Strategic Clusters 2019 - 2020


Summary

Competition year :

2019-2020

 

Deadline (notice or letter of intent) :

May 23rd, 2018, 4 PM

 

Deadline (application) :

October 24th, 2018, 4 PM

 

Amount :

300 000 $ - 600 000 $

 

Duration :

2-6 years

 

Announcement of results :

End of April 2019

 

Program rules

The Fonds expects to receive new and renewal applications that convincingly meet the objectives and assessment criteria in effect for the two components of the program. As many clusters have already been created, successful applications must set themselves apart when it comes to their relevance, their specificity, their contribution to the development or consolidation of broad research fields of strategic importance to Québec, their complementarity with similar initiatives in Québec and Canada, and their involvement in research on an international level.



1.

Objectives

The objective of the Strategic Clusters program is to strengthen and support the emergence of centres of research excellence that are in line with international scientific networks and which contribute to the development of priority areas with potentially significant scientific, technological, social and economic benefits for Québec.

More specifically, this funding program aims to:

  • encourage the consolidation and development of international collaborations;
  • encourage the consolidation and development of university/college collaborations;
  • give impetus to the research system by facilitating the emergence or consolidation of groups of researchers from various disciplines and sectors;
  • support the establishment of multidisciplinary teams by facilitating the pooling of human and material infrastructures;
  • foster knowledge transfer and the founding of partnerships with the public and private organizations that are the potential users of the research results;
  • support the emergence or consolidation of stimulating high-quality host environments to train researchers and highly qualified personnel;
  • support the implementation of major scientific equipment and encourage its  optimal use by facilitating access to users from different environments and institutions;
  • create an important leverage effect to maximize investment in research and development in Québec.

The Strategic Clusters program is a complement to Canadian research support programs including the Canada Foundation for Innovation, the Networks of Centres of Excellence and the Canada Research Chairs program.

Certain clusters may be part of strategic alliances and share funding from the Fonds de recherche du Québec - Nature et technologies, the Fonds de recherche du Québec - Société et Culture and the Fonds de recherche du Québec - Santé.


2.

Nature and characteristics of the cluster

A strategic cluster provides a scientific framework for the coordination of research and research training and the organization of knowledge dissemination and transfer activities. The cluster may be physically located on a single site or on several sites. Clusters bring together critical masses of researchers working in close collaboration and who focus the greater part of their research activities on the training of new researchers and highly qualified personnel.

A strategic cluster has unique characteristics as compared to other groups in the same field or related fields in Québec. The purpose of the cluster must be reflected in either a scientific program that demonstrates the group's strengths in training, research, knowledge transfer or technologies with significant development potential for Québec, helping to position the province at the forefront of major research trends in Canada and abroad, or a material infrastructure that can serve a broad and diverse clientele.

The grant is meant to support the human and material resources necessary to ensure the strategic cluster's proper functioning (i.e., all of the resources and services shared by members and which are necessary to attain the research objectives).


3.

Eligibility criteria

The eligibility criteria are as follows:

Component: Cluster of researchers

A strategic cluster:

  • has a coherent research program that integrates different research thrusts;
  • has a unique structure that distinguishes it from a department or faculty;
  • is officially recognized by one or several institutions, in keeping with their strategic research development plans;
  • is made up of at least 12 researchers corresponding to the categories described in the Common General Rules in the section entitled "Definitions- Status and roles".

Component: Cluster built around a material infrastructure that meets an important need for access to major research installations and services.

A strategic cluster:

  • meets an important need for access to major research installations and their associated services; the major research installation must have already been funded or be on the point of being funded;
  • offers an inter-institutional service;
  • is made up of at least four Québec institutions of higher learning bringing together users corresponding to the categories described in the Common General Rules in the section entitled "Definitions- Status and roles". However, the installations must be accessible to occasional users from both within and outside the university environment.

The application must be submitted by the home institution of the strategic cluster director.

Declaration of managing and partner institutions

The institutions endorsing the application must formally affirm their support using the appropriate form. Partner institutions must be Québec universities or colleges.

To qualify for a grant or career award, the applicant must be employed by a managing institution at the time the application is submitted. Every funding year, the managing institution must confirm that it continues to employ the researcher on an ongoing basis (including the maintenance of appropriate visas, if applicable).

Identification of the strategic cluster leader

The principal applicant (cluster leader) is a university researcher, a clinical university researcher or a college researcher who holds the position of professor in a Quebec educational institution. Retired researchers and institutional researchers cannot lead a project under the present program.

Role in the application

Co-investigator

Individuals with the role of co-investigator in a funding application must meet the definition provided at the beginning of the Common General Rules for university researcher, clinical university researcher or college researcher.

