Competition year : 
2022-2023

Deadline (notice or letter of intent) : 
May 18th, 2021 at 16:00 (EST)

Deadline (application) : 
November 10th, 2021 at 16:00 (EST)

Announcement of results : 
End of April 2022

Amount : 
Maximum 250 000 $ for an emerging cluster and 500 000 $ for a mature cluster

Duration : 
2-6 years

COVID IMPACTS DIRECTIVES

In your application, you will be able to describe how the COVID-19 pandemic may have affected your research or training activities during the past few months, in order for this information to be considered in the evaluation of your application. Please refer to the document “Considering the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic in the evaluation of funding applications” for further information.

Program rules

This program refers to the FRQ’s Common General Rules (CGR), which govern all Fonds de recherche du Québec – Nature et technologies (FRQNT) programming. This document provides rules specifically applicable to the Strategic Clusters program, which take precedence over the CGR .

The link to the FRQnet electronic Portfolio and the forms associated with this competition are available under the Portal Access tab of the website. More information is available in the About FRQnet section. It is the applicant’s responsibility to choose the correct application form. Should an error occur, the Fonds will not transfer the application from one program to another and the application will be deemed ineligible.

The Fonds requires the Canadian Common CV and its PDF file of detailed contributions to be included in the appropriate section of the E-portfolio. The applicant must complete the Fonds Nature et technologies version of the Canadian Common CV, update this document within 12 months prior to the competition deadline, and complete the Detailed Contributions file in due form. Please refer to the Application Presentation Standards – FRQNT document, available in the program Toolbox, for complete presentation instructions.

A LETTER OF INTENT OR FUNDING APPLICATION SUBMITTED AFTER THE DEADLINE WILL BE DECLARED INADMISSIBLE BY THE FONDS.

Foreword

The Strategic Clusters program was designed as a unique means of structuring research in order to strengthen Québec’s research capacity in areas covered by the Fonds de recherche du Québec-Nature et technologies (FRQNT). To complement this biannual program, the FRQNT also offers a team research program that supports collaborative projects essential for the growth of fundamental research and future innovation in Québec.

The Strategic Clusters program recognizes two stages of development—Emerging and Mature—both of which meet research structuring needs that require optimal integration of researchers from various disciplines working on a common theme and ambitious scientific objectives. Collective in scope, strategic clusters must meet the highest standards of research excellence in their scientific, collaborative, networking, training, and knowledge democratization activities.

1. Objectives

The general objective of the FRQNT Strategic Clusters program is to bring together driving forces that will foster the emergence or strengthening of centres of excellence in research with benefits for knowledge, innovation and society.

More specifically, this funding program aims to:

  • Make the research system more integrated and dynamic through the emergence or consolidation of interdisciplinary and interinstitutional clusters of researchers;
  • Establish an enriching, diversifid and inclusive training and career development framework;
  • Pool human and material infrastructures;
  • Stimulate the optimal integration of researchers in large-scale initiatives;
  • Accelerate the democratization of knowledge in collaboration with user communities;
  • Contribute to the development and influence of Québec through investments in research.

2. Nature and characteristics of the cluster

2.1 Definition of a cluster

A strategic cluster is a structure that brings together researchers at all stages of career development, students, postdoctoral fellows and highly qualified personnel from different disciplines, sectors and post-secondary institutions across the province.

In addition to demonstrating an optimal integration of research expertise, this structure must be dynamic, creating an inclusive environment for discovery and innovation.

While striving for excellence in research, each strategic cluster must achieve its objectives by:

  • Developing joint and structuring initiatives;
  • Creating a dynamic and inclusive collaborative space;
  • Providing administrative and organizational support;
  • Sharing human and material infrastructures;
  • Contributing to the democratization of knowledge.

Each strategic cluster must distinguish itself from other groups or structuring entities working in the same or related fields in Québec and present unique strengths. Clusters must also contribute in an original way to major provincial, national and international research trends.

The Strategic Clusters program is a complement to Canadian research support programs including the Networks of Centres of Excellence, the Canada First Research Excellence Fund and the Innovation Fund of the Canada Foundation for Innovation.

Certain clusters may involve alliances, or even shared funding, between the Fonds de recherche du Québec – Nature et technologies, the Fonds de recherche du Québec – Société et Culture and the Fonds de recherche du Québec – Santé.

