This funding program has a two-stage application process: the submission of a letter of intent, followed by the submission of a full application (by invitation only). All submitted documents may be in English or French.
In all the documents referred to below, applicants may cite web addresses as bibliographic references. However, a letter of intent or funding application based in whole or in part on online content could be deemed inadmissible.
6.1 Letter of intent
The first step in applying to the Strategic Clusters program is the submission of a letter of intent along with the Canadian Common CV of the principal investigator. Not all groups of researchers are subject to this requirement. More specifically:
Provided that they meet the program requirements, strategic clusters that are already funded on the competition opening date do not need to submit a letter of intent, and will have direct access to the application form via the eRegroupement platform.
Provided that they meet the general program requirements, centres and networks that were previously funded under the Strategic Clusters program, but whose funding was not renewed under the last competition (Fall 2016), and that wish to reapply under the same configuration, do not need to submit a letter of intent.
However, if they wish to change configuration (from centre to network or from network to centre), such previously funded clusters must submit a letter of intent.
Important note: research clusters belonging to the last two categories (B and C) must inform the Fonds of their intention to submit a funding application by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, no later than May 1, 2019 at 4 p.m.
Finally, research clusters that have never received funding from the FRQSC under this program, or that were previously funded under this program but whose funding was not renewed under the last two competitions (Fall 2013 and 2016), must submit a letter of intent. The assessment of the letter of intent is eliminatory.
The Fonds will carefully assess the letters of intent, determine their eligibility with respect to the program rules and interview new centres and networks eligible for the program. Only selected clusters will be authorized to submit a complete application.
The electronic letter of intent form is available on the FRQnet portal via the principal investigator's E-portfolio. (Any problems with this electronic letter should be reported by e-mail to email@example.com.) To access the form, complete it and transmit it to the Fonds, the applicant must first create a user account on the Fonds website, if he/she has not already done so (see the information video). Individuals who already have a Fonds personal identification number (PIN) have direct access to a FRQnet account and must update their profile using the E-portfolio.
The electronic letter of intent form must be accompanied by the completed letter of support from the managing institution form, which can be found in the Toolbox.
The updated Canadian Common CV of the principal investigator must also be included with the letter of intent.
6.1.1 The letter of intent form
The letter of intent form must be received by Wednesday May 1, 2019, at 4 p.m. It must allow the committee to verify whether the applicant group meets the criteria set out in section 3.1. The letter must include information on the expected composition of the cluster (researchers must be from different fields and university institutions), the rationale behind the choice of cluster (centre or network) and the cluster's stage of development (emergence or operational).
In addition, applicant groups are encouraged to indicate the following:
Main components of the scientific program (for centres) or the research structure need and planned structuring initiative (for networks);
Coherence of the team structure with the scientific program or structuring initiative; Planned funding strategies;
Current level of activity of the group;
Expected benefits (advancement of knowledge, knowledge transfer, international reach, leverage effect);
The distinctiveness of the cluster within the Québec, Canadian and international scientific landscapes;
The added value of the requested grant.
Interviews will be held on Thursday June 20 and Friday June 21, 2019 in Montreal. Applicant groups will receive interview instructions during the third week of May 2019.
6.1.2 Letter of support from the managing institution
The letter of support from the managing institution (form available in the Toolbox) must be sent by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org by Wednesday May 8, 2019, at 4 p.m. In this letter, the managing institution must describe the place held by the cluster in its research development plan and the type and level of support provided. The managing institution must also list the partner institutions.
6.1.3 Canadian Common CV (principal investigator)
The Fonds uses the Canadian Common CV and also requires the attachment of a PDF file of detailed contributions (in the E-portfolio).
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-Portfolio.
6.2 Funding application
The funding application must be filled out electronically through the eRegroupement platform. It must be submitted to the Fonds by Wednesday November 13, 2019 at 4 p.m.
The following must also be submitted via this platform:
a text of no more than twenty (20) pages explicitly addressing the evaluation criteria that apply to the cluster based on its configuration and stage of development;
a bibliography (no page limit).
The Canadian Common CVs of the cluster's co-investigators with the status of university researcher, clinical university researcher or college researcher must be submitted with the online application. All CCVs must be up to date and accompanied by the Detailed Contributions file.
6.2.1 Managing institution and partner institution declaration
On Wednesday October 9, 2019, a "snapshot" of the cluster's composition will be transmitted by the Fonds to managing and partner university institutions so that they may formalize an agreement based on the participation of researchers from these institutions in the strategic cluster. The declaration must clearly state the source of the funds granted to the cluster by each partner university institution. The submission deadline for the declaration is Wednesday October 30, 2019, at 4 p.m. The "Déclaration de l'établissement gestionnaire et des établissements partenaires" form is available online on the eRegroupement portal.
6.2.2 Additional Documents
The additional documents listed below must be provided in a single transmission in the form of a PDF document before the funding application deadline of Wednesday November 13, 2019 at 4 p.m. This amalgamated document must be e-mailed to the Fonds at email@example.com with the application number indicated in the subject line. The Fonds will acknowledge receipt of the document within 48 hours. If no response is received from the Fonds, it is the principal investigator's responsibility to verify whether the documents were received. Their absence from the application file could result in the co-investigators concerned being withdrawn from the cluster.
Co-investigators working in practice settings—who are exempt from submitting a CCV—must provide an abbreviated CV (maximum 2 pages) summarizing the following in relation to the team's scientific program, in the order listed:
- their training;
- their experience;
- their publications or other scientific achievements, where applicable.
The abbreviated CVs must be created using word processing software, converted to PDF format and merged into a single document.
For co-investigators who wish to belong to more than one infrastructure, as described in Section 5, a letter of no more than two pages demonstrating the merit of the dual membership (distinctive nature of the researcher's contribution to both programs/initiatives; added value to both programs/initiatives; conditions of the dual membership). This letter must be transmitted to the Fonds notwithstanding the documents already provided by currently funded clusters. It must be co-signed by both principal investigators and confirm the commitment of 40% of the co-investigator's research activities to each of the two infrastructures.
Reminder: This document must be provided at the time of application or at any time during the funding period that a co-investigator joins a second infrastructure.
For retired co-investigators, a letter from the university attesting that, prior to his/her retirement, the researcher had one of the eligible statuses as defined in Section 3.2.1 and that, for the term of the grant, he/she will be given a workspace and the logistical support necessary to carry out his/her research activities and will continue to train students and young researchers in his/her field.
For researchers who do not hold a doctorate degree or an equivalent status, a letter from the university institution attesting to a doctoral equivalent.
IMPORTANT - Any additional items will not be included in the application file and will not be given to the evaluation committee. Applicants will not be asked to submit any missing documents. Any document received after the application deadline will not be considered, and applications cannot be updated. Because the funding applications are sent electronically, all electronic transaction guidelines must be followed. Any applications that do not contain the information required to establish eligibility or carry out an evaluation will be deemed inadmissible by the Fonds Société et Culture.
As indicated in Section 3 of the CGR, applicants attest that all of the information provided is exact and complete, and agree to comply with the program rules and the rules and principles set out in the Fonds de recherche du Québec policy for the Responsible Conduct of Research. Applicants authorize the institution to transmit any personal information in accordance with this policy, if applicable.