A co-investigator may be involved in multiple major Fonds de recherche du Québec infrastructures. In such cases, he or she must ensure that the sum of the percentages of the time spent on each does not exceed 100%. Their scientific productivity is assessed in accordance with their level of involvement.

Collaborator

Individuals with the role of collaborator in a funding application must meet the definition provided at the beginning of the Common General Rules.


4.

Application assessment

Assessment process

Letter of intent

The first step in the assessment process for strategic clusters is the submission of a letter of intent. This requirement applies to both new and renewal applications. The members of the FRQNT Scientific Council will assess the letters of intent. This assessment is eliminatory. The Council will consider:

  • compliance with eligibility criteria;
  • consistency with program objectives;
  • the consideration given to the cluster in the research development plan of the college or university responsible for the application;
  • the  opportunities stemming from Québec, Canadian and international initiatives;
  • the unique characteristics that distinguish the group from other existing groups;
  • the priorities outlined in the different government policies on research and innovation; and
  • the potential benefits for the development of Québec society.

The letter of intent must be accompanied only by the CV of the cluster director.

The Fonds will quickly inform the cluster director of the outcome of the letter of intent assessment by the Scientific Council.

The letter of intent will be used to establish the eligibility of the cluster. The Fonds will carefully evaluate the letters of intent, and will only ask certain clusters to submit a complete application. Discussions may be held between Fonds authorities and college or university administrators after the letter of intent is submitted and before the complete application is presented. These discussions will be for the sole purpose of encouraging consultation between the parties involved.

Cluster directors will be invited to submit a complete application following a favourable recommendation by the Scientific Council.

Strategic clusters applying for renewal of funding cannot be eliminated from the competition at the letter of intent stage.

Application assessment

Funding applications will be assessed by a multidisciplinary assessment committee made up of university researchers and representatives from various public and private research institutions at the national and international levels. The composition of the committee will be determined according to the number of funding applications submitted to the FRQNT and their sectors of research. A member of the Scientific Council will serve as an observer on the committee.

The multidisciplinary assessment committee will create as many visiting committees as necessary for the number of applications received. Visiting committees will be composed of a minimum of two members of the multidisciplinary assessment committee and two outside specialists, and will be chaired by a member of the multidisciplinary assessment committee. The Strategic Clusters program officer will serve as an observer and resource person. A FRQNT staff member will assume the role of secretary of the various visiting committees and will be responsible for producing written reports of the proceedings.

The visiting committees will hold a series of meetings as follows:

30 minutes

Meeting with the administrators concerned. Videoconferencing may be used.

60 minutes

Meeting with the strategic cluster director.

60 minutes

Meeting with heads of research and the cluster director and coordinator. Up to three other people may join this group if judged necessary by the director.

60 minutes

Meeting with students to obtain their assessment of the various scientific activities.

120 minutes

In-camera dinner meeting of the visiting committee to prepare the meeting report.

The visiting committees' reports will consider the performance of the strategic clusters in relation to the assessment criteria and indicators in effect for the program component for which they are applying.

The multidisciplinary assessment committee will formulate its funding recommendations to the Board of Directors based on the visiting committees' reports and its own detailed analysis of the applications.

Every funding application will be analysed, criterion by criterion, by the multidisciplinary assessment committee, which will assign a letter grade for each assessment criterion (A, A-, B+, B, B-, C+, C, C-, D+, D or D-). Once all of the applications have been evaluated, the letter grades will be converted to numerical values as follows:

A  =  4

A- =  3.6

 

B+  =  3.3

B   =   3.0

B-  =   2.6

C+ =  2.3

C   =  2.0

C-  =  1.6

D+  =  1.3

D    =  1.0

D-   =  0.6

These numerical values will be used to assign an overall percentage grade to each funding application and to rank the applications analysed by the multidisciplinary assessment committee in order of merit. The multidisciplinary assessment committee will then use this ranking to determine funding levels according to grade bracket, within the limits of the funding allocated to the program.

The program officer is responsible for ensuring that all persons involved at all stages of the assessment process respect the assessment criteria and procedures and the rules of ethics in effect. In addition, the program officer will work with the chairman and members of the multidisciplinary assessment committee to determine the members of the visiting committees and the outside experts who will serve on the committees. Finally, the program officer will ensure that the funding proposals meet the financial constraints set by the Board of Directors.

Assessment criteria and indicators

The assessment procedure for strategic clusters incorporates the notion of added value for each of the assessment criteria.

