Strategic clusters - Fall 2019 competition


Summary

Competition year :

2020-2021

 

Deadline (notice or letter of intent) :

May 1st, 2019, 4 PM

 

Deadline (application) :

November 13th, 2019, 4 PM

 

Amount :

Up to $250,000 per year

 

Duration :

Up to 6 years

 

 

The letter of intent form (for information purposes) will soon be available in the Toolbox.


1.

Foreword

 

The Strategic Clusters (Regroupements stratégiques) program to fund large-scale research projects has been offered to the Québec research community for close to two decades. The ambitious initiative involves a wide array of program components and significant funding for extended periods in an effort to provide a unique means to structure research in the areas covered by the Fonds Société et culture: humanities and social sciences, arts and literature. The Fonds has also introduced an annual, more flexible structuring option to complement this triennial program, the Research Team Support program, offered annually.

The Strategic Clusters program is aimed at two types of structures—centres and networks—with distinct goals and meeting different structuring needs. All strategic clusters (centres and networks) must set out ambitious scientific objectives, bring together a critical mass of researchers and meet the highest standards of excellence with regards to their research and training activities. Centres implement integrated scientific programs to understand complex phenomena requiring the concerted efforts of researchers in different fields. Networks seek to meet the specific research structuring needs of a given field by developing a so-called "structuring" initiative to create ties between research environments and practice settings.

The types of activities led by the research clusters (pooling of research expertise, scientific activities, research training, broad results dissemination) have a collective scope that reaches beyond their responsibilities to their members.

In addition, the Strategic clusters program aims to encourage the optimal use of major scientific facilities in the social sciences, humanities, arts and literature. It was also designed as a key leveraging tool to position Québec researchers on the international stage and in major research programs led, for example, by the Canada Foundation for Innovation and the Canada Research Chairs.


2.

Program objectives

The main objective of this program is to strengthen the research sectors of excellence that could yield potentially significant scientific, cultural, social and economic benefits for Québec.

More specifically, through this program, the Fonds aims to:

  • Foster the consolidation of large interdisciplinary, inter-institutional and intergenerational research groups to give impetus to the research system;
  • Promote the emergence of research centres and networks in strategic sectors, and contribute to their sustainability;
  • Establish Québec researchers as leaders in their fields by supporting their participation in national and international research programs and their integration in large scientific networks;
  • Create a significant leverage effect to maximize research investments in Québec;
  • Contribute to the establishment of stimulating quality environments to accommodate students and new academics and to the training of highly qualified personnel;
  • Foster knowledge transfer and partnerships with the potential users of the research results, in keeping with the knowledge mobilization strategy adopted by the FRQ;
  • Allow open access to research results, in accordance with the policy regarding open access to research funded by the FRQ. 

3.

Nature and characteristics of the clusters

 

3.1 Definition of a strategic cluster

Each strategic cluster brings together researchers, research teams and students from various disciplines, academic units and institutions. Each cluster must demonstrate that it possesses the critical mass required to reach its objectives and foster excellence in research by:

  • Developing platforms to exchange ideas and share research results;
  • Stimulating the development of joint projects;
  • Constituting a unique environment for research initiation and training;
  • Offering a premier host environment for postdoctoral trainees;
  • Supporting the integration of new academics;
  • Focusing on the dissemination, transfer and commercialization of research results; Cultivating links and exchanges with national and international networks;
  • Carrying out scientific activities geared towards the scientific community (researchers and students).

Each strategic cluster in Québec must set itself apart from other groups in the same or related fields and demonstrate particular strengths. Clusters must also take an original approach to Canadian and international research trends.

3.2 Composition of a strategic cluster 

The  statuses used below refer to the terminology presented in the section "Definitions – Status and Roles" at the beginning of the CGR.

3.2.1 Co-investigators

A strategic cluster is composed of co-investigators with one of the following statuses:

  • university researcher
  • clinical university researcher
  • college researcher

Clusters may also include co-investigators with the status of "Other researcher, practitioner or artist". However, while there is no limit to the participation of practitioners and artists, "other researchers" are only eligible to be co-investigators under this program if they:

  • work in Québec government or industry settings

OR

  • have the status of researcher in a Québec institution not recognized by the FRQ to manage funding but
  • have a university affiliation.

3.2.1 Collaborators

A strategic cluster may include collaborators with any of the researcher statuses recognized by the Fonds, those being:

  • university researcher
  • clinical university researcher
  • college researcher
  • other researcher, practitioner or artist.

