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General program characteristics
This document presents an overview of the main terms and conditions of the program and is primarily intended for potential partners who would like to launch a call for proposals in collaboration with the FRQNT.
General program characteristics
The Partnership Research Projects program refers to the Common General Rules (CGR) of the FRQ, which are applicable to all FRQNT programming. See the call for proposals guide for any competition-specific rules that prevail over the Common General Rules. the following text presents an overview of the main terms and conditions of the program and is mainly intended for potential partners who would like to launch a call for proposals in collaboration with the FRQNT.
To view ongoing calls for proposals please click here.
Table of contents
- Process overview
- General eligibility requirements
- Presentation of the letter of intent and funding application
- Description and nature of funding
- Duration of grants
- Conditions for disbursement of grant instalments
- Project deliverables
- Evaluation of deliverables
- Research ethics and Conformity
- Integrity of the evaluation process
- Liability of the Fonds
- False or misleading information
- Open access to research results
- Equity, diversity and inclusion
- Other aspects
- General considerations
The general objective of the Partnership Research Projects program is to foster interactions and partnerships between university and college researchers, economic and government partners and potential users of research, in areas of strategic importance to Québec. In particular, the program aims to:
- Boost the development of new scientific and technological skills and expertise urgently needed in Québec through research;
- Stimulate the interest of Québec researchers in the priority research and training needs expressed by government, institutional and industrial partners;
- Encourage the training and development of new teams of emerging researchers and the consolidation of existing teams;
- Enhance research potential in fields considered to be a priority for Québec and train a new generation of researchers;
- Foster links between researchers from Québec and Canada and international researchers with recognized scientific merit.
2. Process overview
The process begins with the signature of a memorandum of understanding between the FRQNT and the financial partner. Research needs are determined by the partner with input from the FRQNT. A call for proposals guide is jointly developed, followed by a launch within the Québec scientific community.
Stage 1: Evaluation of relevance – letter of intent
All researchers wishing to take part in the program must submit a letter of intent via their FRQnet electronic portfolio. The letter of intent is evaluated by a relevance committee made up of representatives of the program partner(s) and a resource person from the FRQNT. The purpose of this first stage is to assess the appropriateness and relevance of the letter of intent in relation to the objectives and needs presented in the call for proposals guide. The relevance evaluation criteria and their weighting are specified in the call for proposals guide.
Stage 2: Scientific evaluation – funding application
Only those researchers whose letters of intent are deemed relevant are invited to submit a funding application via their FRQnet electronic portfolio. The funding application is evaluated by a scientific committee made up of national and international research experts in the fields of the applications submitted. Representatives of the program’s financial partner(s) attend the scientific evaluation meeting as observers. A resource person from the FRQNT is also present. The scientific evaluation criteria and their weighting are specified in the call for proposals guide.
The deadline for the submission of letters of intent is generally about 2 months after the official launch of the call for proposals. A period of around 6 weeks is then required between the announcement of the relevance decisions and the submission of funding applications. Once the applications have been submitted, a minimum of 6 weeks is required for their evaluation by the scientific committee. Therefore, a minimum period of 6 months is to be expected between the launch of a call for proposals and the announcement of grant awards.
4. General eligibility requirements
Only letters of intent and funding applications from research fields covered by the FRQNT are eligible, unless otherwise indicated in the call for proposals guide.
Only a researcher with one of the following statuses may lead a research project (see researcher status definitions in the FRQ Common General Rules):
- University researcher*;
- Clinical university researcher;
- College researcher**.
* Only researchers who receive a salary under definition i) of criterion a) in the Common General Rules may lead a project. Researchers who receive a salary under definition ii) of criterion a) of the Common General Rules cannot lead a project under this program, but can join the team as co-investigators.
** Under this program, a college researcher can have a master’s or PhD, or an equivalent qualification recognized by a Québec university.
Retired researchers cannot lead a project under this program but can join the team as co-investigators.
A co-investigator is an individual who is part of an application for funding and whose CV is required and considered in the scientific review process. Co-investigators make a significant contribution or provide specific expertise to the project or research program for which funding is requested.
Research projects must be carried out by teams of at least two co-investigators, including the principal investigator, with one of the following statuses (see full researcher status definitions in the FRQ Common General Rules):
- University researcher;
- Clinical university researcher;
- College researcher*;
- Other research statuses**.
* Under this program, a college researcher can have a master’s or PhD, or an equivalent qualification recognized by a Québec university.
