Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada
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Industrial Innovation Scholarships Program

Overview
Master’s Level
Value $7,000 per year from NSERC, $7,000 per year from the FRQNT, for a maximum of two years, plus a company contribution of at least $7,000 per year.
Application Deadline No NSERC or FRQNT deadline (there may be university deadlines).
How to Apply See below
Application Forms
Doctoral Level
Value $9,000 per year from NSERC, $9,000 per year from the FRQNT, for a maximum of three years, plus a minimum company contribution of $9,000 per year.
Application Deadline No NSERC or FRQNT deadline (there may be university deadlines).
Application Forms
Supplement to the scholarship paid as a training supplement
Value Maximum $2,500. The total cost is shared equally between NSERC and the FRQNT.
How to Apply Access the application form in the This link will take you to another Web site Form section on the FRQNT Web site. Submit application directly to the FRQNT.
For More Information Consult the Contact List

What kind of support do these scholarships provide?

The Industrial Innovation Scholarships (IIS [BMP Innovation]) Program, offered jointly by NSERC and the Fonds de recherche du Québec – Nature et technologies (FRQNT), offers scholarships to students enrolled in a master’s or doctoral program and interested in undertaking research in natural sciences and engineering, through a university-business partnership.

Objective

The objective of the IIS Program is to foster the development of companies' innovation capacity and to improve employment prospects for recent graduates of master's and doctoral programs through university-industry partnerships:

  • by enabling students to acquire experience, as well as personal and professional skills;
  • by developing innovative training initiatives;
  • by building networks of collaboration and knowledge-transfer;
  • by encouraging companies to invest in training and R&D; and
  • by contributing to increased innovation in key sectors of the various regions in Quebec.

Who may apply?

The IIS Program is aimed primarily at full-time master’s or doctoral students in a natural sciences or engineering program at a Quebec university at the time the scholarship is received. Part-time student candidates will also be considered (consult the Part-time section).

Are you eligible for scholarship support?

To be considered eligible for support, you must:

  • be a Canadian citizen, a permanent resident of Canada or a foreign student. Foreign students must consult the Information for foreign students section;
  • be enrolled in graduate studies in natural sciences or engineering at a Quebec university; and
  • have achieved a first-class cumulative average (A-) in the last two years of completed study, or an undergraduate average of B+. If you have an academic average slightly below the requirement, but have demonstrated skills and experience relevant to the research project, the Graduate Studies Office can submit a letter, along with your application file, requesting that an exception be made on your behalf.

Scholarships are not given to students completing qualifying studies.

To determine your eligibility for the IIS Program, the number of months of graduate studies completed in the program for which you are requesting funding will be considered, as well as whether the program deals with a research field supported by NSERC and the FRQNT. Eight months of part-time graduate study will be counted as the equivalent of one four-month session of full-time study at the time of your application.

Rules pertaining to the IIS Program eligibility period take into account the number of months of studies completed at the master’s or doctoral level for a graduate degree, even if these months were completed at an institution other than the one where you received, or will receive, your degree.

What categories of scholarships are available?

IIS (Master’s) – Maximum length: 24 months

You are eligible for this scholarship category only if you are enrolled in, or plan to enrol in, a research-based Master’s program.

  • be entering, or have begun the first year of a master’s program;
  • be entering, or have begun the first year of a doctoral program, if you were admitted to the PhD program directly from your bachelor’s program;
  • intend to enroll for a minimum of one year (or three academic terms). The maximum length of time for the scholarship is two years (or six academic terms); and
  • have completed no more than the equivalent of 12 months of full-time graduate studies in the master’s program for which you are requesting funding. The minimum required period for the Master’s scholarship is 12 months. Scholarship support will not extend beyond the 28th month of a master's program.

You are not considered eligible for an IIS (Master’s) if you previously held an IPS 1, a PGS M, a CGS M, a PGS A, an FRQNT master’s research scholarship (B1) or an FRQNT research practicum scholarship. If you have already received financial support from a recognized funding agency (e.g., NSERC, Canadian Institutes of Health Research [CIHR], Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada [SSHRC], Fonds de recherche du Québec – Santé [FRQS], Fonds de recherche du Québec – Société et culture [FRQSC]) over a total period of five years (15 academic terms or 60 months full-time), you are not eligible to receive an IIS (Master’s).