The scientific output of collaborators is not considered during the evaluation of the funding application.

3.3 The two types of clusters 

For administrative purposes, a strategic cluster may be identified by various terms such as a centre, institute, observatory, network, etc. However, this program uses only the terms "centre" and "network" to designate clusters.

3.3.1 Centres

Strategic cluster centres are made up of researchers working in close collaboration, sometimes in the form of teams, in a concerted and coordinated manner on a joint scientific program. The scientific program revolves around a general research theme that is explored through interrelated projects grouped into research thrusts. It is designed to allow it to evolve over time, including the addition of new research projects and the removal of completed ones. As it evolves, the scientific program leads to a significant collective contribution of the centre's co-investigators to the advancement of knowledge. In their Strategic Clusters funding application, centres must demonstrate the ways in which their co-investigators support the integrated scientific research program, according to the following criteria:

  • The scientific program is targeted, coherent and based on research thrusts in which research projects are carried out;
  • Its objective is to advance the understanding of the complex phenomena under study through thrust-based research with a focus on knowledge-building;
  • The collaboration activities between the centre's co-investigators foster knowledge integration;
  • The centre's co-investigators dedicate at least 40% of their research activities to pursuing the centre's program;
  • The centre's management team ensures scientific leadership and oversees collaboration between co-investigators and the development of the scientific program;
  • The centre is located in a clearly identified, exclusive facility.

3.3.2 Networks

Strategic cluster networks develop at the interface of research environments and practice settings. The network must bring together key players in a specific research field for a structuring initiative involving individual researchers, research teams or other groups of researchers, institutional and interinstitutional centres, observatories, research institutes and other types of research facilities, and partners from the public, private and community sectors. This structuring initiative may be a large-scale project (scientific dissemination, promotion or exchange, research hub, etc.), a collective infrastructure (development of joint services or a technical or electronic platform) or a pool of expertise for the co-investigators (database development, etc.).

In its Strategic Clusters funding application, a network must define the need it will fulfill as it pertains to the research field (federate Québec expertise, develop and optimize methodological skills or multidisciplinary approaches, create and consolidate links between co-investigators and end-users, set up extensive joint research infrastructure, prototypes or broad exploratory approaches, etc.). The group must also demonstrate the ways in which the planned initiative will lead to the development of coherent and productive links between the network's co-investigators and partners from the public, private and community sectors, based on the needs, objectives, priorities, means and activities set out in the proposal.

Networks may adopt the configuration of their choice, provided they meet the following criteria:

  • The majority of the network's members are co-investigators, who must dedicate at least 40% of their research activities to the structuring initiative;
  • The network's co-investigators have complementary expertise that is relevant to the proposed structuring initiative;
  • The network has well-defined priorities and proposes activities conducive to their implementation;
  • It stimulates interdisciplinary and interuniversity research activities;
  • The structuring initiative brings significant added value to the research activities of network co-investigators;
  • The network's management team sets research and development priorities, ensures that the structuring initiative is carried out (means and activities) and sees to the development of productive links between co-investigators and partners;
  • The network is located in a clearly identified, exclusive facility.

3.3.3 Changing structure

At the end of an initial emergence or operational grant, a cluster may choose to continue in its original configuration (centre or network) or convert to the other structure if this configuration is more conducive to the development and structure of research in the field. The reasons for this change must be clearly justified in the funding application.

3.4 Two stages of development

Regardless of its development stage, each strategic cluster must:

  • be acknowledged as a research infrastructure by its home institution or a recognized funding agency;
  • have the support of its home institution;
  • demonstrate the commitment of partner institutions when submitting a letter of intent.

3.4.1 Emergence funding

This type of funding is meant for groups of researchers seeking to consolidate a research program or structuring project before applying for operational funding.

However, obtaining strategic cluster operational support is not conditional on prior emergence funding.

3.4.2 Operational funding

Operational funding is meant for:

  • Research infrastructures not funded by the Fonds but which have been recognized for at least three years by their home institution or by a government funding agency and that have maintained a high level of scientific activity and output in at least the three years prior to submitting the application for funding;
  • Strategic clusters seeking funding following an emergence grant, as described in paragraph 3.4.1;
  • Strategic clusters seeking to renew their operational funding.

4.

Eligibility requirements

 

4.1 University support

The managing institution must describe the cluster's place in its research development plan and state the type and level of support provided. The cluster must also include as least one partner institution that contributes financially or in kind to the cluster for the duration of the grant, where applicable.