Component: Cluster of researchers

Relevance of the cluster

  • Specificity of the cluster - its purpose and the expertise that enables it to stand out from other groups;
  • The added value associated with the critical mass and diversity of expertise, the scientific program and resource pooling;
  • Relevance of the research activities with regards to the strategic sectors for development in Québec;
  • Importance of the cluster in the institutions' research development plan;
  • Complementarity with other funding programs and opportunities offered through initiatives in Québec, Canada and abroad;
  • Need for highly qualified personnel in the field.

Resource pooling and use

  • The plan to support the pooling of human and material infrastructures;
  • Support for the implementation of major scientific equipment;
  • The plan to make optimal use of the joint resources;
  • Access to the infrastructures and resources by users from other environments and institutions.

Scientific quality of the program and its international profile

  • The integration of research themes and thrusts;
  • Development plan for the centre including objectives and timetable;
  • Formal international collaboration initiatives and activities;
  • Involvement in the organization of symposia, conferences and national and international conventions.

Quality of the cluster

  • Proficiency and performance of the cluster leader and its members;
  • Complementarity and degree of involvement of members;
  • Integration between members within each thrust;
  • Creation of new collaborative research activities;
  • Suitability and balance of member skills in relation to research thrusts;
  • The integration of new researchers and college researchers;
  • Introduction of measures promoting equity, inclusion and diversity in the composition of the cluster. ***

Organization and management

  • Leadership of the scientific directors;
  • Management and organizational approaches, including any partnership agreements;
  • Steering committee and its role;
  • Resource pooling or the joint resource and equipment use policy;
  • Realism of the budget and diversification of funding sources;
  • Collaboration with higher education institutions;
  • Introduction of measures promoting equity, inclusion and diversity in the composition of the cluster. ***

Quality of the training environment

  • Training activities: seminars, symposiums and other activities geared towards students;
  • Highly qualified personnel in the field;
  • The number of graduate and undergraduate students and postdoctoral fellows integrated into the research or collaboration activities;
  • Introduction of measures promoting equity, inclusion and diversity in the composition of the cluster. ***

Knowledge dissemination and transfer

  • Relevance and impact of the dissemination and transfer activities;
  • Exchange processes with research users;
  • Dissemination of research results to the general public;
  • Technology transfer, such as through spinoffs, contracts, licences, patents.

The assessment grid provided in the appendix is used by the Fonds and by all committee members and other persons involved throughout the strategic cluster assessment process.

Component: Operation of a material infrastructure that meets an important need for access to major research installations and services

Relevance of the cluster

  • Complementarity with other funding programs and opportunities offered through initiatives in Québec, Canada and/or abroad;
  • Specificity of the cluster - its purpose and the expertise that enables it to stand out from other groups;
  • The added value associated with resource pooling, and with the critical mass and diversity of expertise that strengthens areas of excellence and enables the development of unique research activities;
  • Relevance of the research activities with regards to the strategic sectors for development in Québec;
  • Importance of the cluster in the institutions' research development plan;
  • Need for highly qualified personnel in the field.

Resource pooling and use

  • The plan to support the pooling of human and material infrastructures;
  • Support for the implementation of major scientific equipment;
  • The plan to make optimal use of the joint resources;
  • Access to the infrastructures and resources by users from other environments and institutions.

Organization and management

  • Leadership of the scientific directors;
  • Management and organizational approaches, including any partnership agreements;
  • Steering committee and its role;
  • Resource pooling or the joint resource and equipment use policy;
  • Realism of the budget and diversification of funding sources;
  • Introduction of measures promoting equity, inclusion and diversity in the composition of the cluster. ***

Quality of the training environment

  • Training activities: seminars, symposiums and other activities geared towards students;
  • Highly qualified personnel in the field, trained through the infrastructure;
  • The number of college, graduate and undergraduate students and postdoctoral fellows using the infrastructure;
  • Introduction of measures promoting equity, inclusion and diversity in the composition of the cluster. ***

The assessment grid provided in the appendix is used by the Fonds and by all committee members and other persons involved throughout the strategic cluster assessment process.

 

Guidelines on considering equity, diversity and inclusion in the evaluation of strategic clusters

*** Proposed definitions for equity, diversity and inclusion for the Strategic Clusters competition held in 2018, adapted from the definitions used by the Canada Research Chairs Program. These definitions will be reviewed by the FRQ equity, diversity and inclusion committee.

Equity: the removal of systemic barriers and biases so that all individuals have equal access to and benefit from the program.

Diversity: differences in race, colour, place of origin, religion, immigrant status, Aboriginal status, ethnic origin, ability, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and age.