** Including categories a) to e), unless otherwise indicated in the call for proposals guide.
The team may be joined by one or more other collaborators. A collaborator is an individual reported by the principal investigator to provide a specific expertise to the project or research program for which funding is requested. Collaborators do not provide their CV and may not be delegated to manage part of the funds through an inter-institutional transfer.
Participation of researchers in other teams
Researchers may not belong to more than two teams under the same call for proposals, either as principal investigator or co-investigator.
An obligatory minimum of 30% of the grant must be dedicated to the training of new researchers. These funds must be used to contribute to salaries, scholarships and scholarship supplements for college or university students, award holders and postdoctoral fellows involved in project activities.
To be eligible to apply for a grant, the applicant (principal investigator) must be employed by an institution recognized by the FRQ to manage funding at the time of application. Every funding year, the managing institution must confirm that it continues to employ the funding recipient on an ongoing basis (including maintaining appropriate visas, if applicable).
Other sources of funding
The research project cannot be concurrently funded by another granting agency, unless it is possible to demonstrate that the two funding mechanisms are complementary.
Other eligibility requirements depending on the call for proposals
Specific eligibility conditions may be set out in the call for proposals guide, such as the requirement that the research project be carried out with the contribution of a partner in a practice setting.
Ongoing process of eligibility
Eligibility is an ongoing process that extends to the end of the period covered by the grant.
5. Presentation of the letter of intent and funding application
The letter of intent and funding application must be completed using the form available in the principal investigator’s FRQnet E-portfolio.
The Fonds uses the Common Canadian CV and requires the attachment of a PDF file of detailed contributions in the FRQnet E-Portfolio. Proof that publications have been submitted, accepted or are in press must be included in the PDF document. Refer to Preparing a CV for the Fonds and Detailed Contributions attachment to the Common Canadian CV in the FRQnet E-Portfolio for more details. It is important to note that the Common Canadian CV and PDF file of detailed contributions must have been updated at least once since June 2018 to be accepted by the system.
Letters of intent and funding applications can be written in English or French. However, the project title and summary must be in French.
The managing institution must first approve the letter of intent and funding application via FRQnet before they are submitted to the FRQNT. It is therefore likely that the institution has set an internal deadline earlier than the actual competition deadline. It is important to take this into account and to prepare and submit the documents to the institution within the required time frame, given the large number of applications and requests received by the Fonds at the end of the competition period.
Presentation standards for file attachments
Unless otherwise indicated, all files attached to the electronic letter of intent and funding application forms must meet the following requirements:
- Files must be prepared on 8½ x 11 inch pages (216 mm x 279 mm)
- Files must be submitted in PDF format without password protection
- Pages must be single-spaced with a maximum of 6 lines per inch
- All text must be in Times New Roman font (12 pt.) for users of Microsoft Office or Open Office, or Nimbus Roman font (12 pt.) for LaTeX users
- Margins must be at least 1.9 cm (¾ in.)
- Pages must be identified as follows:
- Upper right corner: applicant’s last and first names
- Upper left corner: title of document
- Bottom centre: page number
The maximum number of pages, including tables, figures and references, varies according to the type of document and is specified in the form. PDF files that do not meet these requirements will be removed from the application. Elements missing from the application will not be requested. Any documents received after the letter of intent or application deadline will not be considered and applications cannot be updated. Pages that exceed the maximum page limit will be removed. An incomplete application may be deemed ineligible. These rules will be strictly applied.
If necessary, the principal investigator must demonstrate, within the project description, how he/she will take into consideration sex and gender issues in the realization of the research project.
All required documents and files, including the Canadian Common CV and its PDF attachment of detailed contributions, must be submitted at the same time as the electronic letter of intent and funding application forms.
6. Description and nature of funding
The maximum grant amount is generally set at $100,000 per year for up to three years. This amount may vary depending on the call for proposals. Indirect costs of research (FIR) of 27% should be indicated.
In determining eligibility of expenses, the Fonds adhere to the principles of sound management of public funds. They require all expenses to be directly attributable to and necessary for the execution of the activities specified in the grant application, and permitted under the program rules. The Fonds are committed to ensuring that no expense should serve to provide personal gain or be used for a purpose that is not directly related to the funded research activities. Public funds need to be tightly and wisely managed.
