SynergiQc – Pediatric Oncology

An initiative of CQDM, the Canadian Cancer Society, the Cole Foundation and Oncopole


NEW – Deadline to participate in selection round (full application): December 8th, 2021.

Through the SynergiQc program, the Canadian Cancer Society (CCS), the Cole Foundation (and collaborating donors), Oncopole – Pôle cancer du FRQS (Oncopole) and CQDM unite forces to support collaborative translational research and development (R&D) projects on pediatric and young adult cancers, in particular leukemia and lymphoma. This partnership creates a unique funding mechanism to bring together experts from academia and industry to support the development of platforms, tools and biopharmaceutical products that will pave the way for new advances in pediatric cancer prevention, diagnosis and treatment.

Scope and research agenda


This CQDM, CCS, Cole Foundation and Oncopole SynergiQc initiative specifically focuses on pediatric and young adult cancer, in particular leukemia and lymphoma. The intent of the initiative is:

  • To increase the number of cooperative endeavours and partnerships between Quebec’s universities and companies in the life sciences industry towards improved outcomes for pediatric and young adult cancer patients;
  • To foster technological maturation and the creation of industrial value, leading to economic benefits for both the project’s stakeholders and for Quebec in general;
  • To promote the knowledge, capabilities, and the new technologies developed in public institutions and facilitating uptake by industry.

Eligibility criteria

Eligible applicants

  • Researchers* working on pediatric/young adult cancer in an academic research institution in Quebec (universities and affiliated hospitals, research institutes, and College Centres for the Transfer of Technologies [CCTT]) and interested in collaborating with one or more QC-based life sciences companies.

Eligible projects

  • Industrially oriented academic research projects conducted in partnership with one or more private organizations engaging in R&D and/or production activities;
  • R&D projects with a Technology Readiness Level ranging from 1 to 3 (at project start – refer to the TRL Guide here);
  • Socio-economic benefits must be generated for the province of Quebec and for private partners participating in each project;
  • Applicants are responsible to ensure that the financial structure for the project meet the program criteria (refer to the Financing section for details on the required matching funds);
  • When applicable and relevant, applicants are encouraged to submit projects that involve researchers from different research centres and universities in Quebec and that take advantage of provincial public tools and platforms;
  • CQDM can assist applicants with this step, as detailed in the Application Submission Process section.

*Researchers must verify their eligibility for Oncopole funding according to their role and status, as indicated in the FRQ Common General Rules (CGR). Researchers with a status that does not correspond to these rules must contact the CQDM to confirm their eligibility.

  • The CQDM, CCS, Cole Foundation and Oncopole financial support, combined, will represent no more than 90% of eligible project expenses;
  • In addition, at least one additional private company engaged in R&D and/or production activities in Quebec must contribute to the financing of research projects in cash, for no less than 10% of eligible project expenses;
  • If required, Canadian and foreign companies, as well as foundations and other governmental sources, can qualify as eligible partners and contribute for the remaining portion of the budget;
  • Budget details will be carefully examined and must be well documented.

For more information on potential funding structures for each TRL, please refer to Table 1 below.

Table 1. Summary of funding scenarios 

CharacteristicsOnly TRL 1-3 projects are considered as part of the SynergiQc – Pediatric Oncology initiative
CQDM’s maximum contribution40% of eligible expenses / $500k per year
Combined CCS / Cole Foundation / OncopoleUp to 50% of eligible expenses
Number of partnering firms required At least one (1) private firm established in Quebec and conducting R&D or production activities
Contribution required by partnering firms10% to 20% of the project’s eligible expenses, in cash
Other counterpart funds*If required, eligible sources including Canadian and foreign companies, foundations and non-MEI government contributions

* Combined government support (municipal, provincial, and federal) including contributions from public partners (associations, organizations, etc.) cannot exceed 80% of total project costs. In such cases, CQDM funding will be reduced by a percentage equivalent to the excess funding.

