AUDACE Program, fall 2018


Summary

Competition year :

2019-2020

 

Deadline (notice or letter of intent) :

September 19th, 2018, 4 PM

 

Deadline (application) :

December 17th, 2018, 4 PM

 

Amount :

Up to $100,000 over a period of 12 months, may be spread over 24 months

 

Duration :

1 year

 

Announcement of results :

April 2019

 

 

IMPORTANT NOTICE: Electronic forms are available in the E-Portfolio (FRQnet) of the applicant (FRQSC plateform). More details are available in the About FRQnet section.

 

 

NOTES

In the event of a discrepancy between the English and French versions of this program, the French version prevails.

This program refers to the Common General Rules(CGR), which are applicable to all programs of the Fonds de recherche. Any special terms and conditions applicable to the AUDACE program are indicated in this document, and these prevail over the CGR

Version approved on June 29, 2018 subject to the approval of the Ministre de l'Économie, de la Science et de l'Innovation.

 

Program rules (for printing)

 


1.

CONTEXT

 

Convinced that an intersectoral approach will open up novel research perspectives, introduce groundbreaking conceptual frameworks, cast new light on complex phenomena and provide innovative solutions to multidimensional issues, the Fonds de recherche du Québec invite researchers from all sectors (natural sciences and engineering, health sciences, humanities and social sciences, arts and literature) to address the major challenges facing Québec society, by viewing them through the prism of a truly joint, co-constructed, integrated approach.

AUDACE is part of significant efforts made over the last five years by the Chief Scientist of Québec to foster intersectoral research through forums on research direction; periodic consultations with stakeholders from research, the public, private and political sectors and the artistic community; and by launching a wide-ranging process of reflection on creativity and intersectorality.

Launched in 2017, AUDACE was the first funding opportunity of the Directorate of Societal Challenges and Intersectoral Networks (DSMI) to come out of the funding programs focusing on intersectoral networking and on the advances that can be made by the cross-pollination of scientific knowledge, approaches and cultures. It is in line with the Support for innovative research and Support for innovative projects programs—which succeeded one another as part of FRQSC's programming between 2002 and 2013—, two funding offers that invited the  community to propose projects that were out of the ordinary, innovative, and outside of the box. Drawing on lessons learned through these programs, AUDACE represents a firm commitment on the part of the three Fonds to support exploratory intersectoral initiatives with the potential to radically transform research and creation.

With this program, the FRQ are also seeking to restore Québec's position in the international shift toward High-Risk/High-Reward funding. AUDACE aims to provide researchers from the three major sectors covered by the Fonds with favourable conditions for initiating projects with a high level of risk and the potential for high impacts, be they scientific, social, economic, technological, cultural, aesthetic, etc. More specifically, Québec researchers are invited to submit proposals that:

  • Are in line with an intersectoral approach – in the sense that they involve collaboration between researchers from at least two of the three major sectors covered by the Fonds;
  • Dare to break with established frameworks and patterns of thought;
  • Are likely to produce radically innovative knowledge and have a high potential for impact.

Following the success of the pilot program in 2017, the Fonds are offering a new competition this year under the AUDACE Program, which is becoming a permanent program overseen by the DSMI Directorate with an annual call for projects. It should be noted that changes have been made to the program rules since last year's pilot edition, including the mandatory submission of a letter of intent before being invited to apply. Details are provided in the sections below.


2.

PROGRAM OBJECTIVES

 

2.1. General objective

The objective of the AUDACE program is to support bold research that offers a departure from traditional approaches. For the purposes of this program, "bold" refers to the ability of the researchers and their project to go beyond the existing paradigms of their respective scientific cultures and fields of research – theories, practices, hypotheses, methods, and even modes of thought. The FRQ also wish to encourage innovative research proposals with a high potential to transform and to produce considerable impacts, regardless of their nature (scientific, social, economic, technological, cultural, aesthetic…).

2.2. Specific objectives

More specifically, through this program, the FRQ aim to:

  • Foster intersectoral networking by funding research projects at the crossroads of disciplines and sectors;
  • Provide funding for projects considered risky because of their boldness and which, due to their intersectoral nature, do not fall within the scope of the regular funding programs offered by each of the three Fonds de recherche.