Inclusion: putting in place the right conditions for each individual to reach their full potential, unimpeded by inequitable practices or environments. Individuals must be and feel valued, respected and equally supported; inclusion aims to promote equity.***

Clusters follow-up

After one year of operation, each cluster that has been awarded funding for a six-year period must submit a brief report on the progress of the work and the performance indicators to be taken into account in the mid-term assessment. This progress report will be analysed by the Fonds personnel concerned. This analysis will be followed by a telephone meeting between the cluster director and the program officer, who will jointly determine which performance indicators will be used at the mid-term assessment.

All clusters that receive funding for a six-year period will be subject to a mid-term assessment, carried out under the supervision of the Scientific Council. This assessment will consider the progress of the work based on the cluster's initial proposal and the selected performance indicators. In light of the results of this assessment, the visiting committee will make recommendations on the level and/or period of funding as well as any other recommendations deemed appropriate.

The visiting committee is composed of the program officer and one member of the Scientific Council, who also chairs the committee. During the mid-term assessment meetings, various cluster members and other concerned parties will be called upon to answer questions posed by the visiting committee. Note that the same two outside experts who took part in the initial funding application assessment will be asked to provide a written evaluation of the mid-term report submitted by the strategic cluster in question.

The schedule of the mid-term assessment is as follows:

The visiting committee will meet with the cluster leader and coordinator for 90 minutes to discuss the progress of the work and the experts' and outside experts' remarks on the mid-term report.

The meeting report will be written by the secretary of the visiting committee.


5.

Required documents

To submit an application to the program, the cluster director and his/her home institution must first present a letter of intent, which must be sent electronically no later than:

  • May 23, 2018 at 4 p.m.: using the electronic form Letter of Intent (Lettre d'intention) ;
  • May 23, 2018 at 4 p.m.: using the dynamic PDF Letter of Support from the Managing Institution (Lettre d'appui de l'établissement gestionnaire) ;
  • The Fonds will advise the institutions of the decisions of the Scientific Council by the end of June 2018.

The application for funding must be submitted electronically no later than:

  • October 10, 2018, at 4 p.m.: Managing and Partner Institutions Declaration (Déclaration de l'établissement gestionnaire et des établissements partenaires) e-form.
  • October 24, 2018 at 4 p.m.: through the eCluster (eRegroupement) system;
  • the required Canadian Common CVs;

The application must address each of the indicators listed in point 37, for each assessment criterion. It may be written in French or English. However, the title and summary must be in French.

All documents submitted with the e-forms must be single-spaced. Any attachments must be in PDF format. Only the following fonts and sizes will be accepted: Times New Roman (12 points) for Microsoft Office and Open Office users or Nimbus Roman (12 points) for Latex users. "Narrow" fonts will not be accepted.

Only the official forms, Canadian Common CVs and other required documents will be accepted. Any additional pages will not be considered and only the prescribed number of pages will be transmitted to the assessment committees. Applicants will not be asked to provide any missing documents or information. Any documents received after the application deadline will not be considered. An application cannot be updated. Because the form is submitted electronically, all electronic transaction guidelines must be followed.

The signing applicants affirm that all of the information provided is accurate and complete. They agree to respect the rules of the Fonds, especially those pertaining to research ethics and integrity. The researchers therefore authorize their institutions to transmit any personal information in accordance with these policies, if applicable, and accept that the information contained in the application be communicated for evaluation or study purposes, providing that those who have access to the information respect all confidentiality rules. In addition, signing applicants must agree to respect the division of responsibilities defined by the government of Québec in its action plan for the management of intellectual property in universities and health and social services institutions where research activities are conducted.

All co-investigators in your cluster must have an active account in our new scholarship and grant management system, FRQnet.  Co-investigators must provide confirmation of participation and an updated CV via their FRQnet account.
Note Researchers who had a PIN and a password in our old system must use them to activate their FRQnet account, if they have not already done so. In no case should they create a new account. Once the FRQnet profile has been completed, their e-mail address becomes their user account name. Note that many researchers have already activated their FRQnet profile in the context of other FRQ programs.


6.

Description and nature of the funding

The grant must be administered in compliance with the Common General Rules available on the Fonds website. Awards are subject to the budget appropriations granted by the Québec National Assembly and the decisions of the Board of Directors of the Fonds, and may be modified at any time without prior notice. It is therefore highly recommended that no funding be committed before it has been officially announced.

Operating grant

The amount of the operating grant is up to $ 600,000 and it aims to cover approximately 50% of the human and material infrastructures required to ensure the proper functioning of the strategic cluster. The total amount granted is based on the actual expressed needs, the other sources of revenue, the quality of the cluster, the extent of its activities and the cluster's emergence and takes into account the financial resources available in the different research fields.

