Flights for the Advancement of Science and Technology (FAST)

Announcement of Opportunity

Application deadline:

1. Introduction

Building Canadian capacity in space science and technology is a priority for the Canadian Space Agency (CSA). Canada must generate and maintain a robust, experienced workforce in industry, academia, and government to play active roles in future space missions. Such capacity building can be encouraged by providing training opportunities to the current and next generation of scientists and engineers interested in space science and technology development. Individuals trained in space science and engineering are ideally positioned to capitalize upon new ideas and technologies developed in Canada and elsewhere in the world. Through their contribution to the advancement of knowledge and technology development, they contribute to Canada's competitiveness and productivity in the space industry and academia. The Canadian space community in industry, academia, and government will benefit from a cadre of university graduates with space-relevant training.

Conducting space research, including developing and using scientific instruments for satellites and the International Space Station (ISS), and other space-based platforms, is complex and risky, could have long timelines, and inherently involves a low tolerance for risk due to the level of investment. Training new students within these constraints is a challenge. In this context, there is a need to consider funding research projects that would address science and technical problems while giving opportunities to students to acquire relevant space knowledge and skills required for space research projects. This could be possible through ground based studies or through the use of low-cost space or sub-orbital platforms such as nanosatellites, cubesats, sounding rockets, stratospheric balloons, or aircraft platforms. Such projects offer unique education and practical experience in space-relevant projects by which university students can become involved in all aspects of space-based mission experiments. Nanosatellites, cubesats and sub-orbital platforms provide access to space and near-space on a shorter time scale than is possible for a larger satellite or a space mission. Ground-based studies allow students to conduct science and technology experiments on Earth in planetary, asteroid, and gravity analogue environments including field sites, simulators, low-pressure/microgravity (near free-fall) facilities, laboratories and observatories.

The life cycle of missions on these sub-orbital platforms or during ground-based studies is better matched to the length of a student's Master or PhD program or Postdoctoral Fellowship. Moreover, because of the low-cost and relatively short development time associated with such missions and studies, a student can have hands-on experience during his/her Master or PhD program or Postdoctoral Fellowship with all areas of the project from mission concept development and instrument construction to mission operations and post-mission data analysis. These projects inherently have a higher tolerance for risk than traditional long-duration space missions.

1.1 Announcement of Opportunity (AO) objectives

Through this AO, the CSA aims at providing grants for activities requiring access to space and sub-orbital flights or ground-based facilities or field sites on Earth in order to develop highly qualified personnel (HQP) while conducting science investigations or performing technology demonstrations, simulations, or validations (see Section 2.1.1 for more information on HQP).

More specifically, this AO aims at:

  • Fostering the continuing development of a critical mass of researchers and HQP by providing a training ground for both the current and next generation of scientists and engineers;
  • Supporting the development of science and technology relevant to the priorities of the CSA through the use of research platforms including stratospheric balloons, aircraft, sounding rockets, nanosatellites, cubesats, ground-based facilities and field sites.

The key results expected from selected research projects are an increased supply of Canadian scientists and engineers with PhDs and/or Masters degrees as well as Postdoctoral Fellows (PDF), research associates and technicians with experience in addressing scientific, technical and/or operational questions in the context of space mission requirements faced by the Canadian space industry, academia and/or government institutions.

1.2 Contact information

To obtain further information, please contact:

Martin Lebeuf
Science and Academic Development
Canadian Space Agency
6767 Route de l'Aéroport
Saint-Hubert,
Quebec J3Y 8Y9
450-926-6766

2. Criteria for eligibility

2.1 Eligible projects

In order to be eligible, projects must require access to space and sub-orbital flights, ground based facilities or field sites to train HQP.

While training activities involving end-to-end projects are strongly encouraged, training opportunities in the research disciplines (section 2.1.3) and on eligible research platforms (section 2.1.2) in Canada or abroad, may be related to any phases of a technical or scientific project whether they are related to either a space or sub-orbital flight or a ground-based study.

This may include, but is not limited to, activities associated with project planning, management and operation, feasibility assessment, requirements definition, designing, building, integrating and testing instruments or payloads, commissioning, calibrating, validating, operating, tracking and recovering equipments, instruments or systems, or activities related to experiments such as collecting and analyzing samples and data, both in-situ or in a laboratory.

A project may be a Canadian led flight or ground-based study or a contribution to a foreign-led flight or ground-based study. Examples of eligible projects include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • A Canadian-led experiment that includes training activities and that requires access to a nanosatellite, a cubesat, a sub-orbital platform, a ground based facility or a field site to obtain scientific or technical research data. The Canadian team may propose to develop any aspect of the experiment. It can include international contributions, such as expertise, instruments, launch facilities and/or operations;
  • A foreign-led flight mission or field deployment which includes a valid Canadian scientific or technology contribution involving Canadian collaborators and their graduate students or PDF.
2.1.1 Targeted training activities and HQP

Selected projects will offer a defined training experience to HQP in space related fields, which include:

  • Graduate students (master's and doctoral);
  • PDFFootnote 1;
  • Technicians (if it is to increase their employment capability);
  • Research associatesFootnote 2.

Undergraduate students in final-year projects can be part of the proposed project as future graduate students. Proposals focusing on support of undergraduate students will not be considered.

Undergraduate student participation in final-year projects and summer projects is an important first phase in research training and plays a major role in encouraging excellent students to pursue research careers. For technicians and others who are employed in long-term positions, the acquisition of new skills and knowledge is an important contribution to training. The inclusion of these two elements in a project will be positively considered by CSA.

