Postdoctoral research scholarship (B3X)


Summary

Competition year :

2021-2022

 

Deadline (application) :

October 6th, 2020, 4 PM

 

Amount :

$45,000

 

Duration :

2 or 3 years

 

Announcement of results :

End of April 2021

 

Program rules

In your application, you will be able to describe how the COVID-19 pandemic may have affected your training or research activities during the past few months, in order for this information to be considered in the evaluation of your application. Please refer to the document "Considering the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic in the evaluation of funding applications" for further information.

Please read the following sections carefully: "Eligibility requirements" and "Submitting the funding application". No reminder will be made, and no documents can be added after the application deadline.

The FRQ's common general rules provide the basic rules applicable to all Fonds de recherche du Québec programming. This document provides rules specifically applicable to these scholarship programs. It is necessary to consult both documents to know all the applicable rules. The clarifications provided in these rules take precedence over the Common General Rules.

An application that is incomplete at the competition deadline of 4 p.m. on October 6, 2020 will be declared inadmissible by the Fonds.


1.

Objectives

The objective of the Fonds de recherche du Québec – Nature et technologies (FRQNT) postdoctoral research scholarship program is to foster up-and-coming researchers working in various research environments, by helping new doctorate holders to broaden their areas of research in natural science, mathematics or engineering fields.

These scholarships also seek to encourage the mobility of researchers toward scientifically stimulating and dynamic environments. These environments may be universities, industries, government agencies and university affiliated institutions.

Postdoctoral research scholarships are intended for new researchers who obtained their doctorate and who wish to begin or pursue their postdoctoral research.


2.

Eligibility requirements

Applicants must meet all the eligibility requirements at the competition deadline.

2.1 Citizenship and domicile

To be eligible for a Postdoctoral Research Scholarship, applicants must provide proof that they have been living in Québec for six of the seven months prior to the competition deadline OR have a valid Régie d'assurance maladie du Québec (RAMQ) card or proof of eligibility for RAMQ.

To be eligible for a Postdoctoral Research Scholarship, the place where the research or studies will be carried out must be in Québec. However, the place where the research or studies will be carried out can be outside Québec if the applicant has a valid RAMQ card or proof of eligibility for RAMQ at the time of application AND is a Canadian citizen.

Applicants who do not have a valid RAMQ card or proof of eligibility for RAMQ at the time of application, or who are not Canadian citizens, must pursue their studies in Québec. Their continuous physical presence in Québec is required throughout the duration of funding, apart from break periods listed in the university calendar.

FRQNT scholarship holders must meet the citizenship and domicile conditions throughout the duration of the scholarship.

2.2 Restrictions

Applicants who have received or are currently receiving a postdoctoral research scholarship from a Quebec or federal granting agency are not eligible for this competition.

2.3 Eligibility period for the scholarship

Applicants must have obtained their doctorate no more than two years prior to the competition deadline or plan to submit their thesis no later than January 2022, the deadline for starting the scholarship.

The doctorate is considered to have been obtained on the date at which all degree requirements were completed, including the successful completion of the thesis examination and submission of the revised version of the document.

In the case of applicants with more than one doctorate, the date of the first doctorate prevails.

2.4 Exceptions in calculating the eligibility period

Exceptions to the rules governing the eligibility period for scholarships are considered only in circumstances beyond the applicant's control, such as a serious illness or major family obligations. In such a case, the applicant must provide the FRQNT with a notice describing the nature of the requested interruption and, if necessary, a medical certificate stating the duration and reason for the interruption.  

Applicants who interrupt their studies for maternity or parental leave can request an extension of their eligibility period for a maximum of 12 months. Supporting documents must be enclosed with the application.

When the student is a person with a disability as stipulated in the Act to secure the handicapped persons in the exercise of their rights with a view to achieving social, school and workplace integration (L.R.Q. c. E-20.1), the rules pertaining to the eligibility period do not apply. The duration of the scholarship remains unchanged at two years. Documents must be then passed on with the demand.

