All you need to know

All you need to know

Target group and fields supported

  • Type of program: Grant for multidisciplinary team.
  • Type of research: Fundamental or applied.
  • Strategic/priority field of research: Digital intelligence in the broad sense, data-driven innovation.

These scholarships support research in the areas delineated in our Canada First funding proposal: data science in the broad sense, encompassing methodological research in data science (machine learning, operations research, statistics) and its applications in multiple sectors.

The research supported by this program must be collaborative and multidisciplinary, whether through multiple methodological approaches (machine learning, operational research, decision science) or combining a methodological approach with expertise in a field of application. Whether the project involves applied research has no impact on eligibility. However, projects are expected to make a fundamental contribution to digital intelligence and applications must clearly emphasize and demonstrate this aspect.

To achieve the objectives described in this application, the scientific strategy is focused on two fundamental aspects of intelligent behaviour: knowledge and the ability to use it—or, put another way, the processes of understanding, predicting, and deciding. Emphasis is therefore placed on development of tools, methods, algorithms, and models—ideally, usable across a wide variety of fields of application. Applied research projects are encouraged, especially in the priority sectors (health, transportation and logistics, energy and resources, information services, and business), but not limited thereto.


The goals of this program are to:

  • Promote multidisciplinary research in digital intelligence, primarily in our IVADO members’ areas of excellence: operations research, machine learning, and decision science.
  • Lay the groundwork for subsequent research, whether fundamental or applied.


Date of next competition

To be sure you’re notified of the competition announcement, subscribe to our newsletter and join our Facebook group dedicated to the IVADO student community!

Previous competition calendar for information purposes:

  • Opening of the competition: November 12, 2019, 9 a.m. EST
  • Application deadline: December 11, 2019, 9 a.m. EST
  • Expected results notification date: April 2020 ***postponed to May 2020***
  • Funding start date: April 1 or September 1, 2020


Conditions of funding, eligible costs and funds available

Generally speaking, the Tri-Agency Financial Administration Guide and the Canada First / Apogée program rules will serve as guides for the program.

Funding available in the most recent competition

Funding of between $100,000 and $150,000 per year for two years will be awarded to the selected projects. The maximum allowable is therefore $300,000 spread over two years. A portion of the total available budget must be allocated to undergraduate and graduate student scholarships and postdoctoral fellowships; applicants must submit a budget in which at least two-thirds (66%) of expenses falls into this category.

Eligible expenses

This program allows for the funding of:

    • Undergraduate and graduate students;
    • Postdoctoral fellows;
    • Professionals;
    • Travel expenses;
    • Hardware, software, databases and access to computing resources.

Conditions de financement

  • For projects requiring ethics approval, funds will not be released until approval is granted.
  • The funds will be transferred to the research office of the principal investigator’s home university, and the university will disburse them according to its specific rules.

Eligibility criteria

For candidates and co-candidates

  • The principal investigator must be a faculty member at HEC Montréal, Polytechnique Montréal or Université de Montréal;
  • If you are a faculty member at the University of Alberta or McGill University, you may be a principal investigator provided that you are also a full member of one of our research groups (Mila, CIRRELT, GERAD, CERC in Data Science for Real-Time Decision-Making, CRM, Tech3Lab);
  • The team must be composed of at least two professors. Postdoctoral researchers are eligible as team members;
  • Team members must not all have their primary affiliation in the same department;
  • Projects that aim to enhance the value of omics data using artificial intelligence in the field of cancer are not eligible for this IVADO competition; they are eligible only for the Génome Québec / Oncopole / IVADO competition.
  • The principal investigator may not submit more than one application for this competition.

Submitting an application

Go to our dedicated online platform to apply.

/!\ Applications submitted by e-mail will be automatically rejected.

The application package must include:

  • A questionnaire to be completed on the dedicated platform; an example of a completed questionnaire is available here;
  • The CVs of the principal investigator and team members: free format for each participant, but listing at least the past five years of publications and activities (the NSERC Canadian Common CV is suggested as a template);
  • Justification of the composition of the team (maximum ½ page);
  • A description of the research project (maximum four pages);
  • The list of references (maximum one page);
  • The requested budget;
  • The budget justification, making the connection between the research project and the funding requested (maximum two pages);
  • The results dissemination plan (maximum one page);
  • The HQP training plan (maximum one page).

Evaluation of applications

Administrative screening

Proposals will go through an administrative screening, with applications rejected if:

  • they fail to meet the format constraints (e.g., sections missing, number of pages exceeded);
  • they are not submitted by an eligible professor;
  • the same principal investigator has submitted multiple applications;
  • all proposed team members are from the same department.

Evaluation criteria

Projects will be evaluated based in equal parts on, first:

The research project

  • Alignment with the subject of the funding program:
    – Multidisciplinary project in digital intelligence in the broad sense;
    – Involving the areas of excellence of our IVADO members: operations research, machine learning, decision science;
  • Significance of the expected impacts, research excellence, originality;
  • Feasibility of the project, and appropriateness of the methodology;
  • Clarity of the proposal;
  • Existence of a reasonable and well-justified budget in line with the objectives.

And second:

The team and individuals

  • Excellence of the researchers involved in the application, according to their degree of career advancement;
  • Justification of the composition of the team (alignment between the team and the project, multiplicity of members’ areas of expertise);
  • Presence of early-career researchers (recently hired professors, postdoctoral researchers).

Training opportunities

  • Involvement of both undergraduate and graduate students;
  • Involvement of postdoctoral researchers;
  • Hiring and training of research professionals.

