Competition year : 
2024-2025

Deadline (pre-request) : 
October 12th, 2022 at 16:00 (EST)

Deadline (application) : 
April 12th, 2023 at 16:00 (EST)

Announcement of results : 
Octobre 2023

Amount : 
Variable

Duration : 
8 years (with a mid-term evaluation after 4 years of grant)

REMINDER

It is the applicant’s responsibility to consult the Common General Rules (CGR) of the Fonds de recherche du Québec, which apply to all FRQS programs, in addition to these program rules. The specific conditions of this program are detailed below and take precedence over the CGR.

Drawing on the driving forces in Québec’s research ecosystem, the FRQS relies on thematic networks to provide unifying leadership to the province’s scientific community and create greater cohesion around key themes.

Thematic networks are remarkable levers whose mobilizing and structuring effects must help enhance the competitiveness of the scientific community and research teams in Québec, maximize research benefits and ensure Québec’s reach in Canada and abroad within a diverse, inclusive and intersectoral approach.

Ultimately, the Thematic Networks program aims to improve Quebecers’ health and health care system by covering all health-related issues.

FOR MORE INFORMATION ON THIS PROGRAM, CONSULT THE GUIDE DE GESTION ET DE GOUVERNANCE RÉSEAUX THÉMATIQUES DU FRQS. (See Tool box)

1. STATEMENT OF INTEREST

Here is the list of themes proposed for the competition. By sharing this list, we wish to encourage collaborations and linkages.

If you are interested in a topic, please contact the contact person indicated under each theme.

2. OBJECTIVES

The scientific community is invited to submit a proposal that:

  • brings together theme stakeholders to address the unmet needs and priorities of Québec’s health ecosystem;
  • creates provincial, national and international collaborations between partners and stakeholders across disciplines, institutions, sectors and settings;
  • supports students and early-career researchers;
  • is competitive, original and daring;
  • is inclusive and contributes to the diversity of Québec research;
  • is part of an intersectoral approach;
  • reaches beyond traditional collaborative approaches;
  • meets sustainable development and sustainable health goals;
  • promotes the generation of innovative knowledge with high potential for transformation and spin-offs; and
  • strengthens the integration of knowledge into practices and policies and engages the public through means including open science.

Ultimately, networks funded for more than eight years are expected to demonstrate the significant positive impacts and changes in the research environment brought about by their activities.

3. ELIGIBILITY

Networks must be made up of at least of 20 regular members. Further details on the roles and responsibilities of network members are available in the Guide de gestion et de gouvernance des réseaux thématiques du FRQS.

Network director

Each FRQS thematic network must be led by a director whose main role is to provide the leadership required to ensure the vitality of the network and the scientific relevance and quality of its activities. The director must meet the definition of one of the following research statuses (see the Definitions section of the Common General Rules):

  1. University researcher
  2. Clinical university researcher
  3. College researcher

Note: the director of a research centre or institute funded by the FRQS cannot be the director of a thematic network.

The leadership of a network may be shared among several individuals (co-direction). When a network is co-directed, the administrative responsibility for the network must be assigned to one institution (see the Managing institution section of this document).

Co-director (if applicable)

The co-director must meet the definition of one of the following research statuses (see the Definitions section of the Common General Rules):

  1. University researcher
  2. Clinical university researcher
  3. College researcher
  4. Other research statuses
Other leaders (axis, platforms)

Other network leaders must meet the definition of one of the following research statuses (see the Definitions section of the Common General Rules):

  1. University researcher
  2. Clinical university researcher
  3. College researcher
  4. Other research statuses
Employment and domicile

The network’s director, co-director(s) and other leaders must be employed by a managing institution recognized by the FRQS and be domiciled in Québec (see Section 2.1 of the Common General Rules).

4. REQUIRED DOCUMENTS — PRE-APPLICATION

  • Documents will not be accepted by email or mail.
  • Documents must be submitted through the FRQS Portfolio.
  • Missing documents and documents that do not comply with program rules or forms may cause the application to be deemed ineligible.
  • No extensions: forms submitted after the deadline will be automatically rejected.

