Answers to your questions
What is PULSAR for? Who can participate? What does PULSAR do with the data? We’ve compiled answers to the most frequently asked questions and grouped them into four categories.
- General Questions
- Participating in a Project Conducted with PULSAR
- Doing Research with PULSAR
- Data, Security, and Privacy
Still have questions? Send them to us and we’ll be happy to answer them.
What is PULSAR?
PULSAR, a joint initiative by Université Laval and Alliance santé Québec, is a collaborative space for research and innovation in sustainable health, and the first endeavor of its kind in Québec.
Part virtual, part physical, the PULSAR space brings together a variety of stakeholders who take a different approach to health research. The goal? To significantly and sustainably improve the health and well-being of the population.
What makes PULSAR innovative?
PULSAR is revolutionizing the way people conduct health research in many ways.
- Adheres to a new and promising concept called “sustainable health”
- Promotes scientific sharing and interdisciplinary and intersectoral research
- Gets the public directly involved in research
- Takes the pulse of what’s happening on the ground by means of:
- New connected technologies
- Big data produced by societies
- Consultations with the public and other stakeholders
- Draws on a large-scale technological infrastructure and the knowledge of data science experts to perform cutting-edge computer calculations and leverage the data that surrounds us
- Disseminates reliable, useful information that’s easy to understand to help people make informed decisions
- Helps increase the impact of health research on population health
What is sustainable health?
To put it simply, sustainable health means having “a healthy mind in a healthy body, in a healthy community and natural environment, on a healthy planet.”
More specifically, sustainable health is a modern vision of health that goes far beyond conventional thinking. It encompasses all dimensions of an individual’s health and well-being, including their lifestyle, physical and psychological condition, socio-economic situation, family and work environment, community, neighborhood, the social, political and cultural context, etc.
These are some of the factors that can have an impact—positive or negative—on the health of individuals or an entire population. Joining PULSAR means embracing this vision of health for the benefit of current and future generations.
Visit the Sustainable Health page for more information.
Who can join PULSAR?
Anyone age 13 and up who cares about their health and that of their family, their environment, and their community—and wants it to be sustainable.
Why join PULSAR?
PULSAR offers quality content and reliable information on sustainable health. But members get access to even more!
- A customized dashboard, including exclusive news and events for members only
- Registration form for ongoing research projects
- Project progress reports and research findings
- Decision-making tools
- An opportunity to get information on their own health (depending on the research projects members take part in)
But most of all, becoming a member marks the beginning of a wonderful collaboration to help advance science and improve population health.
What does it mean to be a PULSAR partner?
Depending on your needs, your collaboration with PULSAR can take many forms. Whether it’s a strategic partnership (sharing expertise and resources for the benefit of the participating parties), sharing best practices or visibility, or a financial support arrangement, PULSAR is always looking for ways to collaborate. Interested? Contact us so we can talk about it!
Who are PULSAR’s main partners?
PULSAR is a joint initiative developed by Université Laval, Alliance santé Québec, and their extensive network of researchers. It also works with other stakeholders from the Québec City area:
- Ville de Québec
- Institut national de la santé publique du Québec (INSPQ)
- Institut national d’excellence en santé et services sociaux (INESSS)
- Québec International
- Centre intégré universitaire de santé et de services sociaux de la Capitale-Nationale (CIUSSS-CN)
- Centre intégré de santé et de services sociaux de Chaudière-Appalaches (CISSS-CA)
- Centre hospitalier universitaire de Québec-Université Laval (CHU)
- The Quebec Heart and Lung Institute
- Unité mixte de recherche en sciences urbaines (UMRsu)
- Institut national d’optique (INO)
- The Huron-Wendat Nation of Wendake
If you’re not on the list but would like to be, we’d be delighted to have you! Contact us to discuss the options.
How is PULSAR funded?
PULSAR is currently supported by Université Laval and La Fondation de l'Université Laval.
Who can take part in a research project conducted with PULSAR?
Once registered, anyone interested in taking part in a project conducted with PULSAR may do so. Participation is on a free and voluntary basis. However, participants are selected for each research project according to criteria established by the project team.
Want to join PULSAR? It’s easy, click here!
What is involved if I participate in a project?
Taking part in a research project isn’t rocket science! Your degree of involvement will vary from project to project. For instance, you may be asked to fill out a questionnaire, provide biological samples, or participate in interviews with members of the research team.
But before you begin, it’s important to be informed. The project team will ensure you have all the information you need to make an informed decision when you agree to participate in a project.
Once you have all the information and are ready to proceed, you’ll need to give your consent (in writing, verbally, or electronically) to participate in the project. The project team may also offer you the opportunity to consent to have the data collected on you deposited in the PULSAR sustainable health databank.
For more information on participating in a project, take a few minutes to watch our video.
Why would I want to participate?
To help advance science and improve the health and well-being of the population. No less!
But are there any personal benefits to participating in PULSAR projects?