IIS (Doctoral) – Maximum duration: 36 months

You are eligible for this scholarship category only if you are, or will be, a doctoral candidate.

When your application is received, you must:

  • have completed no more than the full-time equivalent of 24 months of full-time studies in the doctoral program for which you are requesting funding in a field of research that NSERC and the FRQNT support;
  • have completed the equivalent of four to 36 months of full-time studies in the doctoral program for which you are requesting funding, if you were admitted into a doctoral program directly from your bachelor’s program.

Support will not extend beyond the 52nd month of doctoral studies, unless you were admitted into the doctoral program directly from your bachelor’s program, in which case support will not extend beyond the 64th month. You must remain in the graduate program for which you received the scholarship for at least two years (or six academic terms). The minimum required period for the IIS (Doctoral) scholarship is 24 months.

You are not eligible for an IIS (Doctoral) scholarship if you previously held an IPS 2, a PGS D, a CGS D, a PGS B or an FRQNT doctoral research scholarship (B2). If you have received financial support from a recognized funding agency (e.g., NSERC, Canadian Institutes of Health Research [CIHR], Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada [SSHRC], Fonds de recherche du Québec – Santé [FRQS], Fonds de recherche du Québec – Société et culture [FRQSC]), over a period totalling five years (15 academic terms or 60 months full-time), you are not eligible for an IIS (Doctoral) scholarship.

Part-time

Part-time students are eligible for financial support at one half the normal award level for a maximum period of twice the normal duration (foreign students should consult the Information for foreign students section). The practicum setting is expected to contribute at least $3,500 per year for a master’s student and $4,500 per year for a doctoral student. Students must devote the equivalent of at least 25 days of full-time study per year at the practicum setting working on the project identified in their scholarship application.

What are the eligible practicum settings?

To be considered a practicum setting, the business or host organization must fill out the required form and provide the documents listed in the form. An eligibility analysis is conducted jointly by NSERC and the FRQNT.

In the event that a business or an organization has a number of places of business, each location will have to be evaluated; the appropriate forms will need to be submitted. Please contact the program lead for more information on this topic.

Evaluation criteria for practicum settings

Potentially eligible organizations are evaluated against the following evaluation criteria: the financial capacity of the business or host organization and its student-mentoring and research capacity. Each criterion must be deemed satisfactory by NSERC and the FRQNT. If an organization has been shown to have potential eligibility, but certain risks have also been identified, conditional eligibility outlining specific circumstances may be granted.

Potentially eligible organizations 

A practicum setting may be an individual business, an industrial association, a production group or a collective of such companies.

Start-up organizations that have a viable business plan and guaranteed financial support may be accepted. In addition to meeting the eligibility criteria, these organizations must demonstrate their capacity to use the research results or their potential to acquire this capacity.

An organization owned in part or in whole by a professor may be eligible if it is demonstrated that there is no conflict of interest between the professor and the student.

The following practicum settings may be eligible:

  • for-profit businesses that carry out or plan to carry out R&D activities, that provide products and services and earn most of their profits from the sale of these products or services as opposed to from governmental assistance, and that are located:
    • in Quebec;
    • outside Quebec if substantial benefits for Quebec can be demonstrated. These benefits may include the fact that an industrial Quebec partner is involved in the project and is able to use the results of the research to create economic benefits for Quebec;
  • government agencies operating as regular for-profit businesses, or on a cost-recovery basis;
  • utilities; and
  • non-profit organizations that do not receive a significant portion (more than 50 percent) of their operating budget from public funds.

Ineligible organizations

The following practicum settings are ineligible:

  • businesses that are part of Quebec’s This link will take you to another Web site Registre des entreprises non admissibles aux contrats publics (RENA) (in French only), which is published by the Secrétariat du Conseil du trésor du gouvernement du Québec;
  • university laboratories, research centres and institutes;
  • federal, provincial and municipal governments;
  • non-profit organizations that receive a significant portion (more than 50 percent) of their operating budget from public funds; and
  • businesses in which a person who has a controlling share in the business is in a conflict of interest with the student, either because the person is related to the student or because the person proposes to be the student’s research director.