The average amount awarded is $400,000 per year for six years for established centres and $300,000 per year for two years in the case of new centres.

Part of the grant may be used to pay invited consultants and researchers of high calibre.

An amount may be set aside for students and activities such as internships carried out abroad by researchers and students. For example, the funds may constitute a scholarship supplement to bridge funding between the start of a student's studies and the time he/she is awarded a scholarship or support equivalent to a scholarship for students in the rare sectors in which scholarships are limited or inexistent.

Up to 10% of the FRQNT grant may be used as start-up funds for innovative research.

The financial contribution of partner institutions may be paid out in kind or cash.

A part of the FRQNT grant can be used as eligible expenses to provide salary support for College or CCTT researchers.

Eligible expenses

Salaries

Release from teaching duties (college or university researcher)

For management and coordination tasks (CHU), or for tasks relating to the execution of research activities (CHC)

Administrative staff
Professionals and technicians

Up to 50% of salaries

College, undergraduate, master's, doctoral students and postdoctoral fellows  

Student scholarships

Bridging scholarships and scholarship supplements

College, undergraduate, master's, doctoral students and postdoctoral fellows

Professional fees

Conference speakers, invited researchers and consultants

 

Other expenses

Travel and living expenses
Up to 10% of the grant

Conferences, seminars, symposia, congresses, steering committees, strategic cluster member meetings, guest researchers[1]

Research materials and supplies including analysis costs

 

Transportation of materials and equipment

 

Laboratory animals (purchase and maintenance)

 

Study participants

 

Safety and secure disposal of waste

 

Computer supplies

 

Equipment (item purchase under $7,000, leasing, operating costs, maintenance, installation, repairs)

 

Telecommunications  
Database purchase and access  
Publishing, reproduction and translation For dissemination, collaboration and transfer activities

Dissemination of research results to the general public [2]

 

Grant-related website

 

Equipment

Capitalized equipment purchases

Up to 20% of the grant

The total cost of transfer and outreach activities (conferences, seminars, publications, etc.) may not exceed 10% of the grant.

[1] See also the work-family balance measures in the Common General Rules (Article 8.5)
[2] Costs of disseminating research results to the general public (eg media relations, video production, general public activities, production of popularized content for major media, web and social networks) and those generated by Ethical activities are eligible expenses.

 


7.

Duration of the funding

Renewal grants are generally awarded for a six-year period with a mid-term assessment in grant year 4. Following this assessment, the Fonds may decide to revise the amount. Should the cluster fail the mid-term assessment, funding for the last two years may constitute a probationary grant, and the annual amounts may be adjusted accordingly.

The amounts are paid out annually for the period from April 1 to March 31.


8.

Announcement of results

The results will be announced by the end of April. The decisions of the Board of Directors of the FRQNT are sent to concerned applicants and institutions. For information on the results, the applicant must refer to his/her institution's research office or the FRQNT's website.

Grants are conditional to the budget allocation from the Assemblée nationale du Québec and decisions from the Board of Directors of FRQNT. The value of the grants may be changed at any time without notice. Thus, it is highly recommended to not commit expenditures before the amount of funding is officially announced.

It is strictly forbidden to contact the members of the multidisciplinary assessment committees, members of the sub-committees, outside experts or scientific advisors for information on the competition results. Each 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.

All decisions of the Board of Directors are final and without appeal.


10.

Integrity of the assessment process

At no time may applicants or their institutional authorities make contact with assessment committee members, unless such contact is specified as part of the assessment process. Similarly, assessment committee members must not make contact with applicants, unless such contact is specifically indicated in the assessment process. The identities of assessment 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 assessment process, as stipulated in the Policy for the Responsible Conduct of Research.


11.

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.


12.

False or misleading information

The Fonds presume the good faith of the declarations 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.


16.

