I hope you're having a great summer! On my end, we've started several projects and activities, including in connection with the Stratégie québécoise de la recherche et de l'innovation (SQRI), the Stratégie québécoise des sciences de la vie and Québec's new International Policy.
Developing new strategic plans (2018–2021) for the three Fonds de recherche du Québec (FRQ) by the end of the year is one of our priorities. This crucial exercise is certainly made easier by the additional budget obtained under the SQRI. Work is already well underway thanks to several consultations with the scientific community, our public and private partners, as well as representatives of civil society. Consultation with the representatives took place from May 24 to June 23 and was particularly fruitful, with over 420 people participating. We got some great suggestions, including those we received during a Facebook Live session on June 26. A special meeting of the FRQs' three boards of directors will be held on September 19 and 20 in Québec to outline and prioritize our strategic plans, which will include major societal challenges and the development of intersectoral research.
However, we didn't wait for the strategic plans to be finalized to improve some of our programs with support from the SQRI and the Québec government's 2017-2018 budget. The government decided, during the board of directors meetings held in June, to enhance training scholarship programs and scholarships granted to young researchers, and increase their flexibility as of the fall of 2017. It was also decided to restore funding for strategic clusters and research centres and institutes, and to create the AUDACE program to support and promote truly innovative intersectoral research projects.
This fall, we will evaluate the types of programs that could be implemented and shared by the three funds to address the broader societal challenges of demographic change and aging, sustainable development and climate change, entrepreneurship, and creativity. Your suggestions on this topic would be appreciated.
Finally, I welcome the appointment of Serge Marchand as Scientific Director at the FRQS. He succeeds Dr. Renaldo Battista, who left his position at the end of June and whom I thank once again for all he's done. I would also like to thank all those who expressed interest in this important position.
Together with Mr. Marchand, we will work to review the support program for research centres and institutes so that it even better reflects the reality of modern research, which is increasingly conducted in teams and with local and international partnerships. This will certainly be an important component of the next FRQS strategic plan.
With your support and that of all my colleagues on the Naylor committee, I will continue to promote investment in basic research in Québec and Canada.
Happy back-to-school season!