Research and training projects supported through this AO would range from undergraduate theses and summer projects to postdoctoral level research, and includes research and development performed by technical and other research personnel. The level and content of the training should be appropriate to the research domain, whether it is science or engineering related, with opportunities for interaction and collaboration with other researchers inside and outside the organization, where appropriate.

In collaborative research involving non-university partners, HQP training may be enhanced by exposure to an industrial or government work environment. Similarly, industry personnel can benefit from being involved in academic research. The CSA strongly encourages such collaborative research involving academia and industry.

The fact that an applicant has trained, is training, or plans to train students, technicians, or PDF, is not in itself a sufficient rationale for awarding a grant. A researcher's contribution to the proposed training activities will be assessed in terms of its quality and impact, and not solely in terms of the number of people supervised.

2.1.2 Eligible research platforms

The following platforms will be considered for conducting the projects, either in Canada or abroad:

  • Stratospheric balloons;
  • Aircraft;
  • Sounding rockets;
  • Nanosatellites or cubesats;
  • Ground-based facilities.

Ground-based facilities include laboratories, observatories, field sites in planetary and asteroid analogue environments and, low-pressure/microgravity (near free-fall) facilities.

2.1.3 Research disciplines and skills to be acquired by HQP

Projects must provide hands-on training experiences for HQP that focus on one or several of the following disciplines:

  • Satellite and spacecraft systems, components, environments, and operations, systems engineering techniques, mechanical design, communication system engineering;
  • Space exploration science and technologies (see CSEW6 report);
  • Earth systems science including remote sensing of atmospheric composition, atmospheric dynamics, clouds and precipitation, soil moisture, biomass fires, snow and ice cover;
  • Solar-terrestrial science including measurement of energetic particles, magnetic fields, atmospheric geospace interaction.

It is expected that such hands-on experience will allow HQP to develop professional and social skills such as:

  • Project management;
  • Systems engineering;
  • Communication;
  • Team work;
  • Leadership;
  • Capacity to adapt to change (flexibility);
  • Self-confidence;
  • Ethical conduct of research and related issues.
2.1.4 Projects to be funded

All development phases necessary for the realization of a typical space mission are eligible. Any logical combination or breakdown of these phases can constitute a funded project. However, breaking down a project into numerous phases to obtain more than the maximum grant is not allowed for what is considered to be one project. Furthermore, even if the maximum funding for one project is not reached, the completion of a funded phase does not automatically guarantee funding of the remaining phases.

As described in Section 5.3, Evaluation Criteria, a preference will be given to projects allowing HQP to be involved in end-to-end mission projects (section 2.1). Through this AO, collaboration between Canadian and foreign universities, space agencies and/or industry is strongly encouraged.

2.2 Eligible recipients

For this AO, eligible recipients include any Canadian university, post-secondary institution, and not-for-profit organization, established and operating in Canada that has demonstrated its capacity to support and conduct research as well as train and grant degrees to higher education students. It must have an established and recognized research and training mission. Note that an experiment being funded under this AO does not need to be conducted in Canada.

3. Funding

3.1 Available funding and duration

Total proposed funding per project should be under $475,000 to be spent over a maximum of three years. The maximum funding that the CSA will provide to a single project will vary according to the space and sub-orbital platforms to be used or ground-based studies to be conducted, as well as CSA budget availability. Before each installment, the eligibility of the recipient will be reassessed. Proposed project duration can not exceed three years, unless otherwise agreed to by the CSA. Grant agreements may be amended following a careful review of progress reports, proposal for project continuation and risks analysis to reflect the new requested termination date and additional funds required, if any. The number of projects funded under this AO will depend on funding availability. It is expected that at least one project per research platform described in Section 2.1.2 will be funded.

3.2 Non-CSA confirmed funding

Each applicant is required to identify in their application confirmed funds from all other sources of funding than CSA. For projects requiring from other funding organizations more than 25% of funds in relation to the total project cost, the CSA must have received from the applicant proof that such funds have been confirmed. In the absence of such confirmation from other source of funding, the CSA may not award a grant.

Considering the objectives of this AO and the limited available budget, a single principal investigator (PI) can only apply for one Grant in response to this AO (although an institution can apply more than once). Multiple applications from a single PI won't be therefore considered. To allow a greater pool of HQP, researchers are encouraged to work together as a team in an end-to-end project combining all or most of space mission phases within their training activities.

To be eligible for a grant, the grant funds awarded to the recipient cannot be re-distributed but subcontracts may be awarded by the recipient institution.

3.3 Eligible costs

Eligible costs are direct expenses associated with the delivery of the approved project and that are required to achieve the expected results of the project. Expenses will be covered subject to the Applicant signing a grant agreement with the CSA.

Eligible costs can include one or a combination of the following:

  • Access fees;
  • accommodation and meal allowances;
  • acquisition, development and printing of materials;
  • acquisition or rental of equipment;
  • aircraft and watercraft charter services;
  • bursaries
  • consultant services;
  • cost for carrying out environmental screening and/or impact studies;
  • costs related to obtaining security clearance;
  • data acquisition;
  • data management;
  • laboratory analyses services;
  • launcher services;
  • licenses and permits fees;
  • marketing and printing services;
  • material and supplies;
  • overhead (administrative) costs (not to exceed 20% of eligible costs for universities and 15% for other eligible recipients);
  • participation fees at conferences, committees and events;
  • PST, HST and GST net of any rebate to which the recipient is entitled to and the reimbursement of any taxes for goods and services acquired in a foreign country net of any rebate or reimbursement received in the foreign country.
  • publication and communication services;
  • registration fees;
  • salaries and benefits;
  • training;
  • translation services;
  • travel; and
  • tuition fees.
3.3.1 Use of stratospheric balloons in Canada

Through this AO, CSA is soliciting proposals for all types of eligible stratospheric balloon projects in Canada and abroad.