Indirect research costs (IRCs) will be added to total project costs: a fixed rate of 27% for IRCs will be applied to eligible expenditure items associated with the funds provided by the MEI (Ministère de l’Économie, et de l’Innovation). IRCs (wages and fringe benefits, fellowships, equipment and supplies) are excluded from the partner contribution ratios described in Table 1. Note that CCS, Cole Foundation and Oncopole funds are not eligible to be used for indirect research costs.


Minimum 1 year, maximum 3 years

Funding specifics

  • Minimum budget: each project must have a budget of no less than $500k with some exceptions, such as cases which indicate that significant value can be created with a smaller budget;
  • Maximum budget: $2M;
  • Each budget item will be carefully analyzed and must be clearly justified.

Eligible expenses

  • Fellowships, wages and fringe benefits for research personnel assigned to the project (technicians, research assistants and associates, postdoctoral fellows, and students);
  • Laboratory material and fees paid to third parties required to execute the project;
  • Travel expenses (travel related to the project, collaborations, conferences) and knowledge dissemination costs;
  • Intellectual property costs (patent applications, patent maintenance fees for the duration of the project);
  • Rental or purchase of small equipment necessary to conduct the research and with a maximum value of $15k.

Only expenses incurred by public institutions are eligible.

Non-eligible costs:

  • Large equipment purchases and rental (or purchase) of facilities;
  • Salary of the principal investigator (PI) and co-investigators from universities and their affiliated research centres.

Application process

Deadline to participate in the 1st selection round: December 8th, 2021.

Please note that in order to allow for a proper evaluation of the projects, we ask that researchers notify us of their intent to apply no later than December 1st, 2021.

 Application process:

  1. Prepare a half-page, non-confidential scientific summary (which must include a title, the PI’s name and affiliations, the project’s total budget, the private partners involved and their respective contribution) and send it to this address no later than December 1st, 2021.
  2. Complete the SynergiQc Application Form and the SynergiQc budget grid (available upon request).
  3. Include the letters of support from partner organizations in the appendix.
  4. Applications must be submitted electronically through

We strongly recommend contacting Véronique Dugas, Senior Director, Scientific Affairs and Partnerships, for questions or assistance regarding the program, including budgeting and funding arrangements.

Selection criteria for Pediatric and Young Adult Cancer Projects

  • Scientific excellence, the innovative nature of the project, its contribution to science, and the quality and relevance of the proposed methodology in relation to the final product;
  • The project’s feasibility, the soundness of the research plan and of the proposed budget;
  • The competitive advantage of the proposed technology;
  • The creation of industrial value and the compatibility of the project with partner needs;
  • The degree of financial involvement of the partner;
  • The synergy between researchers and complementarity of their expertise in executing the project;
  • The soundness of the development and technology maturation plan with a clear path for deployment to end users;
  • The socioeconomic benefits for Quebec and the private partners;
  • The training of a specialized and high-quality workforce, including graduate students.

Evaluation process of the Quebec Funding Program for Biopharmaceutical Research

Key  evaluation steps:

  • An independent scientific evaluation based on the selection criteria detailed above. CQDM, CCS, the Cole Foundation and Oncopole will establish an external peer review process that will be administered by CQDM.
  • An evaluation of non-scientific aspects of the project, including the quality of the relationship and cooperation between the researchers and organizations, the added value of the collaboration, and the economic benefits for each of the stakeholders, including for Quebec;
  • Funding recommendations by CQDM’s Scientific Advisory Board;
  • Funding approval to be made by each of the CCS, Cole Foundation, CQDM and Oncopole in accordance with their respective policies and guidelines;
  • Approval of the necessary funding by the Ministry of Economy and Innovation (MEI).

Research agreement and Intellectual Property Policy

  • Researchers who will be awarded a research grant from CQDM will be required to sign a research agreement within 3 months after receiving the funding confirmation letter. The research agreement must be signed by all research organizations involved in the project, including private partners.
  • CQDM will provide a draft research agreement based on the following principles:
    • Researchers retain intellectual property rights, in compliance with the policies of research organizations associated with the project.
    • The research agreementincludes specific project milestones, timelines (Gantt chart) and deliverables.
    • Any inter-institutional intellectual property agreement signed by all research organizations involved in the project and to which CQDM is not party must be included in the research agreement as an appendix.
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