The FRQNT reserves the right to refuse any request not adequately justified.

2.5 Postdoctoral research location

The postdoctoral research must be carried out at an institution other than the one that awarded the applicant's doctorate. Internationally recognized research environments located outside Québec are preferred. Exceptionally, applicants who demonstrates that their mobility is restricted due to serious illness, a disability or major family obligations can carry out their research in the same institution as that which awarded the doctorate. 

2.6 Supervisors 

An applicant's doctoral supervisors and co-supervisors may not supervise his/her postdoctoral studies, even if they have changed institutions. Exceptionally, in the case of applicants who demonstrate that their mobility is restricted due to serious illness, a disability or major family obligations, post-doctoral supervision can be provided by their doctoral supervisors and co-supervisors if it is also shown that it is impossible for the postdoctoral studies to be supervised by any other person.

2.7 Choosing an evaluation committee

Applicants must choose their evaluation committee based on their research topic. Other factors to be considered are the applicant's field of study and research program. Once granted, the scholarship cannot be used for research on a subject in a field not covered by the committee that evaluated the application.

An applicant who chooses the multidisciplinary committee (14) must attach a one-page document to the form, in the "Other documents" section, explaining the multidisciplinary aspect of the program of study.

The applicant is responsible for choosing his/her evaluation committee. No changes can be made after the competition deadline.

2.8 Paid leave

Applicants who are on a sabbatical or study leave with remuneration that exceeds 50% of their regular salary are not eligible. However, those receiving deferred remuneration are not subject to this restriction.


3.

Contents of the funding application and required documents

Eligible applicants may submit only one application per year to one postdoctoral research program of one of the three Québec funding agencies.

Only one application may be submitted to any given scholarship program in a single year.  

Contents of the application

Electronic forms

All the electronic forms must be filled out and submitted by the competition deadline.

The applicant must create a user account in order to complete the scholarship application form.

The form is available on the Web site of the FRQNT. It must be completed and submitted electronically by the competition deadline. Once completed, applicants can print the form and keep a copy for their records.

An applicant who chooses the multidisciplinary committee (14) must attach a one-page document to the form, in the "Other documents" section, explaining the multidisciplinary aspect of the program of study.

Two letters of recommendation are required. Respondents must complete a letter of recommendation from their user account on the FRQNT website.

The supervisor must complete a letter of acceptance from their user account on the FRQNT website.

The applicant must complete and submit the electronic Canadian Common CV form available on the FRQNT website.

Important : The FRQNT Uses the Canadian Common CV and requires a PDF file of detailed contributions. See the "Canadian Common CV" section in the applicant portal.

Forms may be completed in English or French. Applicants who submit the form in English must provide a French title for their project.

Presentation standards

Refer to the PDF file provided for this purpose in the program's Toolbox.

Required documents

Required documents must be submitted electronically in the appropriate sections of the application form. Any documents that are illegible or of a poor resolution will be rejected.

Applicants are responsible for their application, which must include all required documents and attachments to be considered admissible. Applicants must also ensure that their respondents and supervisors have submitted their letters of recommendation and acceptance by the competition deadline. 

Applicants must supply the following documents:

