Competition year : 

Deadline (application) : 
March 18th, 2020 at 16:00 (EST)

Announcement of results : 
Mid-June 2020

Amount : 
Details in the program rules

Duration : 
One year with the possibility of a one-year extension

Program rules

The FRQ’s Common General Rules provide the basic rules applicable to all programming of the Fonds de recherche du Québec. These program rules provide those specifically applicable to this fellowship program. It is necessary to consult these two documents to know all the applicable rules. The clarifications provided in these program rules prevail over the Common General Rules.

The electronic form to submit an application will be online in FRQnet on Wednesday 29 January.

1. Context

The Fonds de recherche du Québec (FRQ) and the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) identified mutual interests in strengthening their existing bonds of collaboration and promoting the development of specific programs. IIASA is an international research organization located in Laxenburg, Austria. It conducts interdisciplinary scientific studies on environmental, economic, technological and social issues in the context of human dimensions of global change.

2. Objectives

The FRQ-IIASA Postdoctoral program has been designed to foster the mobility of new researchers toward scientifically stimulating and dynamic environment.

Working at IIASA allows postdoctoral fellowships to work in a rich international scientific environment alongside scientists from many different countries and disciplines. It gives the opportunity to gain hands-on experience of applying systems analysis to real-world problems, rather than conducting purely theoretical research. Access to the IIASA network of collaborators, many of whom have highly successful careers in their own specialized scientific area, can also boost career prospects.

The program will enable Québec postdoctoral fellows to participate in the postdoctoral programs at IIASA. Postdoctoral fellowships will be awarded for one year with the possibility of a one-year extension.

The research interests of the applicant should be aligned with sustainable development goals as stand-alone topics or combined with any of the following:

  • Advanced Systems Analysis

  • Air Quality and Greenhouse Gases

  • Ecosystems Services and Management–Objectives.en.html

  • Energy

  • Evolution and Ecology

  • Risk and Resilience

  • Transitions to New Technologies

  • Water

  • World Population

Applicants are encouraged to browse the IIASA website to get a better understanding of its research activities:

Two postdoctoral fellowships will be awarded by the program for one year with the possibility of a one-year extension. The FRQ will pay 50,000 Euros per fellowship per year to IIASA for a bursary in the form of a salary of 39,000 Euros plus all salary-related costs and travel costs. IIASA for its part will pay 26,384 Euros per fellowship per year to cover the mentoring, supervision and administrative costs of the fellowship holder.

3. Clientele and eligibility requirements

The program is intended for new researchers who obtained their doctorate and who wish to begin or pursue their postdoctoral research at IIASA, Laxenburg (Austria).

The applicant’s research interests must be aligned with the research programs or areas of IIASA (see section below, Choosing a Research Area).

Applicants must meet eligibility conditions as of the deadline for submitting applications: 4 p.m. on March 18, 2020.

Citizenship and place of domicile
To be eligible for the FRQ-IIASA Postdoctoral program, applicants must reside in Québec (Canada) and have a valid RAMQ card or proof of eligibility for RAMQ AND be a Canadian citizen at the time of application.

Eligibility period for the fellowship
Applicants are required to have :

  • obtained a doctoral degree in the fields of study relevant to IIASA’s research agenda;
  • completed their doctoral program within a period not exceeding 5 (five) years prior to the deadline for submitting applications.

Eligibility is determined based on the date indicated on the doctoral diploma.

Exceptions in calculating the eligibility period
The only exception to the rules governing the eligibility period for fellowships concerns circumstances beyond the applicant’s control, such as a serious illness or substantial family obligations. Supporting documents must be enclosed with the application to justify the extension of the eligibility period. See section 4 for more details.

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. See section 4 for more details.

Applicants who are handicapped persons in accordance with the Act to secure handicapped persons in the exercise of their rights with a view to achieving social, school and workplace integration (CQLR c. E-20.1) are not subjected to the eligility period. Supporting documents are required to explain the handicap. See section 4 for more details.

The FRQ reserve the right to refuse any request that is not adequately justified.

Postdoctoral research location
This program will support Québec postdoctoral fellows for their stay at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) in Laxenburg, Austria. A good level of English language proficiency is expected from the fellows to work in the IIASA environment.

Research interests in relation to IIASA research programs
The applicant’s research topics must be aligned with one or several IIASA research programs. There are currently nine IIASA research programs carrying out research into the dynamics of global change. These programs use holistic approaches and interdisciplinary collaborations to identify the multiple solutions needed to bring about a global transformation to true sustainability.

