During the last quarter, I had the opportunity to visit several colleges and universities as part of a tour that will end in May. I observed the richness and diversity of the research being conducted and the drive and creativity of our community. Certain expectations seem to converge and the particular needs that were expressed will be highlighted in the report submitted to the board of directors in June, once the tour has ended. The propositions could inspire changes to our programs.
A number of projects kept us busy in the past three months. First were the funding competitions. I would like to sincerely thank all the committees' members who, again this year, contributed to this critical step in the research process by evaluating the applications submitted to the many programs. In total, almost $46M will be awarded in 2016-2017, including more than $12M in new grants and new scholarships. Still, we do not have the means to fully support all of the excellent applications we receive.
This situation strengthens my resolve to do whatever is necessary to increase our budgets, raise our success rates and expand our funding offer. We will also explore the development of new partnerships to support more joint initiatives and implement intersectoral and special projects. With the backing of the entire team and the chief scientist, I will pursue my commitment to maximize our initiatives and representations to government departments and other organizations to highlight the importance and impact of our research and foster new collaborations.
Among our focuses is a matter of major concern for which we seek to best support the community: open access to publications and journals and, more broadly, the entire research dissemination ecosystem. The radical changes that are transforming information sharing have an effect on publication processes, formats and business plans, dissemination funding, archiving and, first and foremost, on the consultation and valorization of research results. The issue shall therefore remain at the forefront.
The Fonds has also become involved in several international partnerships, which, we hope, will lead to calls for proposal to foster new collaborations with members of the international research community.
Finally, I would like to mention the recent release of the 2016–2019 strategic plan of the Ministère de l'Économie, de la Science et de l'Innovation. The plan is encouraging since its primary area of intervention is scientific culture and innovation. Of course, we will work to highlight the critical importance of social innovation and the long-term interest of funding basic research.