4.2 Eligibility of the cluster leader

The principal investigator must have the status of university researcher or clinical university researcher, and must meet the general eligibility criteria set out in the  Common General Rules and the additional requirements set out in this program.

A researcher may only be the principal investigator for one major infrastructure funded by the FRQSC (Soutien aux infrastructures de recherche des Instituts et des Centres affiliés universitaires du secteur social and Strategic Clusters programs).


5.

Multiple membership of researchers in clusters, affiliated university centres and/or research teams

 

A researcher may be a co-investigator in up to two major infrastructures funded by the FRQSC under the Soutien aux infrastructures de recherche des Instituts et des Centres affiliés universitaires du secteur social and Strategic Clusters programs.

However, no more than 20% of the co-investigators affiliated with a given infrastructure may belong to more than one major FRQSC infrastructure.

On the other hand, to encourage intersectoral collaboration, there is no limit to researcher membership in major infrastructures funded by the other Fonds de recherche (Fonds Santé Research Centres and Institutes and Fonds Nature et technologie Strategic Clusters).

Co-investigators may also work as collaborators with other university institutes, affiliated university centres or strategic clusters funded by the FRQ.

Finally, a principal investigator or co-investigator of a university institute, affiliated university centre or strategic cluster may also be principal investigator or co-investigator of a research team funded under the FRQSC Research Team Support program.

Please refer to the  Common General Rules (Section  6.12)  for information on the rules governing concurrent funding awarded by the three Fonds de recherche du Québec.

 


6.

Application process

 

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: 

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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 regstrat.sc@frq.gouv.qc.ca, no later than May 1, 2019 at 4 p.m.
  1. 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 regstrat.sc@frq.gouv.qc.ca.) 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  regstrat.sc@frq.gouv.qc.ca 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 regstrat.sc@frq.gouv.qc.ca 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.

A.   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.

B.   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.

C.   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.

D.   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.


7.

Description of funding

 

When the results are announced, funding recipients will be encouraged to refer to the Common General Rules to familiarize themselves with the expectations regarding the use and management of grants.

The funding is intended to support the human and material infrastructure required to ensure the proper functioning of the strategic cluster. For the purposes of this program, the term "infrastructure" refers to all of the joint resources and services required to carry out the cluster's activities. The cluster's budget must consolidate all infrastructure-related expenses arising from multiple sources.

Regarding the budget item for management and coordination support, it should be noted that the FRQSC encourages grant recipients to align the duration of contracts offered to salaried personnel with the duration of the grant.

 

7.1 Basic amount

An annual basic amount is provided for each type of cluster (centre or network). The funding is adjusted according to the intensity of the implemented activities and the overall scientific quality of the strategic cluster.

Emergence funding

 

Centre

Network

Duration

3 years

3 years

Basic amount

$85,000

$75,000

 

Operational funding

 

Centre

Network

Duration

6 years

6 years

Basic amount

$250,000

$230,000

 

7.2 Supplement for major research facilities

In addition to the basic amount, additional funding may be granted to support major research facilities ($15,000/year for emerging groups and $45,000/year for operational groups). This additional funding, which the group must specifically request, serves to cover development and operational costs for research facilities (e.g. databases, equipment, laboratories, etc.).

Strategic clusters that receive the Supplement for major research facilities must provide extended access to the facilities, make them available to their community, offer interinstitutional services and develop access, use and data storage policies, if applicable.

Requests for additional funding to support major research facilities must be justified in the Budget section of the eRegroupement platform (7.2.3 for emerging groups, 8.2.3 for operational groups).

   

7.3 Supplement and release from teaching duties for college researchers

A maximum supplement of $7,000/year may be awarded for each college researcher who is a co-investigator of a funded cluster. This additional funding is intended to defray part of the college researcher's research expenses.

College researchers who are co-investigators of a cluster may apply to be released from their teaching duties under the Program to Release College Researchers from their Teaching Duties. In this case, the applicant must complete the relevant section of the Strategic Clusters program application form.

It is important to note that the release from teaching duties granted to college researchers and the supplement for college researchers are conditional upon the availability of funds to support these measures. Supplement requests must be justified in the Budget section of the eRegroupement platform (7.2.2 for emerging groups, 8.2.2 for operational groups).