2.2 Stages of development of a cluster

2.2.1 Emerging cluster

Researchers can apply for funding as an emerging cluster to consolidate programming and strengthen a structure that has been in existence for a number of years. This funding is intended for a group that is not funded by the FRQNT but that is officially recognized by its managing institution or funded by its managing institution or by any funding agency AND has maintained a high level of exchange and networking activities and collaborative scientific productivity for at least two years prior to the submission of the letter of intent.

2.2.2 Mature cluster

This funding is intended for clusters that are currently fully funded or funded but undergoing restructuring under the FRQNT Strategic Clusters program and that wish to renew their grant. Such clusters are recognized and funded by both their managing institution and their partner institutions. An FRQNT-funded emerging cluster seeking subsequent funding following its emerging cluster grant as described in section 2.2.1 is also a mature cluster.

2.3 Membership in more than one cluster

A researcher may be a co-investigator in up to two strategic clusters funded by the FRQNT.

To encourage intersectoral collaboration, there is no limit to researcher membership in structures funded by the other Fonds de recherche du Québec (Fonds Santé Research Centres and Institutes and Fonds Société et Culture Strategic Clusters) (refer to the multiple membership requirements of the other Fonds). In addition, co-investigators may also work as collaborators with other university institutes, affiliated university centres or strategic clusters funded by the FRQ.

3. Eligibility conditions

The principal investigator and co-investigators of the cluster and their respective institutions must meet the current eligibility requirements, the Strategic Clusters program rules and the CGR at the time of submission of the letter of intent and funding application and throughout the funding period covered by the grant.

Any cluster, principal investigator or co-investigators who does not meet, or no longer meets, the eligibility requirements set out below is not, or is no longer, eligible.

3.1 Research fields

Only letters of intent and funding applications in research fields covered by the FRQNT are eligible.

3.2 Managing institution

The institution of the principal investigator submitting the application is designated as the managing institution. The managing institution of the cluster application must be a university recognized by the Fonds de recherche du Québec (FRQ) to manage funding.

3.3 Principal investigator

Only researchers corresponding to definition i) of Status 1 of the CGR and who work in a field covered by the FRQNT qualify for the role of principal investigator.

A contracted researcher who corresponds to definition i) of Status 1 of the CGR but who holds a non-tenure-track position must be identified as such in the letter of support from the managing institution. (See Section 4.1.3 for details).

3.4 composition of the cluster

A strategic cluster is composed of a principal investigator and a minimum of 12 co-investigators with CGR status 1, 2 or 3* and who come from a minimum of four different postsecondary institutions in Québec that are recognized by the Fonds de recherche du Québec.

At least 50% of the co-investigators in the cluster must work in research fields covered by the FRQNT.

* For the purposes of this program, college researchers (Status 3), regardless of research field, must hold at least a master’s degree and have the professional autonomy required to direct research projects and supervise students.

Retired researchers are eligible for the role of co-investigator in a cluster. In such cases, they must provide a letter from their institution (see Section 4.2.6 for details). They can also have the role of collaborator.

Collaborators

Collaborators must correspond to the definition provided at the beginning of the Common General Rules.

3.5 Support from managing and partner institutions

The managing institution must provide a letter of support describing the cluster’s place in its research development plan and state the type of support provided. The cluster must also receive contributions from the managing institution and partner institutions. “Contribution” is understood to mean a financial or in-kind commitment to the cluster throughout the duration of the grant awarded by the FRQNT.

4. Contents of the letter of intent and the funding application and required documents

This funding program has a two-step application process: the submission of a letter of intent (Step 1), followed by the submission of a full application (Step 2) by invitation only.

All documents and forms attached to the electronic letter of intent form, including detailed contributions, are available in the program Toolbox and must comply with the standards set out in the Presentation standards for application – FRQNT document, which is also available in the program Toolbox. Only forms provided in the program Toolbox will be accepted. All submitted documents may be in English or French.

4.1 Step 1: Letter of intent

All clusters, regardless of stage of development (emerging or mature), must submit a letter of intent.

A complete letter of intent consists of:

  1. The electronic letter of intent form;
  2. Updated Canadian Common CV and detailed contributions of the principal investigator;
  3. Updated Canadian Common CV and detailed contributions of the co-investigators who lead the program thrusts;
  4. A letter of support form from the managing institution;
  5. Contribution agreement forms from the managing institution AND partner institutions.

