project (30%)

  • Scientific quality of the project and methodological rigour
  • Originality and coherence of the project
  • Clarity of objectives
  • Practicality and significance of anticipated outcomes
  • Alignment with the principles of LHS

Team (10%)

  • Scientific expertise of the researchers
  • Complementarity of team members’ expertise
  • Significance and quality of scientific achievements (publications, development of structuring initiatives, national and/or international impact, etc.)

Quality and coherence of the plan to engage users in the research (20%)

  • Description of the users’ roles and expectations in preparing the application
  • Description of the users’ roles and expectations in the project’s governance and implementation
  • Demonstration of the motivation and interest of users and their loved ones to play an active role in the research project

Feasibility (10%)

  • Scientific, technical and operational feasibility of the project
  • Practicality of the project schedule
  • Relevance of follow-up indicators

Benefits, knowledge transfer and mobilization strategy (30%)

  • Alignment with the concerted efforts and aims of Oncopole, the Unité de soutien SSA du Québec, the PQC and the FRQS to provide Québec with new capabilities in terms of research, application and knowledge transfer to support the transformation of oncology care and services
  • Proposed strategies in order to ensure the results lead to improved care and services and better quality of life for users with respect to one or more of the issues raised (research themes) by the Oncopole patient-partners committee

Budget (qualitative)

  • Detailed and realistic justification of the requested budget

Note: The minimum passing score is 70%.

12. RESEARCH OUTCOMES, FOLLOW-UP AND KNOWLEDGE TRANSFER

Submission of reports

When they accept the grant, the grant holders agree to produce:

  • annual financial reports and a final financial report by the deadlines indicated by the FRQS;
  • an annual scientific report and a final report in the three months following the end of the grant.

Funded teams commit to participating in the mobilization activities of Oncopole and its partners, including annual events and workshops.

Use and dissemination of the results by partners

Upon accepting the funding, the investigator grants a non-exclusive and non-transferable license to the FRQS (on behalf of Oncopole), the Unité de soutien SSA du Québec and any partners that may join the program after its launch, of her or his copyright on the final scientific report without territorial limits, for an unlimited duration and for non-commercial purposes. This license allows the FRQS (on behalf of Oncopole) and partners, if applicable, to reproduce, adapt, publish, translate and communicate the final scientific report to the public by any means (conferences, websites, Facebook, Twitter, etc.). The grant holder garantees to the FRQS (on behalf of Oncopole) and the other partners (if applicable) that she/he owns all rights to consent to this copyright license. When using the material, the partners shall acknowledge the authors.

Open access

In accordance with the open access policy for the dissemination of research of the Fonds de recherche du Québec, the investigators and co-investigators of a funded project must undertake to make their scientific publications available in open access in the twelve (12) months following their release. For more information on the FRQ’s requirements, go to the Open Science section of the website.

Knowledge mobilization

The FRQS encourages grant holders to conduct and participate in knowledge mobilization activities (transfer, sharing, development, enhancement and dissemination) in practice settings and for the public, whenever relevant. For more information, see the knowledge mobilization page.

13. STATEMENT ON EQUITY, DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION

The Fonds de recherche du Québec seek to contribute to supporting a research ecosystem based on equity, diversity and inclusion. Measures have been implemented to strengthen the integration of these principles. Award and grant holders are also encouraged to consider them in the context of their research activities. For more information, see our statements on equity, diversity and inclusion.

14. INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY

Grant holders, and the institutions they are affiliated with, hold all copyrights for the intellectual property with respect to the original raw data, interim research works and funded project results, in keeping with the internal rules pertaining to intellectual property of the institutions.

Furthermore, owing to Oncopole’s mission is to mobilize oncology resources in Québec and federating vision, copyright holders from funded projects, including the institutions involved, are expected to remain involved and update Oncopole so the results of the co-funded projects become instrumental to the pursuit of Oncopole’s objectives, with the ultimate goal that each project will serve Québec society.

15. PARTNERS

  • Oncopole- pôle cancer du FRQS
  • Fonds de recherche du Québec – Santé
  • Unité de soutien SSA du Québec

Note: By accepting a grant under this program, the grant holder agrees that the partner(s) may communicate with her or him regarding grant-related activities.

16. APPENDIX A - PROTECTION OF PERSONAL AND SCIENTIFIC INFORMATION

The forms filled out for this competition are intended to collect personal and scientific information about you. The information will be used and kept by the Fonds de recherche du Québec – Santé (FRQS). The FRQS will confidentially share the information and evaluation reports with the executive team of Oncopole (whose offices are located at Université de Montréal) and program partners (including those that may join the program after the launch of the competition). The FRQS is subject to the Act respecting Access to documents held by public bodies and the Protection of personal information (CQLR, c. A-2.1).

The FRQS will share the letters of intent, complete applications, evaluation reports and financial and scientific reports with the competition partners.

For more information, please refer to the statement on the protection of personal and confidential information of applicant and awardee files.