IIASA Research Programs :

•    Advanced Systems Analysis
•    Air Quality and Greenhouse Gases
•    Ecosystems Services and Management
•    Energy
•    Evolution and Ecology
•    Rysk and Resilience
•    Transitions to New Technologies
•    Water
•    Word Population

Communication with the relevant program representatives is strongly encouraged at the earliest possible stage, and before submitting an application. This is vital to discuss research ideas and their relevance to IIASA and to ensure realistic research plans and expectations on the part of both IIASA and the applicant.

4. Submitting applications

Electronic applications forms (E-forms) are mandatory and must be completed and submitted in the FRQnet portal. Since the postdoctoral fellowship program is hosted by the Fonds de recherche – Nature et technologies (FRQNT) platform in FRQnet, applicants must choose the FRQNT platform in their electronic portfolio (E-portfolio) to find the E-form.

Applicants must use (create if required) their FRQnet user account to complete and transmit their E-form in the FRQNT platform of their E-portfolio. The E-form is available in the section Available competitions and the program Training and intership awards.

Applicants can complete the E-form in English or French.

The E-form must be submitted by the competition deadline of 4 p.m. on March 18, 2020.

Before the submission of their E-form, applicants must submit their electronic Canadian Common CV (CCV) appicable to the FRQNT (more details in the section bellow Submission of the Canadian common CV (CCV) and detailed contributions).

Supporting documents required from the applicant
The applicant is responsible for his/her application which must include all the required documents for an application to be deemed eligible.

All required documents must be attached to the appropriate section of the E-form. Any documents that are illegible or of a poor resolution will be rejected.

Only the E-form for the 2020-2021 financial year and the other required documents are accepted. No attached material or documents other than those required are forwarded to the evaluation committee. Files cannot be updated after the closing date for applications. Nevertheless, any contact information (address, phone number and e-mail address) can be updated.

The FRQ reserve 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 certified translation.

Presentation standards

  • With the exception of the documents attached in the “Other documents” section, all files attached to the application must meet the following presentation standards:
  • Pages must be 8½” x 11″ (216 mm x 279 mm) and converted to PDF format. The file must not be password protected;
  • Pages must be single-spaced with no more than 6 lines per inch;
  • All text must be in 12 pt. Times New Roman font for Microsoft Office or Open Office users, or 12 pt. Nimbus Roman font for LaTeX users;
  • Narrow fonts are not permitted;
  • Margins must be set at a minimum of 1.9 cm (¾”);
  • Identification of pages:
    •     Top right corner: applicant’s last name and first name;
    •     Top left corner: TITLE OF THE ATTACHED DOCUMENT;
    •      Bottom centre: page numbers (1, 2, …, 10);

The maximum number of pages varies according to document type and is specified in the E-form. No additional pages will be transmitted to the evaluation committee.

List of required documents:

  • An official transcript of marks (any non-official electronic version will not be accepted) for all university studies, completed or not (certificate, degree, Bachelor’s, Master’s, PhD, 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 the United States, applicants must enclose a letter explaining the grading system used by the institution in question. The Fonds de recherche reserve the right to verify with institutions the authenticity of any information given by applicants. The FRQ consider transcripts issued by the Registrar’s Office to the applicants to be official transcripts. Opening the envelope to scan the transcripts will not render it unofficial for FRQ purposes.
  • A copy of their PhD diploma or a 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.
  • A photocopy of a valid Quebec 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 Quebec 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 RAMQ or that another official document is provided.
  • A document of maximum 4 pages describing the research proposal. We encourage applicants to write their research proposal in English since the members of the IIASA evaluation committee are international researchers who work in English at the Institute. The research proposal may describe:
    •   Title of the proposed research
    •   Research questions and objectives
    •   Method and approach
    •   Data required
    •   Innovative aspects and risks
    •   Expected results
    •   Relevance of the proposed research to IIASA’s ongoing activities
  •  A document of maximum 1 page to explain the benefit of the academic environment of IIASA for the proposed research and the cross-cutting potential of the proposal for different research programs of the Institute.
  • 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

  • For the eligibility extension for parental leave: a copy of the child’s birth certificate or adoption certificate after the PhD graduation.
  • For the eligibility extension for serious illness or substantial family obligations: an expert opinion to justify the request for the extension and a medical prescription to explain the leave and its duration if required.
  • For the eligibility extension for handicap: supporting documents.