IMPORTANT:

  • The co-director(s) (if applicable) must give consent to be listed on the form and must do so by the competition deadline through their FRQS Portfolio.
  • Theme leaders must each give consent to be listed on the form and must do so by the competition deadline through their FRQS Portfolio.
  • Once the form is submitted, it cannot be edited

All networks must indicate their intent to apply for funding by completing the electronic pre-application form by 4:00 p.m. on October 12, 2022.

Network director
  • Canadian Common CV, funding version for the FRQS (updated since June 2022)
  • Most significant contributions updated since June 2022 (attachment in the FRQS Portfolio on the Canadian Common CV page), see the CV attachment guidelines document in the toolbox
  • Pre-application e-form
  • Document to be attached with the e-form:  gabarit — lettre de présentation complétée.

Note: All links and documents are available in the toolbox.

Co-director (if applicable)
  • Canadian Common CV, funding version for the FRQS (updated since June 2022)
  • FRQ Abridged CV for co-directors with another research status (updated since June 2022);
  • Most significant contributions updated since June 2022 (attachment in the FRQS Portfolio on the Canadian Common CV page), see the CV attachment guidelines document in the toolbox

Note: All links and documents are available in the toolbox.

Other leaders (axis, platforms)
  • Canadian Common CV, funding version for the FRQS (updated since June 2022)
  • FRQ Abridged CV for co-directors with another research status (updated since June 2022):
  • Most significant contributions updated since June 2022 (attachment in the FRQS Portfolio on the Canadian Common CV page), see the CV attachment guidelines document in the toolbox

Note: All links and documents are available in the toolbox.

5. REQUIRED DOCUMENTS — FULL APPLICATION

  • Documents will not be accepted by email or mail.
  • Documents must be submitted through the FRQS Portfolio.
  • Missing documents and documents that do not comply with program rules or forms may cause the application to be deemed ineligible.
  • No extensions: forms submitted after the deadline will be automatically rejected.

IMPORTANT NOTE

  • The co-director(s) (if applicable) must give consent to be listed on the form and must do so by the competition deadline through their FRQS Portfolio.
  • Theme leaders must each give consent to be listed on the form and must do so by the competition deadline through their FRQS Portfolio.
  • Once the form is submitted, it cannot be edited.
Network Director

Templates and forms will be available as of November 30, 2022.

  • Canadian Common CV, funding version for the FRQS (updated since June 2022)
  • Most significant contributions updated since June 2022 (attachment in the FRQS Portfolio on the Canadian Common CV page), see the CV attachment guidelines document in the toolbox
    •  Application e-form
    • Documents to be attached with the application e-form:
    • Duly completed thematic network proposal template
    • List of acronyms used in the proposal
    • Optional tables and figures document (up to 8 pages)
    • Network organization chart
    • List of members of the various committees (steering committee, scientific committee and other committees)
    • Directory of network members by membership category and listed alphabetically by last name
    • List and letter of support for collaborations and strategic partnerships to carry out the network’s activities and details on their nature, financial support (include the amount) or other (specify)
    • Table of publications directly related to the network’s theme from the past five (5) years

The FRQ have adopted an open access policy. All publications stemming from the grant awarded to the network must comply with the policy.

Note: All links and documents are available in the toolbox.

Co-director (if applicable)
  • Canadian Common CV, funding version for the FRQS (updated since June 2022)
  • FRQ Abridged CV for co-directors with another research status (updated since June 2022)
  • Most significant contributions updated since June 2022 (attachment in the FRQS Portfolio on the Canadian Common CV page), see the CV attachment guidelines document in the toolbox

Note: All links and documents are available in the toolbox.

Other leaders (axis, platforms)
  • Canadian Common CV, funding version for the FRQS (updated since June 2022)
  • FRQ Abridged CV for co-directors with another research status (updated since June 2022)
  • Most significant contributions updated since June 2022 (attachment in the FRQS Portfolio on the Canadian Common CV page), see the CV attachment guidelines document in the toolbox

Note: All links and documents are available in the toolbox.