  • A copy of official transcripts of grades (non-official electronic version will not be accepted) for all university studies, completed or not (certificate, degree, bachelor's, master's or Ph.D., etc). When equivalences are granted for courses taken at other institutions or in previous programs, transcripts for these grades must be enclosed with the file, including collegial transcripts. For transcripts from outside Canada or United States, applicants must enclose a letter explaining the grading system used by the institution in question;
  • The FRQNT considers transcripts issued to the applicant by the registrar's office, and that are not marked "unofficial" (or equivalent), to be official transcripts. Opening the envelope to scan the transcript will not render it unofficial for FRQNT purposes;
  • Proof that the applicant successfully defended his/her thesis and a copy of the document attesting that the final version of the thesis was submitted. If the applicant is not able to provide these documents, he/she may include a copy of his/her doctoral transcript;
  • An applicant who has not been living in Québec (with the appropriate visas and authorizations) on a regular and daily basis for at least six months of  the seven months prior to the competition deadline must provide a photocopy of a valid Québec health insurance card or other official document from the Régie de l'assurance maladie (RAMQ) confirming residency status in Québec under the meaning of the Québec health Insurance Act. If such a document is not available, the applicant must provide a letter addressed to the eligibility committee explaining the reasons, accompanied by proof that a replacement card has been requested from the Régie de l'assurance maladie du Québec or that another official document is provided;
  • An applicant who is a Canadian citizen and who wishes, or may wish, to use a training award to undertake studies outside Québec must provide a photocopy of a valid Québec health insurance card or other official document from the Régie de l'assurance maladie (RAMQ) confirming residency status in Québec under the meaning of the Québec health Insurance Act. If such a document is not available, the applicant must provide a letter addressed to the eligibility committee explaining the reasons, accompanied by proof that a replacement card has been requested from the Régie de l'assurance maladie du Québec or that another official document is provided;
  • Applicants who are not Canadian citizens or permanent residents of Canada must provide: a copy of their study permit or work permit issued by Citizenship and Immigration Canada;
  • Acknowledgements of receipt from the editor for all articles submitted and notices received from editors for articles accepted for publication (Acknowledgements of receipt for articles already published are not sent to the evaluation committee);
  • Acknowledgements of receipt for any patents submitted.

Additional documents for applicants wishing to be considered for exemptions regarding the eligibility period:

  • Official attestation of interrupted enrolment and, where applicable, a medical certificate indicating the duration of and the reason for the interruption.
  • For the eligibility extension for parental leave, a copy of the child's birth certificate or adoption certificate.

Additional document for applicants who are carrying out their research abroad and who are ensured a regular position in a Québec research centre or university upon their return:

  • A letter from the director of the research centre or university department confirming that the position will be granted when the applicant returns.

Only the electronic forms for the 2021-2022 financial year and the other required documents are accepted. No appendices or other unrequested documents will be forwarded to the evaluation committee. Files cannot be updated after the competition deadline. It is, however, important to update your contact information in your FRQnet portfolio.

The FRQNT reserves the right to verify with institutions concerned the authenticity of any documents and information provided with the application. Additional documents may be required.

Any document submitted in a language other than French or English must be accompanied by a translation certified as a true copy of the original document.


4.

Submitting the funding application

Applicants must attach the required documents in the appropriate sections of the application form and submit the application before the competition deadline. No reminder will be made, and no documents can be added after the competition deadline.

Important: incomplete applications will not be accepted.

Eligibility of applications

The program administrator and members of the evaluation committees verify the eligibility of each application according to the requirements set out in the program rules.

Acknowledgement of receipt

You will receive a preliminary decision regarding the eligibility of your application by e-mail in December at the latest. Applicants who have not received this notification should contact the program administrator before December 15.


5.

Evaluation of applications

5.1 Evaluation criteria

The applications will be assessed based on the following criteria and weighting:

Criterion

Weighting

Research skills and experience

  • Research or teaching assistantship;
  • Internships;
  • Student supervision; 
  • Ability to use his/her skills and apply his/her knowledge;
  • Publications, communications;
  • Reports; 
  • Patents;
  • Etc.