Procedure for submitting required documents
Before the closing date for applications, applicants must submit all required documents in the appropriate section of their E-form. No reminder will be made, and no files can be added after the deadline for submitting applications.

Submission of the Canadian common CV and detailed contributions
In addition to the E-form and by the competition deadline of 4 p.m. on March 18, 2020, the applicant must complete and submit :

  • an electronic Canadian commun (CCV) appicable to FRQNT
  • detailed contributions (pdf document)

The electronic common CV (CCV) applicable to the FRQNT
Applicants must complete (create if required) and submit their CCV applicable to the FRQNT as soon as possible to be capable to submit the E-form in their E-portfolio.

The competition is hosted by the Fonds de recherche – Nature et technologies (FRQNT) platform in the FRQnet portal. As a consequence, the applicants must complete and submit a CCV applicable to the FRQNT no matter the area of their scientific expertise and the topic of their research proposal which could usually be covered by the Fonds de recherche – Société et culture (FRQSC) or the Fonds de recherche – Santé (FRQS). Applicants must fill out all the sections of the CCV applicable to the FRQNT which may be different from the sections of the CCV applicable to the FRQSC or to the FRQS.

Guidelines to complete and submit a CCV applicable to the FRQNT are available in this document.

Detailed contributions
Detailed contributions must be described according to the FRQNT instructions avaiblable in this document. They must be uploaded in a pdf format in the Canadien common CV section of the menu of the applicant E-portfolio (FRQNT platform). We encourage the applicant to prepare and submit this document as soon as possible. Note that the submission of the CCV applicable to the FRQNT is required (in the CCV portal) to be able to upload detailed contributions in the E-portfolio.

Supporting documents required from the respondents
Two respondents’ letters must be completed in French or English and submitted electronically by the competition deadline. We encourage the respondents to write their letter in English since the members of the IIASA evaluation committee are international researchers who work in English.

If any of these letters are not received by the Fonds, the application will be deemed ineligible. Only letters completed and submitted in the FRQnet portal will be accepted. It is the responsibility of the applicant to provide the persons concerned with instructions and make sure that the respondents complete and submit their form by the competition deadline of 4 p.m. on March 18, 2020.

Respondents must have a user account in FRQnet to be identify in the Respondents section of the E-form. They must complete and submit their respondent form in the FRQNT platform of their E-portfolio by the competition deadline. Neverless the form will not be available in their E-portfolio as long as they are not identified by the applicant in the Respondents section of the E-form.

Eligibility of applications
The program administrator will 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 the last week of April 2020. Applicants who have not received this notification should contact the program administrator before May 8.

5. Evaluation of applications

Evaluation procedure of the competition
The evaluation of applications is a two-phases procedure:

  • Phase 1 will be led by the FRQ to select a maximum of 15 applications to be transmitted to IIASA.
  • Phase 2 will be led by IIASA to award a maximum of two fellowships to Phase 1 pre-selected applicants.

Phase 1
Evaluation Criteria

  • Excellence of the applicant based on the following indicators (35%):
    • Excellence of the applicant’s academic record
    • Duration and progression of his/her studies
    • Awards and distinctions
    • Letters of recommendation
  • Research skills and experience based on the following indicators (20%):
    • Research or teaching assistantship
    • Internships
    • Student supervision
    • Ability to use his/her skills and apply his/her knowledge
    • Publications, communications
    • Reports
    • Patents
  • Quality of the research project based on the following indicators (35%):
    • Originality
    • Clarity of the scientific objectives
    • Relevance and rationale for the methodological approach as related to research objectives, and a realistic timetable
    • Added value of the project in light of the doctoral work
  • Social implication, leadership and communication skills based on the following indicators (10%):
    • Organization of conferences and meetings
    • Held elected positions
    • Volunteering
    • Mentoring
    • Supervising experience
    • Chairmanship of committees
    • General presentation of the application

Role and composition of evaluation committees
Eligible applications are submitted to evaluation committees composed of four members. These committees are intersectoral and made up by academic professors whose expertise are aligned with IIASA research programs. Fithteen applications are evaluated per committee and given a score out of 100 according to the criteria specified above. All applications will finally be ranked on-merit. The fifteen highest-ranked applications will be transmitted to IIASA for Phase 2 of the evaluation.