The following budget items are generally eligible under the Partnership Research Projects program:
Remuneration according to prevailing institutional standards (including social benefits)
- College students
- Undergraduate students
- Master’s students
- PhD students
- Postdoctoral fellows
- Research professionals
- Research technicians
Scholarships and scholarship supplements
- College students
- Undergraduate students
- Master’s students
- PhD students
- Postdoctoral fellows
- Travel costs related to the research*
- Conferences (seminars, symposia, lectures)*
- Research materials and supplies
- Laboratory animals
- Study participants
- Scientific services or expertise
- Safety and secure disposal of waste
- Equipment (item purchase under $7,000, rental, operating costs, maintenance, installation, repairs)
- Transport of material and equipment
- Computer supplies
- Databank purchase and access
- Publications demonstrating the production’s contribution to the advancement of knowledge, intended for the research community
- Publications intended for non-academic readership
- Dissemination of works and performances
- Digital platforms: websites and social media
- Organization of events or activities
* See also work-family balance measures in the Common General Rules.
The FRQ support sustainable development. The reuse of equipment and the purchase of used material are therefore permitted, where appropriate.
Expenses related to the dissemination of research results to the public (e.g.: media relations, video production, general public activities, production of popularized content for mass media, the web and social media) and those generated through ethics activities are also eligible.
Budget items may be modified, added or removed depending on the call for proposals.
Salary support for college and college centres for technology transfer (CCTT) researchers
In addition to the operating grant, salary support of up to $16,000 (equivalent to 0.2 FTE of duties) may be granted annually to a college or CCTT researcher should the latter request it.
Salary support is intended for full-time college or CCTT researchers. College or CCTT researchers who do not have a permanent position are eligible provided they maintain their employment relationship with a college institution throughout the period covered by the research project. Any person who does not hold a teaching position in a college or a research position in a CCTT is not eligible for salary support.
Maternity leave for students
A student who receives an award funded by a grant under this program is entitled to up to eight months of maternity leave paid by the FRQNT for the birth or adoption of a child. To be eligible, the student must have been paid from the FRQNT grant for at least 6 months. In addition, she may not hold an award from another granting agency and may not receive benefits from the Québec Parental Insurance Plan (QPIP).
To obtain paid maternity leave, the student must send a request by e-mail to the program manager and provide a copy of the medical certificate attesting to the pregnancy and, when the time comes, the child’s birth or adoption certificate and proof of interruption of university enrolment. In addition, a copy of the student’s award contract must be provided.
Maternity leave may begin before the birth or adoption of the child. If permitted by the institution, the student may extend the leave for an additional period of four months without pay. The FRQNT will transfer the maternity leave grant to the student upon receipt of the required documents.
Maternity leave is authorized by the Fonds provided that the institution allows maternity leave. The grant director undertakes to resume supervision of the student after her leave. The Fonds reserves the right to reject any request that is not adequately justified.
7. Duration of grants
Grants are generally awarded for two-year and three-year projects and are not renewable. Unexpended funds may be carried over from one year to the next for the duration of the grant. The balance remaining at the end of the grant period may be carried over to complete research activities for which the grant was awarded, but only for an additional period of one year ending on March 31. At the end of this period, the balance is returned to the FRQNT.
8. Conditions for disbursement of grant instalments
Allocation of the grant and disbursement of funds for the first year are conditional on:
- agreement by the principal investigator to carry out the research project according to the objectives and timeframe established in the funding application, with the financial resources granted and in compliance with the conditions set out in the summary sheet accompanying the announcement letter;
- agreement by the principal investigator that a copy of the funding application be transmitted to the program’s funding partner for internal management purposes, in accordance with the rules for the consultation of confidential documents;
- the negotiation of intellectual property clauses by the grant recipient and his/her institution with their practice partner. These clauses must respect the basic principles regarding intellectual property set out in the FRQ Common General Rules as well as any other relevant conditions in the call for proposals guide, if applicable. The agreement reached with the practice partner must not prevent the grant recipient from disseminating the results (subject to a reasonable delay, for example, to submit a patent application). The agreement reached between the grant recipient, his/her institution and the practice partner must be sent to the FRQNT no later than nine months following the funding announcement, in order to release the first grant instalment.
All other funding conditions set out in the Common General Rules must also be respected. Any additional conditions will be indicated in the funding letter or at the time of subsequent payments.
9. Project deliverables
Funding for the second year is contingent on the submission of a progress report twelve months after the project start date. A portion of the grant may be withheld until a satisfactory final report is submitted as described in the call for proposals guide.
Funding for the second year is contingent on the submission, twelve months after the project start date, of a project update via the FRQnet E-portfolio. Funding for the third year is contingent on the submission of a progress report eighteen months after the project start date. A portion of the grant may be withheld until a satisfactory final report is submitted as described in the call for proposals guide.
The progress report describes the progress of the work at mid-term in relation to the objectives presented in the initial application, as well as to present a follow-up of the implementation schedule, the budget, as well as the training of students. This report is sent to the program partners, allowing them to assess the progress of the work. Follow-up indicators may be required.