By "intersectoral networking", the FRQ are referring to a research and collaboration approach which, in order to shed new light on common or shared research issues, brings together researchers from disciplinary fields or research practices from at least two of the three major sectors covered by the Fonds to work on a research topic, problem, method or question. We are talking about going beyond the simple combination or juxtaposition of several disciplines and sectors (or even the instrumentalization of one discipline or sector by another) to resolve a problem or tackle a research topic. From an intersectoral perspective, disciplines and sectors must firmly engage in a joint, co-created "research approach" whose mode of operation lies outside of the hierarchization of fields of knowledge.


3.

ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS

 

3.1 Eligibility of the project leader

The person responsible for the application (project leader) must have one of the following statuses according to the Common general rules (CGR):

  •   university researcher;
  •   university clinical researcher;
  •   college researcher.

He/she must also meet the general eligibility requirements set out in the CGR or be a full-time faculty member at a general or vocational college, a private government-approved college, or a government school that offers postsecondary education. A college researcher can also be a part-time or full-time researcher in a college centre for the transfer of technology.

Persons with the status of retired researcher may assume the role of project leader and be responsible for the application, provided they can prove that they are still active in research (publications, grants, student supervision, etc.). A retired researcher must provide a letter from the university indicating that prior to retirement, the researcher was a regular professor and that, for the term of the grant, he/she will have access to the facilities and logistical support required to carry out research activities and will continue to train/supervise students and young researchers in the field, where applicable.

Researchers who have the status of university researcher or clinical university researcher but do not hold a tenure-track university position (example: contractual) must attach, in the "Other documents" section of the application form, a document certifying that they will retain this status throughout the duration of the grant.

3.2 Team configuration

In order to be eligible, a project must be headed by at least two people from at least two sectors covered by the Fonds de recherche du Québec (Nature et technologies – Santé – Société et culture) with the status of:

  •   university researcher;
  •   university clinical researcher;
  •   college researcher.

A project may include co-researchers with the statuses mentioned above, or with the status of "other researcher, practitioner, or artist" (CGR, Definitions - status and roles). Note that, under this program, eligible "Other researchers" are eligible if they: work in Québec government or industry settings; are faculty members of a Québec university, but are not part of its regular staff; OR have the status of researcher in an institution not recognized by the FRQ to manage funding but with university affiliation.

Finally, the research team may also enlist collaborators with the same statuses as the co-researchers. As a result, postdoctoral fellows may contribute to the project as collaborators. However, research professionals are not eligible to be collaborators.

3.3 Participation in more than one project

A project leader cannot be responsible for more than one funding application or grant awarded under this program.

It is possible to have the role of co-researcher in several projects submitted or funded under this program. However, the relevance and feasibility of this type of multiple participation will be subject to evaluation.


4.

SUBMISSION OF THE LETTER OF INTENT

 

Applicants must now pre-apply by submitting a letter of intent, which will be reviewed by a relevance committee in view of the program's objectives (Section 2) and criteria (Section 6.1). Following this relevance review, those teams with the most relevant projects will be invited to submit a full application.

4.1 E-forms

Before submitting a letter of intent (LOI) available in their E-Portfolio (FRQSC platform), the applicant must create a user account on the Fonds website, if this has not already been done. Individuals who already have a personal identification number (PIN) have direct access to a FRQnet account and must update their profile using the E-Portfolio.

At the letter of intent stage, the co-applicant or co-applicants (maximum 2) must have one of the following statuses:

  • university researcher;
  • university clinical researcher;
  • college researcher.

As indicated in the CGR , forms may be filled out in English or French. However, the project title and summary must be written in French. This information may be used for promotion and dissemination purposes.

Only forms completed and transmitted electronically will be accepted.

Any documents that are not required and which are included with the LOI will not be submitted to the evaluation committee. Applicants will not be notified of any information or documents missing from the application. Any documents received after the deadline for the LOI submission, or exceeding the formats specified in these rules will not be considered.