6. MANAGING INSTITUTION

x

Choice of managing institution

The institution that employs the network’s director generally manages the grant (see Section 6.2 of the Common General Rules). When a network has co-directors, the administrative responsibility for the network must be assigned to one institution (see the Managing institution section of this document). Only institutions recognized by the FRQ to manage funding may be selected.

The managing institution has an administrative responsibility to the FRQS and acts on the network’s behalf when a legal commitment is required. The institution signs the agreements required to carry out the network’s activities.

Change of managing institution

When the responsibility of the network is given to a new director, the managing institution remains the same until the end of the current fiscal year. The outgoing director, or a person identified by the director, will assume the financial responsibility for the transition to the new managing institution.

The managing institution must notify the FRQS in writing that it approves the change, and the new managing institution must notify the FRQS in writing that it agrees to administer the grant.

7. GRANT PERIOD AND AMOUNT

The FRQS reserves the right to create new networks on selected themes at the request of partners, which will oversee the networks’ funding. The amounts granted and certain grant terms will be determined by the partners in collaboration with the FRQS. There will be no impact on the budget of the FRQS thematic network program.

Grant period
Networks are funded for a period of eight (8) years, at the end of which they may reapply to a competition held every 8 years.

Start date
The grant comes into effect on April 1, 2024.

Amount

The amount granted to a network by the FRQS is between $500,000 and $1,000,000 per year.

The amount does not include partner contributions, if any.

The FRQS will inform each network of its total budget in an award letter valid for eight (8) years. The awarding of the thematic network grant and the amounts for subsequent years are subject to the decision of the board of directors of the FRQS based on the strategic priorities and funds allocated annually by the National Assembly of Québec.

Management 

The list of institutions authorized to manage FRQ grants is limited to managing institutions recognized by the FRQ, including mainly universities, CIUSSS, CISSS, some health network institutions and colleges.

The institution that employs the network’s director generally manages the grant (see Section 6.2 of the Common General Rules).

8. ELIGIBLE EXPENSES

Eligible expenses

See the Guide de gestion et de gouvernance des réseaux thématiques du FRQS.

Non-eligible expenses

The thematic networks program does not benefit from the amounts paid by the FRQS or its partners to cover institutions’ indirect costs of research.

9. EVALUATION

x

Pre-application

Pre-applications are reviewed by a multidisciplinary committee that includes scientists, government and strategic partners, university and college stakeholders, students and community members.

The review will determine eligibility and assess the relevance of the proposed new network.

All the networks that submit a pre-application will be invited to submit a full application. The pre-application process is therefore not eliminatory.

The recommendations of the pre-application review committee will be forwarded to the scientific committee mandated to assess the full applications. Applicants must address the comments and suggestions made in the pre-application review stage or provide a rationale for not doing so.

Pre-application evaluation criteria  

The FRQS and its partners (if applicable) aim to support networks focused on themes that:

  • target a major health issue and have the potential to accelerate the impact of research on health and the way care is organized;
  • are sufficiently defined to mobilize the driving forces of research in Québec and engage stakeholders around priorities; and
  • are sufficiently complex that the challenges they represent must be addressed through the contributions of several disciplines.

The pre-applications are evaluated based on these criteria: :

  • Relevance of the proposal to the program objectives
  • Relevance of the theme to health research issues and priorities
  • Added value, impact on health and complementarity of the network within the current research environment;
  • Degree of mobilization of the scientific community in the current process
  • Potential to develop collaborations and partnerships at the provincial, national and international levels
  • Quality of the pre-application in terms of writing and consistency.

Once the pre-application review is completed, the networks will be invited by the FRQS to submit a full application.

Full application

Full applications by thematic networks will be evaluated by a scientific committee and an excellence committee. In addition to assessing the potential of the applications, the committees will review the networks’ strategic action plans for the next eight (8) years. The evaluation covers all organizational, scientific and budgetary aspects.