4.1.1 Electronic Letter of Intent form

The electronic letter of intent form is available in the E-portfolio of the principal investigator in FRQnet. The letter must include information on the expected composition of the cluster (number of institutions and co-investigators, disciplines) and the cluster’s stage of development.

Applicant clusters are asked to describe the following, using a maximum of 4 pages:

  • The main research structuring needs;
  • The unique and distinctive nature of the cluster within Québec, Canada and internationally;
  • The program and its alignment with the proposed composition;
  • The level of joint activites between the researchers of the cluster;
  • Anticipated impacts for knowledge, innovation and society;
  • The value-added benefit of the requested grant;
  • Development of the cluster related to funding obtained under this program (mature clusters only).

4.1.2 Canadian Common CV and detailed contributions

The Fonds uses the Canadian Common CV and also requires the attachment of a PDF file of detailed contributions (in the E-portolio).

For instructions on submitting your CCV to the Fonds, please refer to the document entitled Preparing a CV for the Fonds (see Toolbox).

Updates to personal contact information must be made in the “My profile” section of the FRQnet E-porfolio.

IMPORTANT: Every co-investigator listed in the letter of intent must give consent in the FRQnet Portal.

4.1.3 Letter of support form from the managing institution

This form is available in the program Toolbox. The completed and signed form must be added in the Other documents section in the letter of intent form no later than the deadline for submission of letters of intent (see Section 5 for details).

In this form, the managing institution must describe the place held by the cluster in its research development plan and the type of support provided. In addition, if the principal inverstigator is under contract, the institution mus confirm in the form that he or she will maintain this status throughout the duration of the grant.

4.1.4 Contribution agreement form

This form is available in the program Toolbox. This form must specify the managing institution’s contribution to the cluster, either financially or in kind. The form must be signed.

Each partner institution wishing to contribute to the cluster, either financially or in kind, must complete and sign a form. This contribution is not obligatory for every partner institution but is expected from institutions with a large number of co-invertigators in the cluster.

A single PDF document combining all the contribution agreement forms must be added in the Other documents section of the letter of intent form no later than the deadline for submission of letters of intent (see Section 5 for details).

4.2 Step 2: Funding application

Only principal investigators of clusters whose letters of intent are declared eligible and receive a positive assessment will be invited to submit a funding application.

The electronic funding application form is available in the E-portfolio of the principal investigator on FRQnet.

A complete funding application consists of:

  1. Report of the cluster’s past achievements;
  2. The electronic funding application form;
  3. Updated Canadian Common CV and detailed contributions of the principal investigator;
  4. Updated Canadian Common CV  and detailed contributions of co-investigators who lead the program thrusts;
  5. Data entered in the Support Module (Module d’appui);
  6. Letter of support form from the managing institution, if there are changes since the letter of intent;
  7. Contribution agreement forms from the managing institution AND partner institutions, if there are changes since the letter of intent.

4.2.1 Report of past achievements

This document is available in the program Toolbox. Applicant clusters are asked to describe past achievements in:

  • A maximum of 5 pages for emerging clusters;
  • A maximum of 10 pages for mature clusters.

4.2.2 Electronic funding application form

The funding application consists of a document to be attached to the form, of no more than 5 pages for mature clusters and 10 pages for emerging clusters, addressing each assessment criterion listed in Section 6.3 of this document.

4.2.3 Canadian Common CV and detailed contributions

IMPORTANT: Any new co-investigators added after the letter of intent must give consent in the FRQnet Portal.

4.2.4 Entering data in the Support Module (Module d’appui)

Instructions for completing the Support Module are provided in the program Toolbox.

4.2.5 Letter of support form from the managing institution

See Section 4.1.3 above.

4.2.6 Contribution agreement forms

See Section 4.1.4 above.

Specific requirement: The contribution agreement form of an institution with one or more retired co-investigators in the cluster must include a letter indicating that 1) before retirement, the researcher was a regular professor, 2) for the term of the grant, the researcher will have access to the facilities and the logistical support required to carry out research activities and 3) he/she will continue to train students, where applicable.

5. Procedure for submitting a letter of intent and funding application

The letter of intent and funding application must be completed using the forms available in the FRQnet portal of the person designated as the principal investigator of the cluster. The managing institution letter of support form and the contribution agreement form are available in the program Toolbox. Only the forms provided in the program Toolbox will be accepted.

The letter of intent and funding application along with all required documents must be submitted by the deadlines indicated below:

  • Letter of intent: May 18, 2021, 4 PM

The FRQNT will forward the responses to the managing institutions and the principal investigators concerned at the end of June 2021.