Appendix

Assessment grid

Component : Cluster of researchers

1. The relevance of the cluster and its position on an international level Score
  • The cluster is essential in light of the research development plans of the institutions, government priorities and opportunities offered through initiatives in Québec, Canada and/or abroad.
  • The cluster will enable Québec researchers to carry out work that could lead to global breakthroughs in terms of the advancement of knowledge in the field.
  • The research carried out by the cluster will lead to highly significant benefits.
A
  • The cluster is important in light of the research development plans of the institutions, government priorities and opportunities offered through initiatives in Québec, Canada and/or abroad.
  • The cluster will enable Québec researchers to resolve key leading issues; the results will be recognized worldwide.
  • The research carried out by the cluster will lead to significant benefits.
B
  • The cluster is relevant in light of the research development plans of the institutions, government priorities and opportunities offered through initiatives in Québec, Canada and/or abroad.
  • The cluster will enable Québec researchers to carry out work that will be important to advancing knowledge in the field.
  • The research carried out by the cluster will lead to benefits.
C
  • The cluster is of little use in light of the research development plans of the institutions, government priorities and opportunities offered through initiatives in Québec, Canada and/or abroad.
  • The cluster will enable Québec researchers to carry out work that will advance the general knowledge in the field.
  • It is difficult to assess the benefits of the research carried out by the cluster.
D
2. Resource pooling and use Score
  • The group is very open to pooling human resources and material infrastructures.
  • The joint resources use plan is optimal and structuring.
  • The strategy to implement major scientific equipment is well thought out and realistic.
  • The plan to ensure shared access to the infrastructure by other users will maximize research capacity.
A
  • The group is open to pooling human resources and material infrastructures.
  • The joint resources use plan is very satisfactory.
  • The strategy to implement major scientific equipment is relevant.
  • The plan to ensure shared access to the infrastructure by other users will significantly contribute to research capacity.
B
  • The group is open to pooling human resources and material infrastructures.
  • The joint resources use plan is appropriate.
  • The strategy to implement major scientific equipment is adequate.
  • The plan to ensure shared access to the infrastructure by other users will contribute to research capacity.
C
  • The group is not particularly open to pooling human resources and material infrastructure.
  • There is no joint resources use plan.
  • The strategy to implement major scientific equipment is not clear.
  • The plan to ensure shared access to the infrastructure by other users will not contribute to research capacity.

D

3. Scientific quality of the program and its international profile Score
  • The research program is exceptional and highly innovative.  It clearly meets the highest international standards.
  • The development plan includes clear objectives, realistic schedules, and critical decision-making steps and demonstrates long-term scientific vision.
  • For funding renewal applications, the results thus far surpass initial expectations and will have a major impact.
  • The cluster is highly involved in the organization of symposia, conferences and national and international conventions.
A
  • The research program is innovative and based on a highly relevant research theme. It meets the highest international standards.
  • The development plan includes realistic objectives and schedules and critical decision-making steps.
  • For funding renewal applications, activities are progressing as expected; the cluster has already obtained major results.
  • The cluster is actively involved in the organization of symposia, conferences and national and international conventions.
B
  • The research program is relatively innovative and based on a relevant research theme. It partially meets the highest international standards.
  • The development plan includes specific objectives and realistic schedules.
  • For funding renewal applications, the activities are progressing well but with some delay.
  • The cluster is involved in the organization of symposia, conferences and national and international conventions.
C
  • The research program is mainly discipline-driven and shows little innovation. It does not meet the highest international standards.
  • The development plan is adequate.
  • For funding renewal applications, the activities have yielded only partial concrete results.
  • The cluster is largely uninvolved in the organization of symposia, conferences and national and international conventions.
D
4. Quality of the cluster Score
  • Several members are recognized as international leaders in their fields or as new researchers or college researchers who show particular promise through their research leadership and creativity.
  • The vast majority of researchers share common interests.
  • The skills of the members are highly complementary. The quality and results of each unit strongly depend on the other units.
  • Very significant efforts have been made to promote equity, inclusion and diversity in the membership of the group.
A
  • Certain members are recognized as international leaders in their fields or as new researchers or college researchers who show promise through their research leadership and creativity.
  • Many researchers share common interests.
  • The units are very complementary; there is much collaboration between the members of each unit.
  • Significant efforts have been made to promote equity, inclusion and diversity in the membership of the group.
B
  • The main cluster members have a solid reputation among their peers or are new researchers of high calibre.
  • Several researchers share common interests.
  • The units are complementary; there is some collaboration between the members of each unit.
  • Moderate efforts have been made to promote equity, inclusion and diversity in the membership of the group.

C
  • Certain members have good reputations among their peers or are promising new researchers.
  • Certain researchers have common interests.
  • The units are relatively complementary but there is little collaboration between members from each unit.
  • No effort has been made to promote equity, inclusion and diversity in the membership of the group.

D
5. Organization and management Score
  • The administrative structure is effective and maximizes the use of services, support staff and installations by all members and users. The group leadership and coordination mechanisms are exceptional. A multidisciplinary advisory committee including non-university users will be implemented.
  • The cluster director/coordinator is internationally recognized by the scientific community and is an excellent leader, strongly fostering collaboration between members. He/she clearly supports the next generation of researchers when it comes to the cluster's scientific leadership.
  • The budget is detailed, and the cluster receives significant funding from external sources.
  • Very significant efforts have been made to promote equity, inclusion and diversity in the membership of the group.