However, the CSA plans to support the development of a balloon launch capability at mid latitudes in Canada for flying on a regular basis starting in 2014, payloads from 70 to 1,000 kg. Since CSA will procure such flight capability, costs associated to this and related flight planning, operation, safety, licensing and balloon recovery would be supported by the CSA.

Applicants interested in using such balloon flight capability from 2014 and beyond should provide a cost estimate based on their experience for launching and operating their balloons. Such estimate should be detailed in the project budget but not included in the requested grant since the CSA will procure the launch capacity (balloons, flight planning, launch operations, flight operations, and balloon recovery) separately.

4. Application requirements

Please read this guide thoroughly before submitting your application. It has been prepared to assist Applicants through the application process and it outlines important elements including mandatory criteria for eligibility and the selection process. In the event of any discrepancies between this AO and the individual funding agreements governing projects, the latter documents will take precedence.

The Application must include the following:

  • A completed typed original application form signed by the Duly Authorized Representative;
  • A copy of the document(s) confirming the legal name of the Applicant;
  • A copy of the application (identical to the signed paper copy) on a standard electronic media (USB flash drive, CD or DVD);
  • Curriculum vitae for the PI (4 pages maximum) and all Co-Investigators (Co-Is) and Collaborators (2 pages maximum each) listed in the proposal. Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) Form 100s should be submitted;
  • Letters from other funding contributors confirming their contributions (if applicable);
  • Declaration on Confidentiality, Access to Information and Privacy Act form signed by the Duly Authorized Representative;
  • Environment Assessment Checklist completed and signed by the Duly Authorized Representative; and
  • For organizations in Quebec, M-30 Supporting documentation form completed and signed by the Duly Authorized Representative.

Any missing supporting document or any incoherence between the requested documents and the information provided within the documents may lead to the rejection of the proposal on that sole basis. Applications must be received before 17:00 EDT on May 13, 2011 and be post-mailed to the CSA at the address below:

FAST Announcement of Opportunity
c/o Nathalie Cassidy
Space Science and Technology
Canadian Space Agency
6767 Route de l'Aéroport
Saint-Hubert
, Quebec J3Y 8Y9

Note: Applications sent by e-mail will not be accepted.

It is the Applicant's responsibility to ensure that the application complies with all relevant federal, provincial/territorial and municipal laws.

5. Selection process

5.1 Initial screening process

The CSA will perform an initial screening of the proposals received to ensure that they conform to the criteria of eligibility (Section 2), funding constraint (Section 3) and application requirements (Section 4). In addition, this screening process will include an evaluation of the non-CSA confirmed funding. The percentage of confirmed funding shall exceed 75% of the total project cost, including CSA requested funding that will be considered as confirmed for that particular evaluation. Written confirmation from other funding sources (e.g. governmental or not, in-kind contribution, recipient's contribution, etc.) must be provided with the application.

5.2 Evaluation process

Only applications that have passed the initial screening process described in Section 5.1 will be considered further. Once the initial screening completed, evaluation committees will assess screened-in applications according to criteria described in Section 5.3. All of these criteria with weighting are further described in Appendix A. Evaluators will be experts in the field relevant to the applications and may include representatives of Canada or abroad, other government and non-government agencies and organizations.

Before a final decision is made, the CSA's manager responsible for this AO may ask for clarification or additional information from Applicants or seek input and advice from others, including, but not limited to federal, provincial/territorial and municipal government agencies, etc. Applications with missing information may be at a disadvantage, in comparison with those that are complete and cover all subject items described in Appendix A.

5.3 Evaluation criteria

The following criteria will be assessed. They are further described with weightings in Appendix A.

  1. Benefits to Canada
    • 1.1 Advancement of new knowledge and technology;
    • 1.2 Relevance of knowledge and professional skills acquired by Canadian HQP to future space missions and/or to the marketplace employment requirements.
  2. Results
    • 2.1 Number of HQP in relation to project budget;
    • 2.2 HQP involvement over all phases of the project, from the beginning to the end.
  3. Resources
    • 3.1 Quality and experience of the team;
    • 3.2 Interaction with colleagues from other disciplines and professions;
    • 3.3 Access to other funding sources and resources.
  4. Feasibility
    • 4.1 Clarity and completeness of the research and training plans;
    • 4.2 Quality of the training and mentoring environment.
  5. Risk and mitigation strategies
    • 5.1 Project risks (financial, managerial, environmental and technical) and mitigation strategies.

5.4 Notification and announcement

Applicants will be notified in writing regarding the decisions related to their application. Successful applications will be announced and posted on the CSA website.

6. Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

The following list compiles all the questions and answers received and forwarded by the CSA since the opening of this AO. This list is given for information purposes only; always refer to the AO to obtain the information on which all the proposals received will be evaluated by the CSA. Please note that all enquiries about this AO must be addressed to the contact person identified in the AO.

Question 1

Is there any potential role for behavioural science, or environmental psychology?