These multidisciplinary committees are made up of members with proven experience in major research initiatives and infrastructure management and international researchers recognized for their expertise in the themes covered in the applications.

The relative importance of the following evaluation criteria varies from one network to the next based on the issues and priorities they address. However, a thematic network must score a minimum of 70/100 on each of the following criteria, with the exception of the budget criterion, to be considered fundable. Evaluation committee members make recommendations regarding the budget but do not assign a score.

NOTE: the detailed criteria will be shared on November 30, 2022.

  1. Strategic network planning
  2. Network structure and management
  3. Network potential
  4. Excellence and quality of proposed strategies and actions
  5. Involvement and training of new talent
  6. Equity, diversity and inclusion
  7. Budget

10. COMMITMENT BY THE NETWORK DIRECTOR

By submitting the application, the network director agrees to:

11. COMMITMENT BY THE HOST INSTITUTION

The host institution must commit to providing an environment that meets the standards of research ethics and scientific integrity of the FRQS (Standards en éthique de la recherche et d’intégrité scientifique) and the Policy for the Responsible Conduct in Research of the Fonds de recherche du Québec.

12. ACCOUNTABILITY

Financial reports

The annual fiscal year begins on April 1 and ends on March 31. FRQS thematic networks must produce an annual financial report. This report must be received by the FRQS six (6) months after the end of the fiscal year, by September 30 of each year. Institutions that have received funds from a network (inter-institutional transfers) must send their annual financial report to the managing institution.

The network must then submit its financial report. Any failure to do so must be justified and may result in a delay in the following year’s grant payments.

All reports must be generated and submitted through the FRQnet Portfolio. Originals and hard copies are not accepted.

Annual report

Each year, the FRQS thematic networks are required to submit a progress report demonstrating how the grant contributes to the following objectives:

  • Open science
  • Equity, diversity and inclusion
  • Sustainable health
  • Structuring effect of the network
  • Knowledge mobilization

It is important to note that, at the end of the first year of the grant, the network charter must also be submitted.

The format and requirements will be determined and communicated by email.

13. PROGRESS REPORT

Thematic networks must submit a mid-term report to the FRQS on June 1, 2028, and a final report on June 1, 2032.

The network’s progress report must be sent to the program manager through the FRQnet Portfolio. Originals and hard copies are not accepted.

14. KNOWLEDGE MOBILIZATION

The FRQS encourages grant holders to conduct and take part in knowledge mobilization activities (transfer, sharing, enhancement, promotion and dissemination) in practice settings and with the public, whenever relevant. Consult the knowledge mobilization page.

15. ETHICS AND THE RESPONSIBLE CONDUCT OF RESEARCH

Consult the Policy for the Responsible Conduct of Research of the FRQ and the research ethics policy in the toolbox.

16. OPEN ACCESS

Open access policies are subject to change during the course of the grant. Any amendments will be communicated to grant holders.

During the grant period, a scientific portfolio of five (5) peer-reviewed publications shared in immediate open access (no embargo) and under open license must be produced (see progress report). These publications must be representative of the quality of the research led by the infrastructure during the grant period.

For further details on the FRQ’s requirements, consult our Open Science page.

17. SUSTAINABLE HEALTH

Program applicants are encouraged to demonstrate how their project contributes to sustainable health—a state of optimal physical, mental and social well-being throughout life.

18. 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 put in place to strengthen the integration of these principles. Award and grant holders are encouraged to consider them in the context of their research activities. Consult the FRQ’s statements on equity, diversity and inclusion for further details.

19. SOCIAL ACCEPTABILITY OF DATA USE

Basic training on the social acceptability of health data sharing and use is offered to all team members whose projects involve health and social services information.

The training includes the following modules:

  • Definition of social acceptability
  • Guiding principles and best practices
  • Tools and services available to teams
  • Description of the support offered by the FRQ

This basic training will take place during an online webinar in which researchers can participate before submitting their application. Details on how to access this training will be shared at a later date.

