The board of directors of the Fonds de recherche du Québec – Nature et technologies (FRQNT) met on June 20 and approved several changes to the Fonds' programs. More specifically, following the positive assessment of the Team research project program carried out in 2015–2016, which demonstrated the program's impacts in terms of publications and the securing of federal funding, the BOD recommended that the moratorium be lifted. I am therefore pleased to announce that a competition will be held in 2017–2018.
That being said, with the budget we obtained, we still cannot lift the moratoriums on the programs to support innovation networks and strategic innovative initiatives. The 20% budget cuts to the Strategic clusters and Team research project programs must also be maintained. While the 2017–2018 budget remains the same, we will most likely have to apply the cuts to new grants under these two major programs. Finally, also in light of budget expenditure, our long-term projections force us to open the Team research project program only two years out of three. Competitions will therefore be held in 2017 and 2018 but, at this time, we cannot ensure that one will launch in 2019. We realize that the success rate of the program may be affected after a one-year moratorium. Rest assured that the Chief Scientist and I have invested significant efforts to inform the competent authorities of the need to increase the basic budget of the FRQNT so that we may continue to offer the Team research project program and of the importance of lifting the moratoriums and abolishing the budget reductions.
Among the news items is the official announcement of the 11th international Gender Summit conference co-organized by the Fonds de recherche du Québec and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada. The very first Canadian edition of the event, entitled Pluralism, Ethnicity & Inclusion – Canadian Values in a Global Context, will be held in Montréal from November 6 to 8, 2017. Gender summits are centered on gender equality as it pertains to quality research and innovation, an especially important topic in the natural sciences, engineering and mathematics.