How do you apply?

You must contact the university’s Graduate Studies Office, which is responsible for submitting applications. The Graduate Studies Office coordinates all IIS Program scholarship applications and forwards all documents to the FRQNT.

A complete application includes the following documents:

  • The Industrial Innovation Scholarships Form is available on the FRQNT Web site. The form must be completed and delivered electronically (you must already have obtained a personal identification number [PIN]). Keep a printed copy of the application for your file. You must also deliver a copy to the Graduate Studies Office. In the application form, you must clearly describe, in detail, what you expect your work with the practicum setting will entail or you must provide a detailed table or work plan that can be electronically attached to the application.
  • The Terms and Conditions of Applying Form.
  • A notification that the application file has been submitted, which can be printed once the electronic form has been sent.
  • Official academic transcripts for all university studies, both complete and incomplete, with the grade point average (GPA) indicated. Unofficial electronic versions are not accepted. In the case of transcripts obtained outside North America, you must attach the existing grading system of the institution in question. The FRQNT reserves the right to verify with the originating institutions the authenticity of the information provided.
  • Proof of citizenship or permanent residency status (original version or certified true copy thereof).
  • A certification by the university of the student's admission to the proposed degree program.
  • The director’s section electronically completed and forwarded to the FRQNT.
  • The practicum setting supervisor’s section duly completed and signed.
  • The university recommendation (consult the Review Process section).
  • A statement signed by the university, the organization, the student and the university research director in which you all agree to:
    • the organization’s financial contribution to the scholarship;
    • the ownership of intellectual property (IP) arising from the research. This agreement must comply with the Quebec action plan for the management of IP in universities and with the Guiding Principles and Mandatory Elements set out in NSERC’s Policy on Intellectual Property;
    • that the student must generally spend most of his/her research time at the practicum setting;
    • that granting of student’s degree will not be delayed by the desire to keep research results confidential; and
    • that the student will not be subject to any restrictions regarding the offers of employment that he or she may accept while enrolled in the graduate program or after obtaining a degree.
  • The Training Supplement application form, if this additional financial support is requested at the time of application; and
  • The Travel Allowance application form, if this additional financial support is requested.

Application deadlines

Student applications for the NSERC-FRQNT Industrial Innovation Scholarships Program may be submitted at any time; however, the university can assign internal deadlines. For more information about university deadlines, contact the Graduate Studies Office of the university in question.

Review process

The university will evaluate the application by providing a score and a comment for each of the four criteria listed below and making an overall recommendation.

A committee composed of NSERC and the FRQNT program managers examines the applications and makes a recommendation on whether funds should be granted.

Applications will be evaluated by the university on the basis of the following criteria:

  • Relevance and quality of the research project;
  • Candidate's aptitude for research and innovation;
  • Supervision available to the student; and
  • Candidate's academic record.

Criteria, indicators and weighting

Relevance and quality of research project (35 points)

  • Contribution to the advancement of knowledge in the discipline and to the organization’s development
  • Fit between the proposed project and the director's research field (doctoral scholarships only)
  • Appropriateness to the field of work carried out at the practicum setting
  • Originality of project and clarity of the science and technology objectives
  • Appropriate methodology for the research objectives

Candidate's aptitude for research and innovation (25 points)

  • Experience and achievements
  • Ability to communicate, including overall presentation of project

Quality of the supervision available to the student (25 points)

  • Justification of choice of educational institution and practicum setting including:
    • Supervision by university; and
    • Supervision by practicum setting
  •  Student's work environment
  • Value added by work experience in industry

Quality of the academic record (15 points)

  • Academic average (bachelor's/master's)
  • Awards, prizes and scholarships
  • Academic progress

Announcement of results

The results of the application process are announced no later than two months after receipt of the application and all required documents, including the signed cooperation agreement.