Answer 1

Yes, such studies are eligible projects as mentioned in Section 2.1.3 of the AO which refers to the CSEW6 Report within which Section 7 deals with Space Medicine.

Question 2

Is cash contribution from other parties required?

Answer 2

No, this is not required (see section 3.3 of the AO). However, one of the evaluation criteria deals with the confirmed funding and in-kind contribution from the applicants and other organizations (see Appendices A of the AO).

Question 3

Can individual researchers, such as principal investigators, apply?

Answer 3

No, only institutions are eligible not individuals. As per section 2.2 "Eligible Recipients" of the AO, eligible recipients include any Canadian university, post-secondary institution, and not-for-profit organization, established and operating in Canada, that has demonstrated its capacity to support and conduct research as well as train and grant degrees to higher education students.

Question 4

Is funding from organizations other than the CSA is a prerequisite for getting a grant?

Answer 4

No, funding from organizations other than the CSA is not a prerequisite. However, selection criteria 3.3 will evaluate all confirmed sources of funding including in-kind contributions from the applicant's institution and other organizations.

Question 5

What is the proposed starting date for the three-year period of funding?

Answer 5

The three year period starts from the date a grant agreement is signed by both parties. We intend to have all grant agreements in place in the first quarter of calendar year 2012. For proposal purposes, please assume project start dates of February 2012.

Question 6

What is the expected timeline of the review process?

Answer 6

CSA hope to be able to inform grantees six to eight months after the AO closing date. We intend to have all grant agreements in place in the first quarter of calendar year 2012.

Question 7

Is it required that all the proposed measurement activities be remote sensing?

Answer 7

No, it is not required that all the proposed measurement activities be remote sensing.

Question 8

Would it be possible to propose an aircraft payload that includes both in situ and remote sensing instruments?

Answer 8

Yes, this is eligible.

Question 9

Can I propose using the CSA Mars Simulation Terrain (MET) in Saint-Hubert (Quebec) in my FAST proposal?

Answer 9

CSA currently has no mechanism in place to allow CSA grantees to access CSA facilities to support projects funded under grants. If such access is desired, please mention it in your proposal, however, we recommend ensuring the project is feasible without such access. Once projects are selected, we will explore mechanisms to allow access to the desired facilities on a case-by-case basis.

Question 10

Who exactly needs to fill out the NSERC Form 100?

Answer 10

Only the PI and the Co-Is needs to fill out the NSERC Form 100, since the HQP will not necessarily be identified as specific people at the time of proposal.

Question 11

Are only Canadians citizens are eligible as HQP?

Answer 11

No. However, only HQP from Canadian eligible institutions are eligible.

Question 12

For the 25% non-CSA confirmed funding in section 3.2, would "in-kind" contributions from my organization be accepted?

Answer 12

Yes, in-kind contributions from your organization would count as "non-CSA confirmed source of funding". It will have to be confirmed by your organization.

Question 13

Do you have any policy on intellectual property (IP) created from the project?

Answer 13

Yes, the IP belongs to the grant recipient and not with the Government of Canada.

Question 14

What are the eligible costs for parabolic flights and is there a preferred provider and/or fee schedule negotiated with an Agency for us to use in our budget?

Answer 14

Each proposal must include the proposed supplier required for their flights. Since CSA has an existing agreement with the National Research Council Flight Research Laboratory (NRC FRL), access to NRC aircraft will be funded through an interdepartmental agreement and the funds required for access to the NRC flights do not need to be included in the proposed budget for the grant. For CSA planning purposes, please include the estimated required flight hours. If the proposer requires access to a commercial supplier for aircraft, those required funds must be included within the proposed budget, since the grant recipient will make their own arrangements with the commercial suppliers.

Question 15

Does this AO apply to earth observation projects as well as parabolic flights? Could the entire NRC aircraft fleet be available for FAST projects?

Answer 15

Yes. Each proposal must include the proposed supplier required for their flights. Since CSA has an existing agreement with the NRC FRL, access to NRC aircraft will be funded through an interdepartmental agreement and the funds required for access to the NRC flights do not need to be included in the proposed budget for the grant. For CSA planning purposes, please include the estimated required flight hours. If the proposer requires access to a commercial supplier for aircraft, those required funds must be included within the proposed budget, since the grant recipient will make their own arrangements with the commercial suppliers.

Question 16

What is meant by: "...breaking down a project into numerous phases to obtain more than the maximum grant is not allowed for what is considered to be one project." How does CSA define what is considered to be one project? For example, the maximum funding available under this AO is, unfortunately, not enough to fund a complete nanosatellite mission. However, we may wish to submit a proposal for a few phases of development that would result in great training, although not necessarily result in a satellite in orbit. The "project" would then be a couple of phases of satellite development.

Answer 16

It is up to the proposer to define the project and to verify that it meets the eligibility requirements and objectives as described in the AO. What should be avoided is artificially creating several projects out of one project and one objective in order to attempt to access several grants. The CSA grant need not cover 100% of the costs of a project, but where the project requires more than 25% of the project costs, those funds will need to be confirmed before signing a grant agreement (section 3.2 of AO).

Question 17

In order to get the mission to flight, we would have to seek additional funding - this could be from other sources or from CSA in the future. Is this not allowed? In other words, is the rule such that once a project is funded in whole or in part under this particular AO that no further funding from CSA is permitted?