Consistency with the other objectives of Canada First / Apogée and IVADO

Team includes:

  • Researchers outside Montréal;
  • Postdoctoral researchers funded by IVADO;
  • Professors recruited under the IVADO program;
  • International collaborations;
  • Validity of the results dissemination plan;
  • Integration into a broader research program with longer-term goals;
  • Efforts made to ensure representation and diversity team or recruitment intentions (e.g., women, minorities); researchers are encouraged to work on representation when forming the team and recruiting.


Each application will be assigned to four reviewers, chosen from among professors familiar with the field of the application. Direct collaborators (co-supervisors or recent co-publications) of applicant team members will not participate in the evaluations of these proposals.

Applications will then be divided into review sub-committees organized by methodological area, to establish a ranking based on excellence. Each sub-committee will be composed of three professors from three different universities, including a chair.

The sub-committees’ rankings will be pooled at a meeting of the chairs at which a ranking of the applications will be determined. The chairs will propose a list of projects to be funded according to the available budget. The results will be discussed and approved by the Scientific Committee at a special meeting thereof.


The principal investigator commits to submitting, within the requested deadlines, mid-stage reports and a final report including the following:

  • Summary of the project;
  • List of publications;
  • List of participations in events;
  • List of students who received funding, with contact information and summaries of their participation (in compliance with personal data management rules);
  • Financial report;
  • List of knowledge-dissemination activities organized by the team or in which it took part or collaborated;
  • New funding obtained or applied for on the basis of the work carried out during the project.

Our commitment to Equity, Diversity and Inclusion

To ensure all members of society draw equal benefit from the advancement of knowledge and opportunities in digital intelligence, we promote principles of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion across all of our programs, and we commit to providing a recruitment process and research setting that are inclusive, non-discriminatory, open, and transparent.


  • I need to submit my revised budget. What information should I include?

The information we require must be listed by year and include the following items:

  • Salaries/scholarships (e.g., postdocs, PhD students, professionals);
  • Dissemination of the research results and networking (e.g., organization of conferences, publications, website);
  • Travel and accommodation expenses (e.g., participation in conferences, invitations to researchers);
  • Outside contributions;
  • Other.


  • Are there different categories of team member?

We make no distinction between co-researchers, co-applicants, collaborators, etc. These potential distinctions are to be determined between the team members. The rights and responsibilities of each individual with regard to the grant are determined by their affiliation and professional status. For example, a doctoral student who is a team member may receive a scholarship, but cannot administer funds.

  • What is meant by “international collaborations?”

The definition is quite broad, encompassing anything that will foster labour relations with other Canadian provinces and other countries around the world, and anything to do with integration into an international network, presence in the team of foreign collaborators, visiting professors or professors on sabbatical, planning of co-supervisions, co-publications or organization of international events, integration of activities into existing partnership agreements between your university and others, etc.

  • Which types of professor are eligible to be part of an application?

There are two types of constraint: affiliation constraints and status constraints. Both must be met to ensure eligibility. For team members, there are no constraints, as to either status or affiliation.

For the principal investigator (applicant), the affiliation constraints are that they must be a professor at:

– HEC Montréal, Polytechnique Montréal or Université de Montréal, with no other constraints;
– McGill University or the University of Alberta, provided that you they are also a full member of one of the following research groups: Mila, CIRRELT, GERAD, CERC in Data Science for Real-Time Decision-Making, CRM, or Tech3Lab).

For the principal investigator, the eligible statuses (which we summarize using the term “professor”) are:

–  Assistant professor, associate or regular professor, full professor;
–  Research professor;
–  Visiting researcher.

Adjunct professors are not eligible.

/!\ A change in the principal investigator’s status or affiliation during the funding period may result in the cessation of funding.


  • What are the rules for the sharing of intellectual property?

Under this program, IVADO does not have any involvement at this level. The intellectual property agreements are to be worked out between the team members, with the help of the usual contacts in their institutions: research office, legal department, etc.

  • Are the four Canada First / Apogée fields (Transportation and Logistics; Health and Biomedical Research; Business and Information Services; Energy) exclusive, priority, or illustrative?

For the 2019 competition, these fields are favoured, but any other area of application will be considered. Note that a particular area of application is not necessary; projects involving fundamental methodological work at the intersection of machine learning, operations research and decision science are also eligible.

  • Will a field with applications outside Canada be considered; e.g., study of a tropical disease?

Yes, as long as the research is conducted in Canada and otherwise fits into one or more of the areas eligible for funding.

  • Would work on an advanced mathematical model that does not involve machine learning be eligible?

Yes; such a model may be perfectly aligned with a simulation approach (operations research) or decision-support approach, for example. The more the use of the model strays from those fields, the less priority will be given to the project.

  • Will there be a grace period extending beyond the two years of the funding during which it may be used?

Yes; the terms and conditions are explained in the letter of award.

  • What are the formal aspects of the eligibility criterion regarding multidisciplinarity of teams and of projects?

They are “loose” constraints, but simple and formal, for considering multidisciplinarity:

–  Teams: members cannot all be affiliated with the same department of the same university. They can all be members of one research group without this affecting eligibility.
– Projects: “The research supported by this program must be collaborative and multidisciplinary, whether through multiple methodological approaches (machine learning, operational research, decision science) or combining a methodological approach with expertise in a field of application.”

  • Do I need to submit CVs of members of foreign or industry-based teams?

The team members must be selected based on their relevance to the proposed research project, and the composition of the team is one of the evaluation criteria. To ensure proper evaluation, CVs must be supplied for all team members, including foreign or industry-based members.

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