4.2 Documents to be included

The applicant is asked to submit the following documents:

  • A three-page defense of the project in light of the program objectives (section 2) and the evaluation criteria (see 6.1). The project description must also include the following:
  • a paragraph describing the co-construction process that led the team to submit a letter of intent;
  • a paragraph describing the approach that will lead to the accomplishment of the project and each member's contribution to this process.
  • The applicant and one or two co-researchers, all from different sectors, must provide an abridged CV in PDF format (maximum 2 pages) summarizing the following in relation to the project, in the order listed:
  •   academic and/or professional training;
  •   personal statement, as it pertains to the project;
  •   scientific expertise and achievements, as they pertain to the project.
  • An optional appendix of up to 3 pages for figures and tables.

5.

APPLICATION PROCESS

 

Only those applicants whose letters of intent receive a favourable review from the relevance committee will be invited to apply. Recommended applicants will receive an e-mail inviting them to complete and submit an electronic application form along with the required supporting documents.

Any application that does not contain sufficient information to establish its eligibility or to evaluate its scientific quality will be declared ineligible by the Fonds.

Once the application has been submitted in the E-Portfolio of the project leader who submitted the letter of intent, the Fonds will not request any elements missing from the application. No documents received after the competition closing date will be considered.

5.1 E-forms

Teams invited by the Fonds to submit an application following the relevance review of their letter of intent must complete the e-form that will be made available in the E-Portfolio (FRQSC platform) of the project leader who submitted the letter of intent.

As indicated in the CGR, forms may be filled out in English or French. However, the project title and summary must be written in French. This information may be used for promotion and dissemination purposes.

Only forms completed and transmitted electronically will be accepted.

Any documents that are not required and which are included with the application will not be submitted to the evaluation committee. Applicants will not be notified of any information or documents missing from the application. Any documents received after the deadline for application, or exceeding the formats specified in these rules will not be considered.

5.2 Documents to be included

The applicant is asked to submit the following documents:

  • A three-page defense of the project in light of the program objectives (section 2) and the evaluation criteria (see 6.1). The project description must also include the following:
  • a paragraph describing the co-construction process that led the team to submit a letter of intent;
  • a paragraph describing the approach that will lead to the accomplishment of the project and each member's contribution to this process.
  • Each team member must provide an abridged CV in PDF format (maximum 2 pages) summarizing the following in relation to the project, in the order listed:
  •   academic and/or professional training;
  •   personal statement, as it pertains to the project;
  •   scientific expertise and achievements, as they pertain to the project.
  • Two pages of budgetary justifications.
  • An optional appendix of up to 3 pages for figures and tables;
  • Where applicable, an ethical justification of up to one page for the use of human subjects, human biological materials or animals.
  • If applicable, retired university researchers must provide, via the « Other documents » section of the e-form, a letter from the university attesting this status. The letter must indicate that prior to his/her retirement, the researcher was a regular professor and that, for the term of the grant, he/she will have access to the facilities and logistical support required to carry out research activities and that he/she will continue to train/supervise students and young researchers in the field, where applicable
  • If applicable, researchers who have the status of university researcher or clinical university researcher, but do not occupy a tenure-track position (for example: contractual) must attach via the "Other documents" section of the e-form a document certifying that they will retain this status throughout the duration of the grant.

An additional optional document presenting the project and its leaders may be attached to the form. The choice of content is at the discretion of the applicants. The following formats are accepted:

  • A text of up to 3,500 characters, including spaces and characters that are part of any images or graphic elements;
  • A video or audio recording with a maximum length of 3 minutes (180 seconds);
  • A PowerPoint presentation of up to 10 slides, presented in the form of a video with a maximum length of 3 minutes (180 seconds).

Digital accompanying documents (video between 500 and 1024 MB or PowerPoint) must be sent to the Fonds via the following web address: https://cloud.frq.gouv.qc.ca/u/d/db8a43dedf17451d8226/. They must be identified as follows: NAME OF APPLICANT - APPLICATION NUMBER.

ATTENTION: Candidates are requested to send their accompanying documents only once in their final version. In case of duplicate transmission resulting from a manipulation error, the most recent version will be considered for the evaluation.

5.3. Frequency of the competition

The competition is offered every year.