Answer 17

It is up to the institution to define its proposed project according to the FAST eligibility criteria, objectives and the selection criteria. Grants to be awarded under this AO will have to be used for activities proposed in the grantees' applications. There are no current constraints regarding other sources of funding whether they come from the CSA or elsewhere. The only constraint is the stacking limit mentioned in all Government of Canada grant & contribution agreements. If the project requires more than 25% non-grant funding to meet its objectives, these non-grant funds will have to be confirmed before moving ahead with the project.

Question 18

Are commercially-available sub-orbital flights like those on Virgin Galactic and Zero-G eligible?

Answer 18

Yes, the use of commercial suborbital platforms is considered as an eligible expense.

Question 19

Can bed rest studies be used as part of the research program?

Answer 19

Bed-rest studies could be eligible. It is the responsibility of the applicant to clearly describe how the proposed project responds to the evaluation criteria.

Question 20

Is there a limit of pages for the proposal?

Answer 20

Yes, as indicated in Section 4 of the application form: "...the maximum number of pages allowed is 30." Page format is also mentioned in this Section.

Question 21

Can other related grants, such as NSERC Discovery or Canada Research Chair grants be considered "Non-CSA Confirmed Funding" if they have related objectives and will benefit the proposed project?

Answer 21

Whether or not these grants have objectives related to your proposed FAST project, they will be considered as non-CSA confirmed funding if they are confirmed. As mentioned in Section 5.1 of the AO, to be considered as "confirmed", written confirmation of funds to be or already received from other sources of funding (governmental or not, in-kind contribution, recipient contribution) must be provided with the application.

Question 22

We will propose the use of a field site for a robotic deployment. Is there any requirement that we visit this field site in each year or would we be eligible by visiting the field site only in the final year (and local sites in the early years)?

Answer 22

There are no specific requirements regarding field sites to be visited or suborbital platforms to be used. It is up to the applicant to propose a project that fits with the objectives of the AO and the selection criteria.

Question 23

When assessing whether contributions from other organizations exceed 25% of total project cost (i.e., to obtain a rating of Excellent on criterion 3.3), does this mean cash only or cash plus in-kind contributions?

Answer 23

It includes both cash and in-kind contributions.

Question 24

I am preparing a proposal as a Principal Investigator (PI) in response to this FAST AO and was wondering if I can participate in another FAST AO proposal as a co-investigator?

Answer 24

Yes, One eligible institution can present several proposals while a Professor could only be a PI for one project. Nevertheless, such Professor can be a collaborator on other projects (e.g. Co-I). On the other hand, reviewers will have to carefully evaluate projects that have links between them to identify possible "project splitting" which is not allowed.

Question 25

Is it correct that once a project is funded in whole or in part under this particular FAST AO that no further funding from CSA is permitted?

Answer 25

No.

Question 26

Does this program work similar to the NSERC grant programs?

Answer 26

CSA has its own authority to enter into grant agreements under the CSA Act and a specific authority granted by the Treasury Board of Canada in 2009, under CSA-specific Terms and Conditions. The grant agreement to be signed between CSA and the grant recipient is specific to CSA grants. As much as possible, however, Canadian government organizations try to harmonize approaches.

Question 27

Are foreign co-investigator's expenses eligible?

Answer 27

Yes if their contribution is essential to the success of the project. Such contribution must be well detailed and justified. Expenses could only be those described in Appendix B "Eligible Costs Definitions".

Question 28

Are foreign suborbital launch infrastructure expenses eligible?

Answer 28

Yes.

7. Appendix

Appendix A - Evaluation grid form

Scoring and weights: Each evaluation criterion below will be rated on a letter scale from A to D, with A being the highest score. A numerical weight is associated with each letter as indicated hereafter.

1. Benefits to Canada

Benefits to Canada criterion score

Max. 20
Min. 8

1.1 Advancement of new knowledge and technology

This criterion evaluates the originality of the research and its likely impact and potential to advance our knowledge of the field of space science and technology, directly or indirectly.

  • Does the proposed research have the potential to lead to long-term, groundbreaking advances in the field of space science and technology and in other fields of study?
  • Does the project contribute to the development of new ideas that may be integrated into a future space mission?
  • Have some or all of the objectives already been addressed by a previous, related project? If so, how novel are the current stated objectives of the proposed project and to what degree will they build on previous work and impact our knowledge of space science and technology?

Poor. The research is not expected to have significant short- or long-term impact, and/or is a reapplication of previous work. The project lacks novel concepts and will not contribute to advancement of new knowledge. (Score: D=0)

Average. The research could advance knowledge in the field of space science and technology. The work is largely derivative of previous work. (Score: C=4)

Good. The probable results will advance knowledge in the field of space science and technology. The new ideas in science and technology to be developed are likely to be integrated into a space mission. The proposed research involves novel or original concepts or methods, and/or builds on previous work. (Score: B=7)

Excellent. The probable results will advance knowledge in the field of space science and technology and have a broad, long-term impact beyond the immediate field of study. The new ideas in science and technology to be developed have a strong chance to be integrated into a space mission. The proposed research is distinguished by highly novel or original scientific or technical concepts or methods, and/or builds significantly on previous work. (Score: A=10)

1.2 The relevance of knowledge and professional skills acquired by Canadian HQP to future space missions and/or to the marketplace employment requirements

This criterion evaluates how the knowledge and professional skills to be acquired by all HQP involved in the project would contribute to a potential space mission.

  • Will the proposed training activities generate appropriate knowledge and professional skills that a space mission would require.
  • What type of space missions will benefit from the knowledge and professional skills to be acquired?
  • Will the professional and technical skills acquired by HQP increase their mobility from the university to the marketplace?