Researchers must have completed this basic training prior to the start of payments.

20. GLOSSARY

Cohesion: Cohesion refers to the capacity of network members to support each other, promote each other’s successes and cooperate in the pursuit of common goals. The degree of cohesion depends on how attractive the network is perceived to be by its members. Cohesion is based on a strong sense of belonging and implies the active participation of each member in the common objectives. It therefore constitutes one of the keys to the network’s success. For example, annual scientific days are a means to maintain the cohesion of network members.

Competitiveness : Competitiveness refers to better positioning for members of the scientific community to obtain additional funding. For example, belonging to a network provides access to interdisciplinary collaborations, shared infrastructures and seed money, which enable members to conduct innovative research and stand out in funding competitions. Thematic networks are levers whose mobilizing and structuring effects help enhance researcher competitiveness.

Diversity: Diversity refers to the presence of people from different groups within the research ecosystem and society. This encourages the expression of a range of experiences, approaches and perspectives, including those of under-represented groups. The FRQ value the contribution of diversity to research.

Equity: Equity refers to fair treatment, including the removal of systemic barriers that disadvantage certain groups. While not necessarily the same for everyone, equitable treatment takes into account current and historical realities to enable all people to benefit from the same opportunities for advancement and research support.

Inclusion: Inclusion refers to the development of practices that enable all members of society—and underrepresented groups within the research community and the research itself in particular—to be and feel valued, supported and respected.

Innovation: A new or improved product or process (or combination of both) that differs significantly from previous products or processes and is made available to potential users (product) or implemented (process) is considered innovative. Innovation may be technological or social in nature.

Social innovation:  An initiative that meets a social need by proposing a new, more appropriate, sustainable and systemic response emerging from a dynamic, creative and interactive process and which often constitutes a break with current responses. Social innovation generates a measurable benefit for the community and not only for certain individuals. Its scope is transformative and systemic. Source : SQRI

Intersectoral: By intersectoral approach, the FRQS refers to a research and collaboration approach that brings together researchers from different disciplines or research practices in the various sectors covered by the Fonds de recherche du Québec to shed new light on common and shared research issues. An intersectoral approach goes beyond the simple coming together or juxtaposition of several disciplines and sectors to resolve a problem or address a research topic. In an intersectoral perspective, disciplines and sectors are resolutely engaged in a joint and co-created research approach.

Reach: Reach refers to the visibility of researchers and research teams to disseminate and promote their work in Québec, Canada and internationally. Reach may be expanded through various activities such as workshops, colloquia and conferences, leading to disciplinary, interdisciplinary and intersectoral exchanges between researchers and practitioners in the public and private sectors. Reach also provides a link between the research community, the public, user communities and the political sphere.

Network: The thematic networks of the Fonds de recherche du Québec – Santé (FRQS) are virtual groups of researchers focused on a specific theme and stakeholders working towards concerted action and structuring of the driving forces in Québec’s health research sector.

Research impacts: By advancing knowledge, research yields a range of impacts for society. The benefits of health research are the positive impacts of discoveries that improve quality of life (e.g., the discovery of a new drug for the treatment of a disease). The team and its partners are expected to have a clearly defined plan to transfer the results of their research and technological development.

Sustainable health: An asset for society, sustainable health is a comprehensive approach that combines the physical and psychological health of people and the environment in which they live. It engages individuals and communities to put into practice interventions at all stages of life for the optimal health of every individual, including vulnerable groups and future generations. Sustainable health therefore aims to achieve well-being and better quality of life for all.

Open science: Open science is an inclusive concept that encompasses different movements and practices aiming to make scientific knowledge multilingual, freely accessible and reusable by all, strengthen scientific collaboration and information sharing for the benefit of science and society and open up the processes of creating, evaluating and disseminating scientific knowledge to social stakeholders beyond the traditional scientific community.  Source : UNESCO