6.

EVALUATION OF APPLICATIONS

 

6.1 Evaluation criteria

In line with the program objectives, applications are evaluated according to three main criteria:

Level of intersectoral integration (35 points)

In concrete terms, intersectoral networking in research – which cannot be reduced to a merely collaborative approach – takes shape through:

The joint design and development, within the project, of research problems that engage research questions or topics common to or shared by representatives of the different sectors;

  • The development of an innovative methodology, adapted to each research problem and integrating approaches from each sector represented within the project;
  • Team composition: the project must be headed by researchers from at least two sectors.

Potential for disruptive innovation (45 points)

By "disruptive innovation", the FRQ mean significantly challenging the foundations, knowledge and practices that govern a field of research, or the approaches and methods that commonly underpin the study of a research topic. A project's potential for disruptive innovation lies in its capacity, thanks to its intersectoral focus, to go beyond the boundaries of what is known, to break with its inherited frameworks and standards in order to produce radically new knowledge of a theoretical, epistemological, methodological, aesthetic or technological nature that will transform the research field. The applicants must demonstrate that the anticipated breakthroughs of the project have a real potential for disruption.

Scope of the anticipated impacts (20 points)

For the purposes of this program, the notion of "impacts" is understood to mean "deliverables", in the broadest sense of the term. The potential impacts under this program, which must be of benefit to Québec society, can be scientific, social, economic, technological, cultural, or aesthetic in nature.

In all cases, the impacts of the project, as envisaged, must be considerable in the event of success. 

Finally, the budget estimates are analyzed by the committee, which verifies their consistency with the submitted project.

6.2 Application evaluation process

As indicated in Section 4 of the CGR, the Fonds receive funding applications, check their eligibility and submit them for scientific evaluation by a committee whose members are recognized for their skills, expertise and achievements relating to the program objectives and the applications submitted. Nonetheless, as the evaluators for this type of program come from a variety of different backgrounds, applicants are encouraged, in the documents submitted for evaluation, to present their project in such a way as to be easily understandable in a multidisciplinary context.

The project evaluation process takes place in two phases:

  • Phase 1: analysis by the scientific committee of the submitted application and accompanying document;
  • Phase 2: interview with the leaders of the projects selected in Phase 1 for a presentation before the scientific committee.

The conditions governing funding decisions are specified in Section 4.5 of the CGR .


7.

IMPORTANT DATES AND ANNOUNCEMENT OF THE RESULTS

 

  • July 19, 2018: Launch of the call for projects. The AUDACE program rules and letter of intent e-form are made available online;
  • September 19: Deadline for submission of letters of intent (4 p.m.);
  • November 12: Teams shortlisted by the letter of intent relevancy review are invited to apply. The application form is made available online;
  • December 12: Deadline for submission of applications (4 p.m.);
  • Late February/early March 2019: Interviews with the leaders of the projects selected in Phase 1 of the evaluation (individual evaluations) for presentation before the international committee;
  • April: Announcement of the results.

For the conditions regarding the announcement of funding, refer to Section 5 of the CGR.

A copy of the certificate of ethics for the use of human subjects, human biological materials or animals as part of the project is required on the awarding of any grant, if applicable. Payment of the grant is contingent on the submission of the certificate and related documents, refer to Section 5.4 of the CGR


8.

DESCRIPTION AND NATURE OF THE FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE

 

The funding consists of a grant of up to $100,000 over a period of 12 months. In the documents submitted for evaluation, the use of the funding amount may be spread over 24 months.

In accordance with the program objectives, the grant must be used to cover expenses directly related to the implementation of the project. All budget items listed in the CGR are eligible.

Indirect costs equivalent to 27% of the grant amount will be paid in addition to the research grant, to a maximum of $27,000.


9.

FOLLOW-UP AND ACCOUNTABILITY

 

In accordance with the CGR, the holder of a grant obtained under this program is required submit a final report, the format of which will be communicated in due course to the project leader who submitted the application.

In addition, in the interest of promoting the impacts of the projects funded under this program, teams must contribute, on invitation, to events such as forums, conferences and follow-up or transfer activities organized by the Fonds.