Three months after the end of the research project, the results of the work must be the subject of a final report. This report presents the results obtained in relation to the objectives set out in the initial application. This report is sent to the program partners, allowing them to assess the quality of the results obtained. Follow-up indicators may be required. In some cases, the research results can be communicated through a forum organized by the FRQNT and the program partner.
The progress report and the final report can be written in French or in English. If the final report is written in English, it must be accompanied by a title and summary in French.
10. Evaluation of deliverables
The progress report and final report are subject to scientific evaluation coordinated by the FRQNT. Both reports are also transmitted to the project partners to allow them to assess the progress of the work. Partners may comment on the content of the reports to the FRQNT. The final decision to accept the progress report and final report is the prerogative of the FRQNT.
If the progress of the work is deemed unsatisfactory by the FRQNT following evaluation of the progress and final reports, this could result in the reduction, suspension or termination of funding. Failure to submit a report by the date indicated is interpreted as a decision on the part of the project leader not to continue the work. From that point on, grant instalments will no longer be paid and a final report must be provided by the project leader.
In the event that the final report has not been filed within the prescribed deadline or if the final report is not accepted by the FRQNT in accordance with the process described above, the person who holds the grant is not eligible to receive new financial assistance from any of the three Funds or may have their payments suspended from the FRQNT until this condition is met. If specific conditions apply in the submission of final reports, these are specified in the call for proposals guide.
11. Research ethics and Conformity
Any individual or institution that receives funding must demonstrate the highest standards of research ethics and scientific integrity. See the FRQ Common General Rules for further details.
12. Integrity of the evaluation process
At no time may applicants or their institutional authorities make contact with evaluation committee members, unless such contact is specified as part of the evaluation process. Similarly, evaluation committee members must not make contact with applicants, unless such contact is specifically indicated in the evaluation process. The identities of evaluation committee members are kept confidential to avoid any attempt at collusion. The Fonds reserve the right to withdraw an application from competition if there is any inappropriate intervention, lobby, undue influence or collusion during the evaluation process, as stipulated in the Policy for the Responsible Conduct of Research.
13. Liability of the Fonds
The Fonds make all reasonable efforts to ensure optimal service. They cannot be held liable for any direct or indirect damage resulting from their handling of applications for funding. Furthermore, without limiting the generality of the foregoing, the Fonds are not liable for any direct or indirect damage resulting from the disclosure of personal or confidential information that was not authorized by the Fonds.
14. False or misleading information
in any other document submitted at any time during the funding cycle, from the initial funding application to the final report. Applicants and funding holders must be transparent and provide accurate and precise information. They must be conscientious about advising the Fonds of any changes in their situation, where applicable.
Under the Act Respecting the Ministère de l’Enseignement supérieur, de la Recherche, de la Science et de la Technologie (CQLR, c. M-188.8.131.52), any individual who submits an application containing false or misleading information to obtain or procure financial support is committing an offence, is liable to a fine and could be barred from receiving financial support for a period of up to five years. Where a legal person commits such an offence, every director or representative of that legal person who was aware of the offence may be liable to a fine. Furthermore, such a declaration constitutes a breach of responsible research conduct, as set forth in the Fonds de recherche du Québec Policy for the Responsible Conduct of Research, and may be subject to sanctions in accordance with this policy.
The Fonds reserve the right to take immediate measures to stop the use of public funds obtained through false or misleading information, and to take legal action to recover fraudulently obtained funds and claim compensation for damages caused where appropriate.
15. Open access to research results
In accordance with the Fonds de recherche du Québec open access policy for the dissemination of research, the principal investigators and co-investigators belonging to a funded research group (research team, centre, network) must agree to provide open access to their scientific publications no later than 12 months after publication. To learn more about the FRQ’s requirements on this subject, please visit our page on Open science.
16. Equity, diversity and inclusion
The Fonds de recherche du Québec wish to contribute to supporting a research ecosystem based on equity, diversity and inclusion. Measures have been put in place to strengthen the integration of these principles. Funding recipients are also encouraged to consider them in the context of their research activities. For more information, please consult our statement on equity, diversity and inclusion.
17. Other aspects
Please refer to the Common General Rules for any questions regarding the responsible conduct of research, confidentiality and the protection of personal information, intellectual property and the protection of academic freedom.
18. General considerations
Researchers and institutions must meet the general eligibility requirements in effect at the time of submission of the letter of intent and the funding application. All specific program rules set out in the call for proposals guide and the Common General Rules must be followed throughout the period covered by the grant.