The Fonds de recherche du Québec (FRQ) announced new directions for their master's, doctoral and postdoctoral training award programs. They are centered around the harmonization of the three Fonds' review criteria and convey a renewed vision for research excellence that reflects the diversity of academic backgrounds, as well as society's needs and concerns.In this initial step to revise the award programs, the FRQ aim to update several aspects of their vision for research excellence. Not only will this new approach support a broader diversity of student profiles in line with the FRQ's upcoming equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) strategy, it also ties in the notion of excellence to a wider range of research-related activities, particularly by valuing the social mobilization of potential recipients. More specifically, this social mobilization is reflected in emerging researchers' willingness to participate in the dialogue between science and society, social commitment capacity and consideration of the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Implementation and flexibility
The FRQ are aware that these changes represent a significant shift, and applicants and the researchers who support new talents.
The FRQ are also aware that the current health crisis limits the number of social engagement activities, thus posing an additional challenge for Québec students and postdoctoral trainees.
In this regard, the FRQ plan to implement the culture change gradually and through a flexible approach. The agencies will provide maximum support to training award applicants and institutions, as well as new tools to help review committee members account for the new criteria. In sum, dedicated efforts will be invested to facilitate the appropriation by all stakeholders of the vision of excellence communicated by the new criteria and assessment practices.
Note that information sessions and tools will be made available to members of the student and researcher communities, including the FRQ clusters, and to university administrators. Releases will be issued to keep members of the FRQ community informed on further developments, so stay tuned!
"We believe students, postdoctoral trainees and members of the research community for whom excellence must be more inclusive will welcome these new directions. We would like to thank the intersectoral student committee, whose members helped initiate this paradigm change within the FRQ."
Janice Bailey, Scientific Director, FRQNT
Carole Jabet, Scientific Director, FRQS
Louise Poissant, Scientific Director, FRQSC