McGill University Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences researchers were awarded 51 Fonds de recherche du Québec – Santé (FRQS) salary awards in the most recent competition, the most in the Faculty’s history. That number gave McGill more awards than any other university in the province for this round, accounting for 36% of the total awards, also a new high and up from 23% 10 years ago.
“McGill is a leading biomedical and health science powerhouse. There is no question that our researchers and clinician-scientists are at the top of the game for our institution to be so visible internationally,” says Prof. Sylvain Baillet, Associate Dean (Research) at the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences. “We could be more present on the provincial scene, however, and I am glad we have done very well in the latest FRQS competition. We are fortunate in Quebec to have a very active and supportive funding system for researchers and their trainees via the Fonds de Recherche. Because our university has such a high international profile, our researchers may not be entirely aware of the opportunities or appreciate the rationale for going after Quebec salary awards. When they do, and work at their application dossiers to meet FRQS-specific criteria, they end up being very successful, quite logically. It’s a peer recognition system, which simply means our researchers are of the top calibre.”
The Faculty has recently become more proactive in promoting and raising awareness about the FRQS salary award competition among its research community. Additionally, the Department of Medicine has graciously opened their FRQS info session to everyone in the Faculty. The session is driven by Dr. Kevin Schwartzman from the Department of Medicine and Scientific Advisor at FRQS, with further input from other researchers with direct experience and participation in recent FRQS review committees or recipients of awards at all career stages.
“We held the session on Zoom and there was a lot of good energy in the virtual aisles,” notes Prof. Baillet. “I was particularly glad about the turnout – more than 100 attendees from all sections of the Faculty. I like to believe this and other efforts towards more personalized support of our researchers and clinician-scientists have contributed to enhancing participation and success to the competition. At the end of the line, the true champions are the applicants of course!”
The success rate across all categories for the Faculty approached 55% this year, with some categories doing particularly well, such as in the early career Junior-1 competition and the Junior-2 clinician-scientists competition. The overall number of applicants from the Faculty was also higher than usual, so not only did more researchers enter the game, but they were also more successful.
“It is crucial that our researchers apply and are successful to these competitions,” notes Dr. David Eidelman, Vice Principal (Health Affairs) and Dean of the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences. “Not only do they represent prestigious peer recognition of research accomplishment and potential, but they also help release funds that can be reinvested in the research mission of the Faculty, such as core facilities, new hires and other key investments.”
“Not everyone can be successful, especially at their first go at the competition, but everyone has to give it a try,” says Prof. Baillet. “I encourage everyone to attend our next info session on June 14 at 4:30 p.m. and submit their applications to internal peer review. We can help with the French portions of the dossier, and we have grown our internal college of reviewers to more than 50 specialists, representing a wide diversity of specialties and career stages. With also the great support staff in the Office of Research, I think we have all the ingredients in place to see our researchers continue to be successful.”
Click here to see this year’s awardees:
June 3, 2021