 

7.4 Supplement for interregional clusters

A third supplement of up to $25,000/year is available to clusters with a strong interregional component to defray distance-related expenses (travel and living expenses, video conferencing fees, etc.) of the cluster's co-investigators.

The amount awarded will be calculated by the Fonds on the basis of the geographic distribution of the co-investigators across Québec and the plan submitted by the centre or network (see Section 6.2.1 of the program rules).

This supplement is aimed at fostering the full participation of all co-investigators, as well as students and coordinators, in the scientific development of the cluster.

The interregional integration action plan must be presented in the Budget section of the eRegroupement  platform (7.2.4 for emerging groups, 8.2.4 for operational groups).

 

7.5 Eligible expenses

Eligible expenses with regard to the basic amount and college researcher and interregional cluster supplements are described in the table below.

All amounts for remuneration and release from duties must cover tasks related to the management and coordination of research, training, research structuring, dissemination, transfer and commercialization activities.

A release from teaching duties is authorized for the principal investigator.

On request, a release from teaching duties may be granted to an individual with management or coordination duties related to the development or operation of the major research facility giving rise to the supplement presented in Section 7.2.

Consult the table of eligible expenses


8.

Application evaluation

 

The Fonds will assemble an international multidisciplinary evaluation committee made up of university researchers and, if necessary, representatives from various public and private research sectors. Prior to the scientific evaluation committee meeting, expert sub-committees will be set up to carry out a qualitative assessment of the submitted scientific programs and structuring initiatives.

Multidisciplinary committee members will assess the funding applications based on the evaluation criteria and indicators in effect as part of the Strategic Clusters program. An overall passing score of 70% is required. In addition, a passing score of 70% is also required for the "progress report", "scientific program" (centres) and "structuring initiative" (networks) criteria.

The Strategic Clusters program officer will ensure that all committee members comply with the evaluation criteria, processes and ethical rules in effect. In addition, in collaboration with the multidisciplinary evaluation committee chairperson, the program officer will determine the sub-committee members and external experts who will be consulted and see that the funding proposals remain in line with the program's budget.

8.1 Evaluation criteria and indicators

Funding applications will be evaluated solely on the basis of the information submitted. It is the responsibility of applicants to provide all the required documents and information that must be taken into account in the evaluation process.

The budget estimates providing a clear indication of the team's intentions in terms of the structuring of the activities, and the consistency of the budget with the application, will be considered when evaluating the application.

Finally, the committee will pay particular attention to the effectiveness and added value of the requested support as it pertains to each of the criteria outlined below. More specifically, funding applications will be evaluated according the following criteria and weighting:

8.1.1 Operating centre

Centre progress report and advancement of knowledge with regard to the previous application (for centres seeking to renew their funding) or with regard to the past three years (for centres that received emergence funding or that are not currently funded and are applying directly for operational funding): 20 points

  • For each research thrust, contribution to the advancement of knowledge in the field and relevance of the development of the scientific program, including follow-up on any recommendations outlined in the mid-point evaluation, if applicable (10 pts);
  • Quality and relevance of the activities that make the cluster a leading research environment, including scientific activities, training, dissemination and transfer (10 pts).

A passing score of 70% for this criterion is required.

Scientific program: 30 points

  • Originality, relevance and scope of the scientific program based on current knowledge in the field (10 pts);
  • Relevance and precision of the theoretical, conceptual and methodological basis of the scientific program (10 pts);
  • Relevance of the research thrusts and of their interrelation; consistency of their objectives with current and planned projects (10 pts).

A passing score of 70% for this criterion is required.

Composition and coordination: 20 points

  • Principal investigator's ability to carry out the scientific program (skills, leadership, experience) and relevance of the coordination efforts (10 pts);
  • Quality of the scientific output of co-investigators and complementarity of their expertise in relation to the scientific program (10 pts).

Researcher collaboration: 10 points

  • Quality and scope of the collaborative activities for the centre's co-investigators.

Research training: 10 points

  • Quality, coherence and diversity of the experiences and support available to student-researchers beyond their study programs, including mechanisms provided for their integration.

Reach: 5 points

  • Quality and relevance of the actions planned to foster the centre's national and international reach.

Transfer: 5 pts

  • Quality and relevance of the activities planned for promoting the research results and ensuring they are transferred to the practice settings involved in the program.