Of course! Depending on the project, you may:
- Have access to your individual results from the project, i.e., personalized information on your health status
- Be compensated financially or otherwise (e.g., prize for participating)
You’ll also have access to the results of the projects you take part in as well as plain-language explanations of their impact on the ground.
If I do participate, what kind of difference will I actually make?
The factors that determine health are myriad and complex! The only way for PULSAR to help sustainably improve population health is to study these factors from every angle, with the help of as many people and as much data as possible. By taking part, you will help researchers gain a better understanding of why certain individuals, communities, and populations are healthy, and others less so.
And that’s not all. The new knowledge generated by these projects will also make it easier to make informed decisions and take concrete action to:
- Improve government public health policies
- Identify solutions for helping vulnerable populations
- Change individuals’ health trajectories using connected tools.
Visit the Sustainable Health page to learn more.
What is a project conducted with PULSAR?
In order to use PULSAR, projects must:
- Examine one or more dimensions of health and contribute to the development of sustainable health research
- Adhere to PULSAR’s vision and values
- Subscribe to PULSAR’s scientific approach
- Be peer reviewed and subject to ethical approval by a recognized ethics committee
- Be selected to be part of PULSAR’s annual research programming
Who can do a research project with PULSAR?
Once registered with PULSAR, you can suggest or carry out a project with PULSAR if:
- You hold an academic position at a Canadian university and are qualified to conduct research as a principal investigator
- You’re a master’s or PhD student, or a postdoctoral fellow under the supervision of a researcher holding a position at a Canadian university
- You are conducting research activities or are likely to use the knowledge generated by the research to decide on policies, programs, or practices in a non-profit corporation or a Canadian federal or provincial department, body, or agency.
Please note that the project management team (lead and co-lead[s]) must include at least one researcher from Université Laval.
Even if your profile does not meet the above criteria, we are still interested in hearing your project ideas! To submit them, please use the project submission form.
Why should I do a research project with PULSAR?
There are many advantages to doing research with PULSAR:
- Technological: Reliable, highly secure facilities
- IT: Data collection and analysis tools, digital space for participants
- Administrative: Integrated tools and services, giving you more time to focus on your research
- Scientific: Increased outreach, contribution to sustainable health, opportunities for collaboration
- Social and human: Knowledge sharing and transfer within the PULSAR network, improved population well-being
What services and tools will I have access to? Do I have to pay?
PULSAR offers a range of innovative services and tools to help with all research activities for projects included in its research programming. Some of these services are free, others are paid.
For more information, see PULSAR’s services.
How does PULSAR select and monitor projects?
PULSAR draws on the expertise of its scientific committee to evaluate and select the projects to be included in its research programming. From evaluating projects to releasing its annual review of research programming, PULSAR strives to be methodical and transparent in everything it does.
Want to learn more about project evaluation criteria? Log into your account and check out our Member FAQ.
For more information on how PULSAR manages its research programming, please see the Sustainable Health Databank Management Framework
What is the sustainable health databank?
To study health and well-being from every angle, PULSAR is building a sustainable health databank. It is a compilation of the data collected by various research projects carried out with PULSAR. Only data from participants who have given their consent will be included in the sustainable health databank.
The databank is an institutional resource administered and secured by Université Laval. It is strictly managed under the Sustainable Health Databank Management Framework and subject to the legal framework currently in force in Québec and across Canada. It currently contains data only and no biological material.
Where does the data entrusted to PULSAR come from
To be able to study health in all its dimensions, the teams that do research with PULSAR collect, process, cross-reference, and exploit data from multiple sources. This data can come from a project carried out with PULSAR as well as from the Données Québec open data portal, various government departments and agencies (federal and provincial), municipalities, etc.
While the data may have originally been collected for different reasons, with PULSAR, it can now be compiled together to reveal new correlations and new knowledge that may lead to new discoveries.
How do you ensure that the data is secure and protected?
All data entrusted to PULSAR will be processed and protected in an ethical and secure manner, in full compliance with the laws of Québec and Canada, and in accordance with Université Laval’s information security guidelines and policies.
All data entrusted to PULSAR is hosted in highly secure facilities held, managed, and installed in the Université Laval IT environment. These facilities are protected by rigorous physical and IT security measures inspired by the ISO 27002 standard.
Who has access to the data?
The data can only be used by the researchers involved in the research project you are participating in. They are supervised by the project’s lead researcher and are required to use your data in full compliance with the laws and ethical and privacy rules in force in Québec and across Canada, and with the information security policies in effect at Université Laval.
In the event that the researcher(s) in charge of the project wish to give access to your data to third parties who are not part of the research team, they are required to notify you at the outset as part of the terms of conditions governing your participation in the project. Your data will therefore be used only for the purposes indicated for which you have given your consent as part of the project.
None of the data stored in the sustainable health databank may be commercialized.
For more information, please see the answer to the question “Who can do a research project with PULSAR?” in this FAQ.
How long will the data be kept?
The data retention period can vary from project to project. The data in the sustainable health databank will be kept indefinitely, unless you ask to have it removed.