Phase 2
Evaluation Criteria

  • Academic excellence of the applicant based on the following indicators (30%):
    • CV
    • Letters of recommendation
    • Representative academic Achievement
  • Quality of research proposal based on the following indicators (40%):
    • How innovative is the proposal?
    • Is the research plan feasible and convincing?
  • Synergy with IIASA based on the following indicators (30%):
    • Does the proposal convincingly show how the proposal research will benefit from the academic environment of IIASA?
    • Is there some cross-cutting potential?

Role and composition of the evaluation committee
The applications will be evaluated and ranked on merit. The two top-ranked applications will be awarded. The committee will be made up of IIASA scientists and an external chair.

6. Announcement of the results

By mid-June 2020, the FRQ will transmit the funding decision to all applicants through their E-portfolio. The decisions of the three FRQ Boards of directors and the IIASA are final and cannot be appealed.

7. Rules for using fellowships

To use the award, the fellowship holder must be a Canadian citizen and have a valid RAMQ card or proof of eligibility for RAMQ at the time of application. See section 3 of rules for more details.

The fellowship ideally should have begun in September 2020.

Postdoctoral stays shall have a duration of one year, with the possibility of renewal for a second year contingent on agreement between the Parties and a successful evaluation review of the first year. The FRQ and IIASA agree that all researchers who register for the program, under this Agreement, will have the same conditions during their stay.

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

Fellowships are granted for a period of one year. Before the end of this period, the fellows will have to express their interest for a renewal of fellowship. In such a case, an interview with FRQ and IIASA representatives will be organized to confirm the mutual interest for the fellowship renewal. At the end of the fellowship, a report will be required by the FRQ.

8. Value of the fellowship

The FRQ Boards of Directors reserve the right to modify the value of fellowships at any time, without notice, notably in accordance with the credits annually allocated by the Assemblée nationale du Québec, theirs strategic priorities and budgetary process.

FRQ and IIASA commit to pay a maximum amount of €76,384 (seventy-six thousand three hundred and eighty-four euros) per postdoctoral student, for up to two postdoctoral students, for one year with a possible extension of one year (absolute maximum of two years). This amount will be committed as follow:

(1) FRQ will pay €50,000 (fifty thousand euros) per year, per student, to IIASA in order for IIASA to offer a bursary in the form of a salary of €39,000 (thirty-nine thousand euros), all salary-related costs (insurance, pension payments, any statutory payments to the state) and travel costs. The fellowship is tax-exempt in Austria, but subject to the principle of income aggregation.

(2) IIASA will pay €26,384 (twenty-six thousand three hundred and eighty-four euros), per year, per student, which will be allocated to cover the mentoring, supervision and administrative costs of the scholarship holder at IIASA, for up to two years.

Holding several fellowships concurrently (cumulation)
Applicants who receive a fellowship from a private source, including universities, research chairs, consortiums, private international and foreign foundations, governments of other Canadian provinces or foreign governments, may combine this support source with a FRQ fellowship if allowed under the other awarding body’s rules governing combined fellowships.

9. Research ethics and conformity

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

10. Integrity of the evaluation process

At no time may applicants or their institutional authorities contact evaluation committee members, unless such contact is specified as part of the evaluation process. Similarly, evaluation committee members must not contact applicants, unless such contact is specifically indicated in the evaluation process. 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.

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 FRQ.

12. 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-, 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.

13. Open access to research results

In accordance with the Fonds de recherche du Québec open access policy for the dissemination of research, all funding recipients must agree to provide open access to their scientific publications no later than 12 months after publication. To learn more about the FRQ’s requirements on this subject, please visit our page on Open science.

14. 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. Funding recipients are also encouraged to consider them in the context of their research activities. For more information, please consult our statement on equity, diversity and inclusion.

15. Other aspects

Please refer to the Common General Rules for any questions regarding the responsible conduct of research, confidentiality and the protection of personal information, intellectual property and the protection of academic freedom.

16. Coming into effect

The provisions of this document apply to the 2020-2021 financial year.

17. For information

Generales informations on the rules and electronic form :

Sophie Gauthier-Clerc
Program manager
Directorate of Societal Challenges
and Intersectoral Networks
418 643-7582, poste 1269
514 873-2114, poste 1269

Generales informations about the IIASA :

Aleksandra Cofala
Postdoct Coordinator
+43(0) 2236 807 436