25 points

Scientific quality of the project

  • Feasibility and value of the proposed research
  • Clarity of the scientific objectives
  • Relevance of the methodology to the research objectives
  • Originality of the project
  • Contribution to advancing knowledge in the field
  • Added value of the project to the doctoral work

25 points

Quality and relevance of the research environment

  • Rationale behind the choice of research environment
  • Alignment of the proposed project with the supervisor's research field
  • Quality and recognition of the training environment
  • Choice of research environment outside Québec
  • Fit between the research environment and the career plan

15 points

Excellence of the applicant

  • Excellence of the academic record
  • Duration and progression of studies 
  • Awards and distinctions 
  • Letters of recommendation

15 points

Social implication, leadership and communication skills

  • Leadership skills
  • Organization of conferences and meetings
  • Nominations
  • Volunteering
  • Mentoring
  • Experience as a supervisor
  • Project management
  • Committee chairmanship
  • Ability or potential to clearly and logically communicate scientific concepts
  • General presentation of the application

20 points

TOTAL

100 points

5.2 Evaluation procedure

Role of evaluation committees

Eligible applications are submitted to evaluation committees composed of three or four three or four university faculty members. A committee may also include representatives from the private sector or government.

The evaluation committees compare the submitted applications according to the evaluation criteria in effect. Their job is to rank all the applications on merit.

Role of Board of Directors

The Board of Directors receives the recommendations of the evaluation committees and makes funding decisions. The Board is accountable for its decisions to the Government of Quebec.

Role of program administrator

FRQNT program administrators are responsible for ensuring that that committees comply with the program and rules of ethics in effect.


6.

Awarding of scholarships and announcement of results

Awarding of scholarships

Applications are evaluated and ranked on merit by the evaluation committees. Scholarships are offered according to the available budget. When allocating its budget, the FRQNT reserves the right to change its scholarships in keeping with objectives chosen by the Board of Directors.

Announcement of the results

The decision of the FRQNT Board of Directors is announced electronically in late April via the applicant's online account. Applicants are informed of their results and can print their notification letter.

Contacting members of the committees, who are subject to rules of confidentiality, is strictly prohibited.

The decisions of the Board of Directors are final and cannot be appealed. There is no appeal process.

After receiving your grant letter, you have 30 calendar days to signify your acceptance or rejection by completing the "Gérer mon financement" form.
After this deadline, candidates are deemed to have declined the scholarship.

7.

Duration and management of scholarships

Scholarship holders must comply with all the rules described in detail in the Scholarship Holder's Guide.

To use a training award for postdoctoral studies outside Québec, the scholarship holder must be a Canadian citizen and have a valid RAMQ card or proof of eligibility for RAMQ at the time of application as set out in Section 3 of these rules.

The scholarship period must begin between May 1, 2021 and January 15, 2022.

Barring exceptional circumstances, the scholarship cannot be carried over from one year to the next. For applicants who have begun the program of study, the period of use begins on May 1, 2021.

The scholarship is not retroactive and months of research completed prior to May 2021 cannot be funded.

The scholarship holder must be present at the postdoctoral research site throughout the duration of the scholarship.

Excluding the exceptional cases relating to part-time studies as outlined in the Scholarship Holder's Guide (disabled persons, family caregivers and parents), scholarship holders must be dedicated full time to their research activities.

Scholarships are granted for a period of two years, subject to presentation of a progress report deemed satisfactory by the program administrator.

To make any changes to his/her study program, project or location, the scholarship holder must submit a request as prescribed in the Scholarship Holder's Guide.

Duration of the scholarship

The minimum duration of postdoctoral research is six months and the maximum is 2 years with the possibility of a 3rd year following the evaluation of a renewal application.

To be eligible, the renewal application must be submitted within the final seven (7) months of the FRQNT scholarship.

A renewal application submitted after the end of the FRQNT scholarship is not eligible.

An application is considered to be submitted for the application deadline following the submission of the form.

No change in research environment will be permitted between the submission of the renewal application and the end of the third year of funding.

The application for mis available on the FRQNT website. It must be completed and submitted electronically before one of the deadlines indicated below.

The postdoctoral supervisor must complete a letter of support from his or her user account on the FRQNT website. The letter must state the reasons why a third year of funding is necessary.

There are three evaluations per year and three deadlines for submitting a renewal application. These are:

  • February 1;
  • June 1; and
  • October 1.