Scholarship terms and conditions

The scholarship may be used only at the university that submitted your application. However, in order to meet the terms and conditions of the scholarship, you must generally devote the majority of your research time while at the practicum setting to research activities related to your thesis at the host organization site. Interaction with the organization includes carrying out field work or devoting time to an alternate industrial organization, with the approval of NSERC and the FRQNT.

You must keep a record of the time you spend at the practicum setting by providing complete information on dates and hours, in tabular form, for inclusion as part of your progress report.

You must also comply with the terms and conditions for use of your scholarship as described on the Policies and Requirements page of the Award Holder’s Guide, including, but not limited to, performing a maximum of 150 hours of paid work per four-month period.

Concurrent scholarships

Concurrent scholarships not allowed

The IIS cannot be combined with any other scholarship from a federal funding agency such as NSERC, SSHRC and CIHR, and provincial funding agencies such as the FRQNT, FRQSC and FRQS. Scholarships of equal or greater value awarded by other Quebec or federal government departments cannot be combined with the IIS unless there are agreements on particular joint initiatives between these organizations and NSERC or the FRQNT.

Concurrent scholarships allowed

If you are receiving a scholarship from a private source, including universities, research chairs, consortiums, private, international or foreign foundations, other Canadian provincial governments or foreign governments, you may hold that scholarship concurrently with the IIS if the concurrency rules of these organizations allow it.

Holding awards concurrently with loans and scholarships from the Quebec Ministère de l’Éducation, du Loisir et du Sport (MELS) is permitted.

Start date and period of scholarship validity

The start date of the scholarship may be retroactive to the start of the academic term when the application was properly submitted. This retroactivity does not apply to applications for which information is missing at the end of the term. In addition, retroactivity does not apply to scholarships for which applications are submitted after February 1, or that were submitted but for which required information is missing on that date. In these cases, scholarships will not be awarded until the start of a term following the February 1 date.

The scholarships are awarded for the duration of the eligibility period, subject to the submission of progress reports deemed satisfactory by NSERC, the FRQNT and the practicum setting.

Payment of scholarships

The university will be responsible for making regular payments to the scholarship holder for the NSERC and the business portions of the scholarship. The FRQNT portion will be paid directly to the student.

Termination of support

The scholarship is terminated if: 

  • You are no longer eligible for this scholarship.
  • Your practicum setting withdraws its financial support for your scholarship.
  • You no longer meet the eligibility criteria that were in effect at the time your award was approved, the scholarship will be terminated.

Progress report

Consult the Scholarship terms and conditions section and the Annual Progress Reports section of the Award Holder’s Guide for more information on the progress report.

In order to authorize a payment for renewal of the scholarship, NSERC and the FRQNT must have received a yearly progress report. The report is sent to the FRQNT by the Graduate Studies Office each year by the anniversary date of the start date of the scholarship. This report must:

  • verify the student's satisfactory standing in the graduate program;
  • describe the progress the student has made in the research project;
  • detail the time the student has spent at the practicum setting; and
  • confirm the practicum setting’s continued financial support.

Final report

A final report is required after the scholarship end date one month following the term in which the scholarship ends. Any further financial assistance under another program of the FRQNT is conditional upon the receipt of the report.

Value of scholarship

  • IIS (Master’s) – Annual value of scholarship: $14,000 plus a minimum of $7,000 from the private partner
    • NSERC – $7,000
    • FRQNT – $7,000
    • Private partner – $7,000
    • Total – $21,000
  • IIS (Doctoral) – Annual value of scholarship: $18,000 plus a minimum of $9,000 from the private partner
    • NSERC – $9,000
    • FRQNT – $9,000
    • Private partner – $9,000
    • Total – $27,000
  • Training supplement (maximum $2,500). The Training supplement section below describes this supplement in more detail. The total cost is shared equally between NSERC and the FRQNT.
  • Travel allowance. The Travel allowance section describes this allowance in more detail. The value, for the total duration of the scholarship, is a maximum of $1,500 (Master’s) and $2,000 (Doctoral). The cost is absorbed by the FRQNT.

