FAQ - MAJOR CALL FOR PROPOSALS 2020-2023
You will find below the answers to the most frequently asked questions regarding the current call for proposals. Questions can be sent to the following email address: AAP2020@sn.ulaval.ca. New questions and answers will be added to the top of the list of questions. The deadline for submitting questions regarding the Call for Proposals is April 16, 2020 at 5:00 p.m.
Please note that this section does not replace the application guidelines. Applicants should read the evaluation criteria, eligibility criteria and project proposal submission guidelines very carefully.
Last update: March 13, 2020
What are the research fields targeted by this call for proposals? Is it true that Sentinel North primarily funds science and engineering research?
The research priority axes and challenges identified in this call apply to a multitude of research areas and expertise, in the fields of science and engineering, health, as well as social sciences and humanities. The projects currently funded by Sentinel North involve more than 130 researchers and teams from 34 departments and 7 faculties at ULaval. Regardless of the research areas involved, the teams must be composed of researchers from a variety of fields.
What success rate do you expect for the applications?
It is impossible to define a success rate at this stage. Given the enthusiasm and mobilization of the community during the major call for Phase I projects (2017-2020), we expect to receive a large number of proposals and a very competitive selection process. For Phase I, less than 40% of proposals were funded.
Is it preferable to submit the proposal in English or French?
Although you may complete your proposal in either English or French, the Scientific Review Committee will be composed of a majority of international reviewers and the primary working language of the committee will be English. Please note that if the proposal needs to be translated into English, the translation will not be shared with applicants prior to submission to the Review Committee.
Can I apply to this call if I am already conducting research funded by Sentinel North under a previous call for proposals?
Yes, researchers and teams already funded by Sentinel North can propose a brand-new project. They can also submit a proposal that is the evolution of a project already funded by Sentinel North during Phase I (2017-2020), but it must clearly build on results already achieved, present new objectives and encourage the training of new students.
Is co-funding and leverage (cash and in-kind) an important evaluation criterion?
Yes, funding for Sentinel North should be seen as an added value and a unique opportunity to conduct innovative and transdisciplinary projects that are difficult to fund through the Federal granting agencies. The active participation of collaborators, partners and stakeholders from outside Université Laval (northern, academic, public or private sectors) is a major asset. Partner contributions must be reflected in letters of support when submitting the project proposal.
Will you accept proposals that address research ideas that are not directly relevant to the proposed research axes and challenges but that can contribute to the overall objectives of the Sentinel North program?
No. Projects proposed in this competition must not only meet the broad objectives of the Sentinel North program, but they must also clearly address the stated priority research axes and challenges. This is a firm eligibility criterion.
You encourage researchers to mobilize in transdisciplinary teams, but is there an optimal team size (number of researchers) for each project?
While the formation of transdisciplinary teams is an important eligibility criterion, there is no minimum or maximum size for teams. Team size will often be reflected in the scope of the project and the requested budget. Although teams may include several researchers and collaborators, the concrete contribution of each of the researchers involved must be very clearly illustrated. There is no point in adding several renowned researchers or collaborators if it is impossible to assess their contribution to the research and training activities of the project.
Can salaries of research professionals and technicians be paid for projects funded by Sentinel North?
Yes, but the training of graduate students must be a priority for all projects. The majority of salary/bursary dollars requested should be allocated to graduate students and postdoctoral fellows. Sentinel North has set maximum amounts that can be allocated for scholarships and salaries. If necessary, teams will need to supplement salaries and awards with other sources of funding.
What are the main eligibility criteria?
Eligibility criteria are clearly listed in the Call for Proposals guidelines (see item 6 "Eligibility" above). They must all be met. If the Scientific Review Committee determines that a proposal clearly does not meet the eligibility criteria, the proposal will be withdrawn from the review process and the competition.
You are announcing a maximum available envelope of $10M over 3 years. Will this envelope be distributed equally among the 3 priority axes?
$10M is the approximate total that will be awarded for all projects and axes over a 3-year period (2020-2023). It is impossible to give an estimate of the funding that will be awarded for each axis, and even less for each project or researcher. The $10M will not necessarily be distributed equally in each axis, the amount will depend on the number and quality of the projects submitted for each axis.
Can a researcher act as Principal Investigator or Co-investigator in more than one project? If so, do these projects have to be for the same axis?
A researcher can only be a Principal Investigator on one project proposal, but can be a Co-investigator or Collaborator on more than one proposal. These proposals do not necessarily have to be submitted for the same axis.
Do we have to be part of a transdisciplinary team to submit a proposal?
Yes, as stated in the eligibility criteria, Sentinel North will not fund projects that are isolated, conducted by individual researchers or researchers from a single department or research centre. Sentinel North is not a substitute for individual funding programs such as NSERC’s Discovery Grants Program, CIHR’s Project Stream or SSHRC’s Insight Program.
If they can contribute to the objectives of the program, can we simply offer our expertise without actually joining a project as part of a proposal?
No. This competition is a call for proposals, not a call for expertise. Regardless of the quality of the researchers involved, they must be associated with a proposal that clearly defines a research project and meets the evaluation criteria.
Are members of Sentinel North’s Deployment Committee involved in the evaluation of proposals?
No. The members of the deployment committee may apply on this call as Principal Investigators, Co-investigators or Collaborators and are therefore in no way involved in the evaluation and selection process of project proposals.
Can the Sentinel North Scientific Directors be Principal Investigators or Co-investigators of a project?
No. In order to avoid situations of conflict of interest and/or perception of conflict, the two scientific codirectors of Sentinel North cannot be Principal Investigators or Co-investigators on projects. However, they can be Collaborators (without funding) on projects.
Who will evaluate project proposals?
Proposals will be evaluated by an external Scientific Review Committee that will make funding recommendations to the Scientific Directors and the Steering Committee. Final decisions will be made by the Steering Committee.
The committee is composed of scientists and stakeholders external to Université Laval, recognized in research areas related to the priority axes of the call and selected in such a way as to limit potential conflict of interest situations related to the evaluation of the applications assigned to them.
Since only ULaval professors are eligible for funding from Sentinelle North, does this imply that an external collaborator (Canadian or international) who is part of the team will not be able to access the funds obtained through Sentinel North and will therefore have to provide his or her own funding to collaborate on the project?
Indeed, Sentinel North funds will only be granted to professors at Université Laval. Collaborators from outside ULaval will have to participate in the project with their own funding, but will also be able to benefit indirectly from the Sentinel North funding through the co-supervision of graduate students, privileged access to infrastructures, services and analyses made at ULaval, as well as through contracts (analyses, services) if they meet the eligibility criteria for expenses.