The evaluation criteria for the renewal application are as follows:

  • The progress of the project in light of the methodology and discipline (30%);
  • The relevance and added value of an additional year (30%);
  • The potential for success (30%); and
  • The publications, conferences and other presentations since the start of FRQNT funding of the postdoctoral research (10%)

The renewal application results will be announced about six (6) weeks after each application deadline.

Value of the scholarship

The FRQNT Board of Directors may modify the value of scholarships at any time, without notice, notably in accordance with the funds allocated annually by the Québec National Assembly, its strategic priorities and its budget process.

The annual value of the postdoctoral research scholarship is $45 000. A supplement of $10,000 is granted to the scholarship holder whose research is conducted abroad. The Fonds de recherche – Nature et technologies considers that the research is conducted abroad if it is performed in an institution outside Canada. Research is also considered to be conducted abroad if it is performed in an institution outside Québec located more than 250 km outside of Québec's borders.

The scholarship holder may receive up to six payments during the eligibility period (24 months). Each payment covers a four-month period (one semester).  

Scholarship holders whose postdoctoral research is conducted abroad and who have obtained formal assurance of a future position in a research center or a university in Quebec upon completion of postdoctoral training may receive an increase of up to 50% of the scholarship to cover the cost of living. To obtain this supplement, scholarship holders must, at the time of the presentation of the application, include in their supporting documents a letter from the director of the research center or the head of the department confirming that they have been hired.

Convertibility of Scholarship

Scholarship holders who obtain a position as a regular professor in a Quebec university may, after completing one full year of studies, request permission to use part of the scholarship as a start-up grant. A maximum amount of $15,000 may be converted into a grant. The Common General Rules, and more specifically Section 8, apply to this grant.

Reimbursement of travel expenses

In accordance with the provisions set out in greater detail in the Scholarship Holder's Guide, the cost of travel outside Québec for the scholarship holder and his/her spouse and children at the beginning and end of the postdoctoral research will be reimbursed by the FRQNT, provided that these expenses are not reimbursed by any other organization or agency. For a scholarship holder who has not yet defended his or her thesis, additional travel expenses may be reimbursed.

Concurrent scholarships

In accordance with the provisions presented in greater detail in the Scholarship Holder's Guide:

  • The Fonds provides additional funding based on merit. The current rule pertaining to the cumulation of scholarships guarantees that the scholarship recipient will not receive less than he/she would have received if he/she had only obtained a scholarship from the Fonds.
  • Applicants who receive a scholarship from a private source, including universities, research chairs, consortiums, private international and foreign foundations, governments of other Canadian provinces and of foreign governments, may combine this support source with a Fonds scholarship if allowed under these instances' rules governing concurrent scholarships.

Paid employment

Regardless of the exceptions relative to the paid work described in the Scholarship Holder's Guide, scholarship holders may accept employment that does not exceed the maximum hours per semester allowed by their institution, provided their supervisor is in agreement and that these activities do not hinder their research program.

The salary that scholarship holders receive from their supervisor for working solely on their research project is considered a scholarship for which concurrent funding is permitted.

Parental leave

If you interrupt your studies for the birth or adoption of a child, you may request parental leave. Parental leave may not exceed twelve months, or the equivalent of three academic terms. It may begin during the term the birth or adoption is expected and end no later than one year after the child's birth. Notwithstanding Article 6.13 of the Common General Rules, paid parental leave is available for a period of eight months. However, you must have already started at least one semester as a FRQNT scholarship holder to receive paid parental leave. It is important to note that only one parental leave is granted per birth or adoption.


8.

Ethics and the responsible conduct of research

8.1 Responsible conduct of research

Any individual or institution that receives funding must demonstrate the highest standards of research ethics and scientific integrity. Please refer to the Common General Rules for further details.

This includes a declaration by the project's principal investigator and the managing institution that there are no real or apparent conflicts of interest that could influence the application evaluation process.

Please refer to the CGR for any matter related to responsible conduct in research, privacy and confidentiality, intellectual property and the protection of academic freedom.