8.1.2 Operating network

Network progress report with regard to the previous application (for networks seeking to renew their funding) or with regard to the past three years (for networks that received emergence funding or that are not currently funded and are applying directly for operational funding): 20 points

  • Structuring effect of the network's activities on the targeted field of research, including follow-up on any recommendations outlined in the mid-point evaluation, if applicable (10 pts);
  • Quality and relevance of the activities that contribute to the development (or maintenance) of leading research environments, including scientific activities, training, dissemination and transfer (10 pts).

A passing score of 70% for this criterion is required.

Structuring initiative: 40 points

  • Significance and relevance of the research field and targeted needs (10 pts);
  • Relevance of the means that will be deployed in light of the objectives (10 pts);
  • Quality and relevance of the planned partnership activities to foster knowledge development and the commercialization of research results and their uptake by organizations, practice settings and decision-makers (10 pts);
  • Scope of the anticipated structuring effects, added value of the network's activities in the research field and quality and relevance of planned actions to foster the network's national and international reach (10 pts).

A passing score of 70% for this criterion is required.

Composition and coordination: 20 points

  • Principal investigator's ability to carry out the structuring initiative (skills, leadership, experience) and relevance of the coordination efforts (10 pts)
  • Quality of the scientific output of co-investigators and complementarity of their expertise in relation to the network project (10 pts)

Researcher collaboration: 10 points

  • Quality and scope of the collaborative activities to create and maintain productive links between co-investigators.

Research training: 10 points

  • Quality, coherence and diversity of the experiences and support available to student-researchers beyond their study programs, including mechanisms provided for their integration.

 

8.1.3 Emerging centre

Scientific program: 30 points

  • Originality, relevance and scope of the scientific program to be consolidated based on current knowledge (10 pts);
  • Relevance and precision of the theoretical, conceptual and methodological basis of the scientific program that will be consolidated (10 pts);
  • Relevance of the research thrusts of the scientific program that will be consolidated and of their interrelation (10 pts).

A passing score of 70% for this criterion is required.

Centre development plan: 40 points

  • Quality and relevance of the centre's development plan (clarity of the objectives, effectiveness of the planned measures, soundness of the project schedule, quality of the research training plan, scientific activities, reach and transfer) (20 pts);
  • Quality and relevance of the planned consultation activities and contribution of the grant to the consolidation of the scientific program and the development of the centre (20 pts).

Composition and coordination: 30 points

  • Principal investigator's ability to develop the centre (leadership, experience) and relevance of the planned coordinating mechanisms for structuring it (10 pts);
  • Quality of the scientific output of co-investigators in relation to the scientific program that will be consolidated (10 pts);
  • Complementarity of co-investigators' expertise in relation to the scientific program that will be consolidated (10 pts).

8.1.4  Emerging network

Structuring initiative: 30 points

  • Significance and relevance of the research field and targeted needs (10 pts);
  • Added value of the development of the structuring initiative for the research field, including benefits for research training (20 pts).

A passing score of 70% for this criterion is required.

Network development plan: 40 points

  • Quality and relevance of the network's development plan (clarity of the objectives, effectiveness of the planned measures, soundness of the project schedule, quality of the research training plan, scientific activities, reach and transfer) (20 pts);
  • Quality of the planned consultation activities and contribution of the grant to the consolidation of the network project (20 pts).

Composition and coordination: 30 points

  • Principal investigator's ability to develop the network (leadership, experience) and relevance of the planned coordinating mechanisms for structuring it (10 pts);
  • Quality of the scientific output of co-investigators (10 pts);
  • Complementarity of co-investigators' expertise in relation to the structuring initiative (10 pts).

9.

Follow up

 

Every strategic cluster must provide the Fonds with a revised budget and a financial report, in May and June respectively of each year of funding. In addition, a mid-point evaluation will be carried out for clusters that receive operational funding.

Each cluster has the responsibility to update its file annually through the eRegroupement platform—including its membership—before the end of the financial year (March 31st). The Fonds will only issue a reminder to this effect at the time of the mid-point evaluation. The evaluation will examine the progress of the work in relation to the initial application. In light of the results of this evaluation, the committee appointed by the Fonds will recommend whether or not to continue the funding and formulate any other recommendations deemed appropriate.

Clusters subject to a mid-point visit will be notified in advance of the conditions under which the visit will take place.


10.

General considerations

 

All programs must be approved by the government, and grants are subject to government appropriations.

The Fonds reserves the right to modify the value of the grant and the program rules detailed in this document without prior notice.

Applicants must respect the eligibility requirements of the program and the Common General Rules, which are available on the Fonds Société et culture website.