Poor. The scientific\technical\operational knowledge and professional skills to be acquired over the course of the project by HQP are not related or are irrelevant to any potential space missions. It is also not clear how the professional skills and technical skills acquired by HQP will increase their mobility from the university to the marketplace. (Score: D=0)

Average. Scientific and/or technical and/or operational knowledge and professional skills to be acquired are somewhat defined and are related to a potential space mission. It is not clear also which knowledge and skills would be acquired by whom and for which purposes. Relevancy of knowledge and professional skills to be acquired to future space missions are weakly justified. The professional skills and technical skills acquired by HQP may increase their mobility from the university to the marketplace. (Score: C=4)

Good. There is a clear and well defined description on how the scientific and/or technical and/or operational knowledge and professional skills to be acquired by HQP will be used in future space mission. The expertise to be developed is clearly relevant to future space missions. The professional skills and technical skills acquired by HQP will increase their mobility from the university to the marketplace. (Score: B=7)

Excellent. Scientific and/or technical and/or operational knowledge and professional skills to be acquired by each HQP involved in the project is clearly defined and related to potential space mission. The proposal demonstrates a detailed understanding of knowledge and skills required for a potential space mission and establish a clear link with the knowledge and professional skills to be acquired over the course of the project. For a project involving industry, industrial collaborators confirmed in the proposal that the professional skills and technical skills acquired by HQP will greatly increase their mobility from the university to the marketplace. (Score: A=10)

2. Results (in terms of contribution to the training of HQP)

Results criterion score

Max. 30
Min. 12

2.1 Number of HQP in relation to project budget

This criterion evaluates the number of HQP to be involved in the project in relation to the proposed budget.

  • Does the proposal include HQP contributing directly to the project? If so, how many?
  • Are there enough HQP for the size and complexity of the project?

Poor. No HQP are included in the proposal or the budget required is high for the number of HQP involved. (Score: D=0)

Average. The proposed project involves at least two HQP and the budget required is adequate for the number of HQP involved. (Score: C=4)

Good. The proposed project involves at least two HQP and the budget required is low for the number of HQP involved. (Score: B=7)

Excellent. The project involves more than three HQP, out of which one or more are PDF and/or research associates and the budget required is low for the number of HQP involved. (Score: A=10)

2.2 HQP involvement over all phases of the project, from the beginning to the end

This criterion evaluates the level of involvement of each HQP over all phases of the project defined in section 2.1.

  • Is each HQP involved in all phases of the project or only a subset?
  • What is the HQP's contribution to each of the phases of the project?
  • How important is each HQP contribution to the success of the project?

Poor. The level of involvement of HQP is not adequately described. It is not clear how each HQP will contribute to the project. HQP are mainly involved over only a single phase of the project. (Score: D=0)

Average. Some HQP will be involved in only specific phases of the project but there is a lack of details on their level and type of involvement. (Score: C=8)

Good. There is a good description on how each HQP will benefit from his/her participation in the project. Each HQP participates in most mission phases of the project. The HQP's involvement is important for the success of the project. (Score: B=14)

Excellent. There is a detailed description on how each HQP will benefit from his/her participation in the project. There is strong involvement of each HQP over all phases of the project and such involvement is essential for the success of the project. (Score: A=20)

3. Resources

Resources criterion score

Max. 25
Min. 10

3.1 Quality and experience of the team

This criterion evaluates the mix of expertise and the quality of the project team to perform the research project and deliver the proposed training activities. It evaluates the qualifications and past performance of the PI and the team members and particularly their track record in training HQP.

  • Has the team demonstrated experience in the field of study and the proposed training activities?
  • Does the team possess the mix of expertise required to undertake the proposed project and training activities?
  • Have the team members demonstrated the ability to manage and complete similar projects?
  • Do the roles and responsibilities of each member fit with their expertise and experience?
  • Do the HQP's supervisors and/or mentors have a good training track record?
  • How many HQP have they trained in the past and how many have graduated within a specific period of time?

Poor. The project team has limited or no experience and expertise in the field of study and/or in training HQP. (Score: D=2)

Average. The project team has some experience in the field of study and/or little experience and expertise in training HQP. The PI and Co-I have some experience in the management and completion of similar projects. All team members may not have the appropriate expertise for the roles and responsibilities they would have in the course of the project. (Score: C=4)

Good. Members of the team have demonstrated experience in the field of study and in training HQP. There is a good mix of expertise to undertake the proposed project and training activities. The team members have demonstrated the ability to manage and complete similar projects. Roles and responsibilities of each member fit with their expertise and experience. HQP's supervisors and/or mentors have a good track record in training HQP. (Score: B=7)

Excellent. Members of the team all have extensive experience in the field of study and in training HQP. The mix of expertise needed to undertake the proposed project and training activities is excellent. The team members have demonstrated the ability to manage and complete more than two similar projects. Roles and responsibilities of each member fit with their expertise and experience. HQP' supervisors and/or mentors have demonstrated a strong track record in training HQP and most of these have obtained their degrees within at least the last five years. (Score: A=10)

3.2 Interaction with colleagues from other disciplines and professions

This criterion evaluates how well the project promotes collaborative team research and interaction of the HQP with researchers from different disciplines and professions from academia, industry and governments.