  • Funding application: November 10, 2021, 4 PM

Application eligibility will be announced in November 2021 and the visiting committees will meet in the winter of 2022 to assess the applications.

IMPORTANT: Institutional approval is required before transmission of the documents to the Fonds, both for the letter of intent and the funding application. It is important to take this into account when ensuring that documents are submitted before their respective deadlines.

6. Assessment of letters of intent and applications

Given the large number of clusters that have already been created, applicant clusters will need to distinguish themselves through their previous achievements and proposed programming, which must be in line with the program’s general and specific objectives.

6.1 Assessment of letters of intent

The Fonds ensures that the letter of intent meets the eligibility requirements set out in the program rules. All eligible letters of intent are then forwarded to a committee made up of FRQNT scientific advisors.

The following criteria are considered when analyzing the letters of intent:

  • Consistency with the specific program objectives (20 points);
  • The importance of strengthening Québec’s research and innovation system in the proposed research theme (15 points);
  • The specificity and uniqueness of the proposed theme compared to other existing groups or entities (20 points);
  • The integration of complementary research expertise to work on a research program for the development of a centre of excellence (20 points);
  • Anticipated benefits for knowledge, innovation and society (20 points);
  • Type of support offered by the managing and partner institutions (5 points).

Following the analysis of the above criteria, the letters of intent are classified as follows: relevant (final score of 85% or more) or not relevant (final score below 85%).

At the end of June 2021, the FRQNT will forward the responses to the managing institutions and the principal investigators concerned.

6.2 Application assessment

Funding applications are assessed by a multidisciplinary assessment committee (MAC) made up of university and college researchers and representatives from various public and private research organizations at the national and international levels. The composition of the committee is determined according to the number of funding applications submitted to the FRQNT and their fields of research.

The multidisciplinary assessment committee creates as many visiting committees (VCs) as necessary for the number of applications received. Visiting committees are composed of at least two members of the MAC and at least two outside specialists and are chaired by a member of the MAC. The Strategic Clusters program officer serves as an observer, resource person and secretary of the various VCs and is responsible for producing written reports of the proceedings.

The members of the VC individually carry out an in-depth analysis of the funding application. The day before the VC meetings, the members of the VC meet to discuss any elements that need to be clarified during the plenary assessment. VC meetings can take place in person or by videoconference.

Each visiting committee holds a series of meetings as follows:

Duration (minutes)Description
60Presentation by the principal investigator of the cluster.
60Meeting with the co-investigators who lead the program thusts and the principal investigator and coordinator of the cluster. Other co-investigators may join this group to demonstate the representativeness of the cluster.
60Meeting with students regarding the training and career development framework and the support put in place for the cluster.
120In-camera dinner meeting of the VC to prepare the meeting report.

The VC reports consider the performance of the strategic clusters in relation to the evaluation criteria in effect for the program, and according to the weighting applicable to the cluster’s stage of development.

The VC reports are then forwarded to the MAC, which analyzes each funding application based on the FRQNT’s comments and the evaluation criteria and assigns it a score. These numerical values are used to assign an overall percentage grade to each funding application and to rank the applications in order of merit.

The MAC recommends applications for funding, to be approved by the FRQNT Board of Directors.

Funding for clusters is established by the FRQNT based on the ranking and the budget available for the program.

IMPORTANT: Due to the highly competitive context of this program, the application assessment has a passing score of 85%.
SPECIFIC REQUIREMENT: Any mature cluster currently funded by the FRQNT with a score between 80% and 85% is considered to be undergoing restructuring (see Section 7 for the funding amount).

6.3 Evaluation criteria

Funding application for both emerging clusters and mature clusters are evaluated according the following criteria:

1-Composition of the cluster

  • Specificity, distinctiveness and, if applicable, complementarity of the cluster compared to other existing clusters or structures;
  • Optimal integration and synergistic effect of applying a diversity of research expertise to a common theme;
  • Added value and importance of the theme for the development of Québec and beyond;
  • Representative and exemplary governance.

2-Program

  • Originality and scope of the program with regard to the state and evolution of knowledge on the theme;
  • Program thrusts and suitability of the expertise that will ensure their articulation;
  • Added value of the pooling of common infrastructures (material and human) and services;
  • Contribution to the achievement of one or more UN sustainable development objectives.