8.2 Intellectual property

The sharing of intellectual property rights and exploitation rights must comply with the principles defined by the Government of Québec in its Action Plan for managing intellectual property in universities and institutions of the health and social service network (MRST, 2002) and the CGR (Section 5.5).

Rights of the FRQNT regarding the summary of results available in the final report: The FRQNT may use the summary of project results and applications requested in the final report form, for reproduction, adaptation, publication, translation, or communication to the public by any means (conference, websites, Facebook, Twitter, etc.) in compliance with copyrights and for non-commercial purposes only. The text may be edited prior to dissemination without further notice.


9.

Integrity of the evaluation process

At no time may applicants and evaluation committee members discuss or comment on the selection process currently underway. The identities of evaluation committee members are kept confidential to avoid any attempt at collusion.

The Fonds reserve the right to withdraw an application from competition if there is any inappropriate intervention, lobby, undue influence or collusion during the evaluation process, as stipulated in the Policy for the Responsible Conduct of Research.

FRQNT Board of Directors members are not involved in the scientific evaluation process.

At no time may applicants make contact with evaluation committee members. Similarly, evaluation committee members must not make contact with applicants. The Fonds reserve the right to withdraw an application from competition if there is any inappropriate intervention, lobby, undue influence or collusion during the evaluation process. See the Policy for the Responsible Conduct of Research for more details.

Every person recruited to sit on an evaluation committee must comply with standard confidentiality rules regarding the application packages, committee makeup, deliberations and recommendations. The evaluation committee chairperson, members and outside experts are required to disclose any conflicts of interest and must sign a written statement in this regard.

Each committee participant has signed a confidentiality agreement in which they consent not to reveal any of the information gained during the course of their mandates. All discussions are also subject to confidentiality rules.


11.

Equity, diversity and inclusion

The Fonds de recherche du Québec wish 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.

To mitigate the influence of unconscious bias in the scientific assessment process, individuals taking part in the Fonds de recherche du Québec's peer review process will henceforth be encouraged to take a short online training course. In the interest of avoiding duplication for the scientific community, we have chosen to use the Unconscious bias training module developed by the federal funding agencies and available on the Canada Research Chairs website.

While this training course is not mandatory, we hope that a critical mass of reviewers will choose to take it to help enhance the fairness of the assessment process. Please note that all Fonds staff responsible for evaluation committees will be required to complete the online training module as well as additional training.

Funding recipients are also encouraged to consider these measures in the context of their research groups and activities. For more information, please consult our Statement on equity, diversity and inclusion.


12.

Liability of the Fonds

The Fonds make all reasonable efforts to ensure optimal service. However, they cannot be held liable for any direct or indirect damage resulting from their handling of applications for funding. Furthermore, without limiting the generality of the foregoing, the Fonds are not liable for any direct or indirect damage resulting from the disclosure of personal or confidential information that was not authorized by the Fonds.


13.

False or misleading information

The Fonds presume the good faith of the declaration provided in funding applications or in any other document submitted at any time during the funding cycle, from the initial funding application to the final report. Applicants and funding holders must be transparent and provide accurate and precise information. They must be conscientious about advising the Fonds of any changes in their situation, where applicable.

Under the Act Respecting the Ministère de l'Enseignement supérieur, de la Recherche, de la Science et de la Technologie (CQLR, c. M-15.1.0.1), any individual who submits an application containing false or misleading information to obtain or procure financial support is committing an offence, is liable to a fine and could be barred from receiving financial support for a period of up to five years. Where a legal person commits such an offence, every director or representative of that legal person who was aware of the offence may be liable to a fine. Furthermore, such a declaration constitutes a breach of responsible research conduct, as set forth in the Fonds de recherche du Québec Policy for the Responsible Conduct of Research, and may be subject to sanctions in accordance with this policy.

The Fonds reserve the right to take immediate measures to stop the use of public funds obtained through false or misleading information, and to take legal action to recover fraudulently obtained funds and claim compensation for damages caused where appropriate.


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