A
  • The administrative structure is effective and leads to the proper use of services, support staff and installations by all members and users. The group leadership and coordination mechanisms are excellent. A multidisciplinary advisory committee was implemented.
  • The cluster director/coordinator is an internationally recognized researcher and a solid leader. He/she relies on a steering committee that is very representative of the cluster's strengths.
  • The budget is detailed; the cluster receives considerable funding from external sources.
  • Significant efforts have been made to promote equity, inclusion and diversity in the membership of the group.

B
  • The administrative structure is acceptable and leads to the adequate use of services, support staff and installations by all members and users. The group leadership and coordination mechanisms are relevant. A multidisciplinary advisory committee will be implemented.
  • The cluster director/coordinator is a nationally recognized researcher and a good leader. He/she fosters collaboration between cluster units.
  • The budget is realistic; the cluster received a satisfactory amount of external funding.
  • Moderate efforts have been made to promote equity, inclusion and diversity in the membership of the group.

C
  • The cluster mainly relies on the facilities of one of the institutions for services, support staff and installations. The group leadership and coordination mechanisms are acceptable.
  • The director/coordinator is a well-established researcher. He/she does little to promote the strengths of cluster members and takes an autocratic approach to cluster management.
  • The budget is not realistic; the cluster receives very little funding from external sources.

    No effort has been made to promote equity, inclusion and diversity in the membership of the group.

D
6. Quality of the training environment Score
  • The cluster provides a training environment that is unique in Québec.
  • There is a shortage of highly-qualified personnel in the field, which has been deemed a priority by different levels of government.
  • Very significant efforts have been made to promote equity, inclusion and diversity in the membership of the group.

A
  • The cluster carries out well-structured training activities and supervises a high number of students who excel in their fields.
  • There is a significant demand for highly-qualified personnel in the field; graduates easily find employment.
  • Significant efforts have been made to promote equity, inclusion and diversity in the membership of the group.

B
  • There are a certain number of scientific activities meant specifically for students, postdoctoral fellows, associates and research professionals.
  • There is a need for highly-qualified personnel.
  • Moderate efforts have been made to promote equity, inclusion and diversity in the membership of the group.

C
  • There are relatively few scientific activities meant specifically for students, postdoctoral fellows, associates and research professionals.
  • There is little need for highly-qualified personnel.
  • No effort has been made to promote equity, inclusion and diversity in the membership of the group.

D
7. Knowledge dissemination and transfer Score
  • There are formal agreements between the cluster and large national and international research networks.
  • There is an elaborate and well-structured plan to disseminate the research results and provide access to the services offered by the cluster.
  • Many users significantly contribute to cluster activities and funding.
  • There are many transfer activities including workplace internships, the creation of spin-off companies, the organization of forums and technology events, knowledge dissemination including general-public popularization and promotion activities, consultations, contracts.
A
  • Most members are part of large national and international research networks.
  • There is an adequate plan to disseminate the research results and provide access to the services offered by the cluster.
  • Several users significantly contribute to cluster activities and funding.
  • There are transfer activities including workplace internships, the creation of spin-off companies, the organization of forums and technology events, knowledge dissemination including general-public popularization and promotion activities, consultations, contracts.
B
  • Certain members are part of large national and international research networks.
  • The knowledge gained from the research or services offered will be accessible through standard means.
  • A certain number of users of the research results contribute to cluster activities and funding.
  • There are some transfer activities including workplace internships, the creation of spin-off companies, the organization of forums and technology events, knowledge dissemination including general-public popularization and promotion activities, consultations, contracts.
C
  • Members regularly collaborate with researchers in other institutions or research environments.
  • The knowledge gained from the research or services offered will be somewhat accessible through standard means.
  • The users of the research results contribute little to cluster activities and funding.
  • There are few transfer activities such as workplace internships, the creation of spin-off companies, the organization of forums and technology events, knowledge dissemination including general-public popularization and promotion activities, consultations, contracts.
D

 