3-Collaboration and vitality

  • Performance and productivity through joint research projects and collaborative activities between researchers;
  • Quality, diversity and scope of collaborative and networking activities between researchers, students and user communities;
  • Level of involvement of all experts in the vitality of the cluster;
  • Demonstration of the synergy between researchers through development and/or integration in large-scale initiatives (regional, national, international) that promote the profile of the cluster.

4-Host environment

  • Originality, scope and variety of activities promoting the attraction, integration, training and career development of students and faculty;
  • Participation and added value of and highly qualified technical staff;
  • Distinctive and unique nature of the support offered;
  • Contribution of the next generation of students and professors to the development of the excellence and reputation of the cluster.

5-Democratization of knowledge

  • Concrete actions taken to enhance the visibility, profile, reputation and strategic position of the cluster;
  • Scope of the exchanges and mechanisms put in place to promote dissemination, awareness and the appropriation of knowledge among communities, government members and the general public;
  • Quality, relevance and diversity of the activities associated with the development and promotion of knowledge on the theme (knowledge, innovation, society).

6- Equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI)

  • Implementation of concrete actions to promote EDI within the cluster;
  • Contribution to awareness and training of the cluster’s experts on EDI issues;
  • Consideration of EDI in the development and implementation of the democratization of knowledge to a diverse public.

Weighting of evaluation criteria according to stage of development of the cluster

Evaluation criteriaEmerging clusterMature cluster
1-Composition25 points10 points
2-Program30 points20 points
3-Collaboration and vitality15 points25 points
4-Host environment15 points20 points
5-Democratization of knowledge10 points20 points
6-Equity, diversity and inclusion5 points5 points

6.4 Follow-up

Mature clusters are subject to a mid-term visit. The principal investigators concerned are notified in advance of the conditions under which the visit will take place.

In addition, members of the FRQ meet with each managing institution, either in person or virtually, to discuss the contributions made to all of their clusters at the mid-term point.

Furthermore, each managing institution must provide the FRQNT with a financial report signed by the principal investigator, as specified in the CGR. The principal investigator must also update his or her file every 3 years using the Support Module. The Support Module will be accessible only for the purpose of preparing mid-term and renewal assessments, at times predetermined by the FRQNT. The Fonds will only issue a reminder to this effect at the time of the mid-term assessment. The assessment will examine the progress of the work based on the initial proposal submitted by the principal investigator. In light of the results of this assessment, the committee appointed by the FRQNT will recommend whether or not to continue the funding and formulate any other recommendations deemed appropriate.

7. Description and nature of financial assistance

Principal investigators should refer to the CGR for the rules governing the use and management of the grant.

The maximum grant amount is set at:

  • $500,000 per year for up to 6 years for a mature cluster applying for a renewal and for clusters previously funded as emerging clusters.
  • $250,000 per year for up to 2 years for an emerging cluster.
  • $200,000 for one year only for mature clusters considered to be undergoing restructuring.

The grant must be used to finance the human and material resources necessary for the proper functioning, vitality and profile of the cluster. These consist primarily of the resources needed to ensure coordination and sound governance, provide services to all co-investigators in the cluster and ensure visibility, outreach and democratization of knowledge to the research community and society.

7.1 Eligible expenses

Remuneration in accordance with institutional standards, taking into account benefits and annual salary increases. Total remuneration must not exceed 50% of the grant amount per year.
Total remunerations (a, b, c and d) must not exceed 50% of the grant amount per year
a) Coordinator100% of eligible salary (including benefits)
b) Administrative staffUp to 50% of salary (including benefits)
c) Research professionals and technicians
d) Other staff (communications manager, partner contact, activities, IT development)
College or CCTT researcherSee “Limits on certain expenses” (Section 7.2)
Support for students
College, undergraduate, master’s, doctoral students and posdoctoral fellowsStudent stipend (including benefits) ans scholarship supplements
Professional fees
Conference speakers, invited researchers and consultants, event management firms
Other expenses
Travel expenses related to the democratization of knowledge (to academic or other settings)Up to 10% of the grant amount per year
Transportation of materials and equipment
Scientific services and expertise
Safety and secure disposal of waste
Computer supplies (purchase and compensation for telework)
Platform costs (rental, maintenance, repairs) (e.g. animal facilities, greenhouse, test bench, …)
Telecommunications (use of videoconferencing service, webinars, website, social media
Database purchase and access
Publications for non-academic readership
Activities, dissemination and knowledge transfer1

[1] Costs of disseminating research results to the general public (e.g. media relations, video production, general public activities, production of popularized content for major media, web and social networks) and those generated by Ethical activities are eligible expenses.