Poor. All HQP involved in the project are within the same level of academic program (ex. Master, PhD, PDF) and/or have unclear or limited interactions with other researchers than with their supervisor. (Score: D=0)

Average. Some HQP involved in the project collaborate and interact with researchers from different disciplines and professions from academia, industry or governments. HQP are from the same level of academic program (Master, PhD or Postdoctoral Fellow). (Score: C=2)

Good. Most of the HQP involved in the project collaborate and interact with researchers from different disciplines and professions from academia, industry and governments. HQP are from different levels of academic programs and disciplines. (Score: B=4)

Excellent. All HQP involved in the project collaborate and interact with researchers from different disciplines and professions from academia, industry and governments in Canada and/or abroad. There are researchers from other countries involved in the project. HQP are from different academic disciplines. (Score: A=5)

3.3 Access to other funding sources and resources

By definition, a space mission requires interdisciplinary activities performed from different organizations. This criterion evaluates the confirmed funding and in-kind contribution from the applicants and other organizations. Funding from other organizations than the CSA must be confirmed if it exceeds 25% of the total project budget. The application must include letters from funding sources confirming their level of funding.

  • Does the project include financial and/or in-kind contribution? If so, by whom? At which level?
  • Does the applicant provide in-kind contribution such as access to laboratories, field sites, or instruments? If so, what is the value of such contribution?
  • Is this contribution vital for the project?
  • What is the justification for such contribution?
  • Do other organizations confirm their funding or in-kind contribution?

Poor. There are no leveraged funds or in-kind contributions from the applicants or other organizations. (Score: D=0)

Average. Funds may come from an organization other than the CSA but have yet to be confirmed. There are in-kind contribution(s) to be provided by the applicant and/or other organizations but such contribution(s) are neither significant nor important for the success of the project. (Score: C=4)

Good. The project benefits from leveraged funds. The applicant as well as other organizations will provide funds as well as in-kind contribution(s). Such contribution(s) are important but not necessarily critical for the success of the project. Funds to be provided by other organizations have been confirmed or represent less than 25% of the total project budget. (Score: B=7)

Excellent. Leveraged funds from other organization(s) are significant. Confirmed funds as well as in-kind contribution(s) are essential for the success of the project. Funds from organization(s) other than the CSA represent more than 25% of the total project budget and are all confirmed. (Score: A=10)

4. Feasibility of the project

Feasibility of the project criterion score

Max. 20
Min. 8

4.1 Clarity and completeness of the research and training plans

This criterion evaluates the clarity, completeness and feasibility of the research and training plans including a clear identification of the roles and responsibilities, contribution and level of involvement of each of the team members. It also evaluates the likelihood that the work will be completed on schedule and within budget.

  • Is the project methodology clearly described and understandable?
  • Does the methodology seem realistic, efficient and well-suited to the project objectives? Given the proposed workplan, which should include a methodology, budget, equipment, and timelines of the project, will the objectives likely be achieved?
  • Is the training plan appropriate to prepare HQP to become well-rounded, high-quality HQP capable of productive careers in different space sectors with the industry, government, academia and non-profit organizations?
  • Could HQP be trained and gain the same type of knowledge at lower costs?

Poor. The workplan is poorly defined and/or there is a high likelihood that the objectives will not be met due to inappropriate methods, and/or inadequate or unavailable resources, and/or the proposed budget or schedule is incomplete and/or highly under- or over-estimated. (Score: D=0)

Average. The workplan is somewhat defined but details are lacking. The work could be completed on schedule and within budget, but some doubts remain concerning the suitability of methods and availability of resources. A budget is provided along with a basic justification for projected expenses, and appears reasonable. (Score: C=4)

Good. The workplan is well defined. The methodology and resources required are well described and well suited for the work to be carried out. A budget is provided along with a good justification for projected expenses. The likelihood that the defined work will be completed on schedule and within budget is good. (Score: B=7)

Excellent. The workplan is well defined. The methodology and resources required are well described and well suited for the work to be carried out. A well thought out management plan is in evidence (e.g., detailed work breakdown and related expenses, scheduled milestones, time allocations for team members, discussion of possible technical/management risks, etc.). The proposal identifies adequate resources allocated to the project that are validated through a detailed budget justification. The likelihood that the work will be completed within schedule and budget is excellent. (Score: A=10)

4.2 Quality of training and mentoring environment

This criterion evaluates the quality of the training and mentoring environment as described in the training plan. It evaluates the quality of involvement of supervisors and mentors in training and mentoring HQP.

  • How the supervisors, trainers or mentors will assist HQP with improving their technical, scientific, communication, social and employment skills as well as their self-confidence?
  • How is the transfer of knowledge and skills from trainers to HQP structured?
  • Is there a feedback mechanism by which HQP can share their thoughts or validate their results?
  • Will HQP be prepared to present their findings in conferences, workshops or meetings? If so, how, where and when?