Component : Cluster built around a material infrastructure

1. The relevance of the cluster and its position on an international level Score
  • The cluster is essential in light of the research development plans of the institutions, government priorities and opportunities offered through initiatives in Québec, Canada and/or abroad.
  • The cluster will enable Québec researchers to carry out work that could lead to global breakthroughs in terms of the advancement of knowledge in the field.
  • The research carried out by the cluster will lead to highly significant benefits.
A
  • The cluster is important in light of the research development plans of the institutions, government priorities and opportunities offered through initiatives in Québec, Canada and/or abroad.
  • The cluster will enable Québec researchers to resolve key leading issues; the results will be recognized worldwide.
  • The research carried out by the cluster will lead to significant benefits.
B
  • The cluster is relevant in light of the research development plans of the institutions, government priorities and opportunities offered through initiatives in Québec, Canada and/or abroad.
  • The cluster will enable Québec researchers to carry out work that will be important to advancing knowledge in the field.
  • The research carried out by the cluster will lead to benefits.
C
  • The cluster is of little use in light of the research development plans of the institutions, government priorities and opportunities offered through initiatives in Québec, Canada and/or abroad.
  • The cluster will enable Québec researchers to carry out work that will advance the general knowledge in the field.
  • It is difficult to assess the benefits of the research carried out by the cluster.
D
2. Resource pooling and use Score
  • The group is very open to pooling human resources and material infrastructures.
  • The joint resources use plan is optimal and structuring.
  • The strategy to implement major scientific equipment is well thought out and realistic.
  • The plan to ensure shared access to the infrastructure by other users will maximize research capacity.
A
  • The group is open to pooling human resources and material infrastructures.
  • The joint resources use plan is very satisfactory.
  • The strategy to implement major scientific equipment is relevant.
  • The plan to ensure shared access to the infrastructure by other users will significantly contribute to research capacity..
B
  • The group is open to pooling human resources and material infrastructures.
  • The joint resources use plan is appropriate.
  • The strategy to implement major scientific equipment is adequate.
  • The plan to ensure shared access to the infrastructure by other users will contribute to research capacity.
C
  • The group is not particularly open to pooling human resources and material infrastructure.
  • There is no joint resources use plan.
  • The strategy to implement major scientific equipment is not clear.
  • The plan to ensure shared access to the infrastructure by other users will not contribute to research capacity.
D
3. Organization and management Score
  • The administrative structure is effective and maximizes the use of services, support staff and installations by all members and users. The group leadership and coordination mechanisms are exceptional. A multidisciplinary advisory committee including non-university users will be implemented.
  • The cluster director/coordinator is internationally recognized by the scientific community and is an excellent leader, strongly fostering collaboration between members. He/she clearly supports the next generation of researchers when it comes to the cluster's scientific leadership.
  • The budget is detailed, and the cluster receives significant funding from external sources.
  • Very significant efforts have been made to promote equity, inclusion and diversity in the membership of the group.

A
  • The administrative structure is effective and leads to the proper use of services, support staff and installations by all members and users. The group leadership and coordination mechanisms are excellent. A multidisciplinary advisory committee was implemented.
  • The cluster director/coordinator is an internationally recognized researcher and a solid leader. He/she relies on a steering committee that is very representative of the cluster's strengths.
  • The budget is detailed; the cluster receives considerable funding from external sources.
  • Significant efforts have been made to promote equity, inclusion and diversity in the membership of the group.
B
  • The administrative structure is acceptable and leads to the adequate use of services, support staff and installations by all members and users. The group leadership and coordination mechanisms are relevant. A multidisciplinary advisory committee will be implemented.
  • The cluster director/coordinator is a nationally recognized researcher and a good leader. He/she fosters collaboration between cluster units.
  • The budget is realistic; the cluster received a satisfactory amount of external funding.
  • Moderate efforts have been made to promote equity, inclusion and diversity in the membership of the group.

C
  • The cluster mainly relies on the facilities of one of the institutions for services, support staff and installations. The group leadership and coordination mechanisms are acceptable.
  • The director/coordinator is a well-established researcher. He/she does little to promote the strengths of cluster members and takes an autocratic approach to cluster management.
  • The budget is not realistic; the cluster receives very little funding from external sources.
  • No efforts has been made to promote equity, inclusion and diversity in the membership of the group.

D
4. Quality of the training environment Score
  • The cluster provides a training environment that is unique in Québec.
  • There is a shortage of highly-qualified personnel in the field, which has been deemed a priority by different levels of government.
  • Very significant efforts have been made to promote equity, inclusion and diversity in the membership of the group.

A
  • The cluster carries out well-structured training activities and supervises a high number of students who excel in their fields.
  • There is a significant demand for highly-qualified personnel in the field; graduates easily find employment.
  • Significant efforts have been made to promote equity, inclusion and diversity in the membership of the group.

B
  • There are a certain number of scientific activities meant specifically for students, postdoctoral fellows, associates and research professionals.
  • There is a need for highly-qualified personnel.
  • Moderate efforts have been made to promote equity, inclusion and diversity in the membership of the group.
C
  • There are relatively few scientific activities meant specifically for students, postdoctoral fellows, associates and research professionals.
  • There is little need for highly-qualified personnel.
  • No effort has been made to promote equity, inclusion and diversity in the membership of the group.

D

 


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Claude Pinel

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