7.2 Limits on certain expenses

  • A maximum of 10% of the grant amount per year may be used to initiate innovative research leading to new discoveries;
  • A maximum of 5% of the grant amount per year may be used to match funding with other federal programs or granting agencies that allow this (check with the FRQNT program manager beforehand). UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES can this amount be used to match provincial funding;
  • For eligible full-time Status 3 college researchers with teaching duties, an additional amount of up to $10,000 will be paid directly to the college institution to cover the portion of the salary related to a release from teaching duties;
  • For eligible Status 3 college or CCTT researchers with no teaching duties, a portion of the FRQNT grant can be used to provide salary support. This amount must be included in the budget and is transferred by the managing institution directly to the college institution or the college with which the CCTT is affiliated in the case of a CCTT researcher.

8. Duration and management of the grant

The duration of the grant according to stage of development of the cluster is:

  • 2 years for emerging clusters;
  • 6 years for mature clusters.

Mature cluster grants are subject to a mid-term assessment in the 4th year of funding. Following this assessment, the FRQNT may decide to revise the amount for the last two years of funding based on the comments of the assessment. A negative mid-term assessment of a mature cluster constitutes a warning, and the annual amounts will be adjusted accordingly.

The principal investigator may change during the course of the grant. However, the managing institution must always be that of the principal investigator.

Grant payments are made annually for the period from April 1st to March 31. Residual balance, unexpended funds and overpayments are described in the CGR.

9. Announcement of results

Grant awards are announced at the end of April 2022. The decisions of the evaluation committees are approved by the Board of Directors and are sent to the managing institutions and applicants concerned. All decisions made by the Board of Directors of the FRQNT are final and cannot be appealed.

Awards are contingent on the allocation of funding by the Québec National Assembly and the decisions of the Board of Directors of the Fonds, and may be modified at any time without prior notice. It is therefore highly recommended that no funding be committed before it has been officially announced.

It is strictly forbidden to contact the members of the multidisciplinary assessment committees, members of the visiting committees, or scientific advisors for information on the competition results. All of the above have signed a confidentiality agreement in which they have agreed not to divulge any of the information gained during the course of their mandates. All discussions are also subject to confidentiality rules.

10. Ethics and the responsible conduct of research

Any individual or FRQNT-recognized managing institution that receives an award must demonstrate the highest standards of research ethics and scientific integrity. Please refer to the Common General Rules for further details.

This includes a declaration by the team leader and the managing institution that there are no real or apparent conflicts of interest that could influence the application assessment process. This applies to all individuals identified in the application form or the documents required when submitting the funding application.

Please refer to the CGR for any matter related to responsible conduct in research, privacy and confidentiality, intellectual property and the protection of academic freedom.

11. Integrity of the assessment process

At no time may project leads 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 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.

12. Open access to research results

In accordance with the Fonds de Recherche du Québec Open Access Policy For The Dissemination Of Research, all principal investigators who are awarded a grant, co-investigators who are part of a grant and recipients of training or career awards 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.

13. 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.

To mitigate the influence of unconscious bias in the scientific assessment process, individuals taking part in the Fonds de recherche du Québec’s peer review process will henceforth be encouraged to take a short online training course. In the interest of avoiding duplication for the scientific community, we have chosen to use the Unconscious bias training module developed by the federal funding agencies and available on the Canada Research Chairs website.

While this training course is not mandatory, we hope that a critical mass of reviewers will choose to take it to help enhance the fairness of the assessment process. Please note that all Fonds staff responsible for assessment committees will be required to complete the online training module as well as additional training.

Funding recipients are also encouraged to consider these measures in the context of their research groups and activities. For more information, please consult our Statement on equity, diversity and inclusion.

14. Liability of the Fonds

The Fonds make all reasonable efforts to ensure optimal service. However, 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.

15. False or Misleading Information

The Fonds presume the good faith of the declaration provided in funding applications or in any other document submitted at any time during the funding cycle, from the initial funding application to the final report. Applicants and funding holder 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-15.1.0.1), 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 the 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.

16. Effective date

These rules apply to the 2022-2023 fiscal year.

17. Contact person for this program

Yves Marois Ph. D.
Program officer
Strategic Clusters program
418 643-3396
regrstrat.nt@frq.gouv.qc.ca