Training supplement

A Training supplement may be provided to pay for aspects of the student's training and for the acquisition of skills. The total amount cannot exceed $2,500 for the course of the scholarship. The supplement is intended to facilitate travel and registration in relevant training activities. The goal of these activities is to assist the student in acquiring complementary skills for working in the organization.

The student must submit a duly completed Training supplement application form directly to the FRQNT. This application must be well justified. The application for the supplement will be processed following the same procedure as the scholarship applications and will be assessed by the committee created by the two funding agencies for this purpose. The application may be submitted at the same time as the scholarship application or, at the latest, within the first four months of the last year of financial support.

The training activities must take place during the course of the scholarship. The supplement will be paid to the student once receipts have been submitted (for details regarding reimbursement of expenses, consult the Training Supplement section of the Award Holder’s Guide) and must be used solely for the training activities approved by the joint committee.

  • Eligible expenses
    • Registration, travel and follow-up expenditures for courses, workshops, internships, seminars or other training activities enabling the student to acquire the skills needed to carry out research work in an industrial setting.
  • Ineligible expenses
    • Fees for scientific symposiums or conferences related to the candidate's research field (organization and participation);
    • Remuneration of the on-the-job supervisor or research director;
    • Any expenditure related to the carrying out of the candidate's research work; and
    • Furniture and equipment.

Travel allowance

A travel allowance is offered, upon request, to students who carry out their research at organizations located in outlying areas and that are in a different region from their studies.

The goal of this allowance is to support students who wish to carry out their research in an organization located in a region more than 150 kilometres away from where they live or study.

Eligibility

Candidates must comply with all the following criteria:

  • Eligible students
    • All candidates receiving an IIS scholarship.
  • Research location
    • The practicum setting where the student carries out his research must be located in a different region from his or her studies, requiring significant additional travel for the student (e.g. more than 150 km away from where the student lives or studies).
    • The research location must be in an administrative region of Quebec.

Amounts offered

The FRQNT will offer up to $1,500 to master’s students and up to $2,000 for PhD students for the duration of the scholarship.

Payment of travel allowance

To obtain this travel allowance, students must apply to the FRQNT at the time of application for scholarship, using the appropriate form signed by the research director and the industrial supervisor. In the application for travel allowance, students must include an estimate of the supplementary expenses that will be incurred due to their research being carried out at organizations located in outlying areas that are in a different region from their studies. This travel allowance will primarily cover the additional transportation expenses and any accommodation expenses, if applicable.

The travel allowance will be paid to the student upon presentation of receipts (see the Award Holder’s Guide for claims’ guidelines) and must only relate to travel approved by the FRQNT.

Information for foreign students

NSERC and the FRQNT will allow foreign students to apply for an IIS Program scholarship. These applicants, as well as their applications, must meet all other IIS Program requirements.

NSERC and the FRQNT may decide to limit the number of IIS Program scholarships awarded to foreign students. In such an event, NSERC and the FRQNT will inform the universities of this decision.

Foreign students who receive an IIS have the same rights and must follow the same rules as other IIS holders, as described on the Policies and Requirements page in the Award Holder’s Guide. However, foreign students enrolled in a part-time program are not eligible for an IIS.

Student visa and employment

IIS awards are scholarships and should not be considered as employment. Therefore, foreign students who hold student visas allowing them to study in Canada are permitted to collaborate with the practicum setting through an IIS.

Eligible practicum settings for foreign students who hold an IIS

Foreign students who hold an IIS must work for a business whose offices, labs or other facilities are located in Quebec. Students must devote their research time to activities covered by the IIS. These activities must be carried out at practicum settings located in Quebec.

Additional documents required for IIS applications submitted by foreign students

If their transcripts are in a language other than English or French, foreign students must attach a certified translation of these transcripts to their application. An assessment of the academic qualifications upon which the student’s admissibility to the graduate program was based must also be attached. This assessment must be written by the university.

NSERC’s Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act and FRQNT’s Loi sur l’accès aux documents des organismes publics et sur la protection des renseignements personnels (in French only)

Consult the Introduction page of the Award Holder’s Guide for more information on these regulations.

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