Poor. The proposal provides very little information on supervisors/mentors contribution and their level of involvement in proposed HQP's activities. There are no clear mechanisms to be used for the HQP to participate in the project decision making process, to share their results and thoughts and get appropriate feedback from mentors or supervisors. Nothing or very little is said about the opportunity for HQP to present their findings in public events such as conferences or workshops. (Score: D=0)

Average. Some mechanisms for communication, learning and sharing information amongst PI, Co-I, mentors, team members and HQP are described. Few details are provided describing how HQP will participate in the decision making process of the project. There is a feedback mechanism but it is not well described and/or not scheduled in the training plan. There are vague details on how and when HQP may participate in conference, workshop and meetings to present their findings. (Score: C=4)

Good. HQP, supervisors and mentors' roles and responsibilities are appropriate and their level of involvement in HQP training activities is good. The training and mentoring environment will clearly contribute to generate the expected benefits. Mechanisms for communication, learning and sharing information amongst PI, Co-I, mentors, team members and HQP are well described and are appropriate considering the training goals. Details are provided on how HQP will participate in the decision making process of the project. Feedback mechanisms are formal and scheduled in the training plan. HQP will participate in specific conferences, workshops, official meetings to disseminate and present their findings. (Score: B=7)

Excellent. HQP, supervisors, and mentors' roles and responsibilities are appropriate and their level of involvement in proposed training activities is outstanding. The training and mentoring environment will clearly contribute to generate the expected benefits. There are proven ongoing communication, learning and sharing information mechanisms amongst PI, Co-I, mentors, team members and HQP. It is clear how supervisors or mentors will assist HQP with improving their technical, scientific, communication, social and employment skills as well as their self-confidence. Details are provided on how HQP will participate in the decision making process of the project. Feedback mechanisms are formal and scheduled in the training plan. HQP will participate in relevant conferences, workshops, or official meetings to disseminate and present their findings. (Score: A=10)

5. Risk and mitigation strategies

Risk and mitigation strategies criterion score

Max. 5
Min. 2

5.1 Project risks (financial, managerial, environmental and technical) and mitigation strategies

This criterion evaluates key risks associated with the project and the mitigation strategies for each risk. It includes a thorough analysis of the project's financial, technical, managerial and environmental risks.

  • Has the applicant identified and described in details the risks including but not limited to environmental, technical, managerial (including access to resources including financial, human and material), and schedule risks associated with the project?
  • Are the mitigation strategies for each risk correctly addressed and realistic?
  • What is the probability that such risks would occur?

Poor. The proposal does not identify any key risks nor mitigation strategies or some risks are identified but related mitigations strategies are missing. (Score: D=0)

Average. Some, but not all, key risks and their mitigation strategies are defined. (Score: C=2)

Good. Key financial, technical, managerial and environmental risks and their mitigation strategies are described and relevant, but there are few details on the risk evaluation occurrence probability presented. (Score: B=4)

Excellent. Key financial, technical, managerial and environmental risks and their mitigation strategies are described, complete and relevant. The risk evaluation occurrence probability is deemed realistic. (Score: A=5)

Evaluation score

Total Max. 100
Total Min. 65

Appendix B - Definitions

B.1 PDF Definition

A postdoctoral fellow is a person who meets all of the following criteria:

  • He or she was recently (within five years) awarded a PhD or the equivalent (such as a post-health professional degree (e.g. medicine);
  • The fellowship involves substantial full-time research or scholarship;
  • The fellowship is for a limited duration;
  • The fellowship is viewed as preparatory for a full-time academic and/or research career and not as a source of continuing employment; and
  • The fellow works under the supervision of the PI or a mentor from a Canadian university.

B.2 Research associate definition

A research associate is a researcher who:

  • Has completed formal training in research in a discipline relevant to space research, usually a Masters or PhD;
  • Is employed by an academic institution;
  • Works under the supervision of a PI,
  • Is not an independent researcher;
  • Will contribute to the intellectual content of the research; and
  • May contribute to, but is not ultimately responsible for, the supervision of HQP, at the discretion of the PI.

B.3 Eligible costs definitions

Note that until a written funding agreement is signed by both parties, no commitment or legal obligation exists on the part of the CSA to provide funding in the form of a grant to any successful application.

Accommodation: For these types of expenses, reasonable costs will be reimbursed.

Acquisition or rental of equipment: Consists of equipment, including software rented, acquired or constructed exclusively for the project. In order to be eligible, such equipment must be identified in the project cost estimates, and approved by the CSA. All such equipment shall be charged to the project at the net price, including all costs incurred to get the equipment operational after deducting all trade discounts, rebates and similar charges. It includes also disposal costs. The PST, HST and GST should be excluded.

Consultant services: The nature of services to be acquired shall be set out in the proposal estimates. The amount eligible for a consultant shall be the actual contract amount. The CSA reserves the right to approve only a portion of the consultant fees submitted.

Data management: Can include, but is not limited to, data archiving.

Licenses and permits fees: Can include, but is not limited to, software licenses.

Marketing and printing services: This includes the development of a marketing plan, the hiring of marketing expertise to implement the plan and related marketing activities such as, but not limited to, labeling, packaging, promotional materials, advertising, product demonstrations and participation in trade shows.

Meal allowances: Unless stated otherwise in the funding agreement between the CSA and the recipient, Treasury Board rates shall be used in reimbursing expenses such as meeting with the CSA officials and any other project activities (e.g. project planning and review meetings between the recipient and its partners).

Overhead (administrative) costs (not to exceed 20% of eligible costs for universities and 15% for other eligible recipients: This represents expenses of doing business that are not readily identified with a particular project or activity, but are necessary for the general operation of the organization and the conduct of activities it performs.

Publications and communication services: Includes publication fees, report preparations, web development and animations.

Salaries and benefits:

a) Salaries include wages for all personnel with direct involvement in the project such as, but not limited to, engineers, scientists, technologists, researchers, project managers, HQP and administrative assistants. All eligible personnel must be employees on the recipient's payroll. Payment in terms of shares, stock, stock options and the like are not eligible. The amount invoiced shall be actual gross pay for the work performed and shall include no markup for profit, selling, administration or financing.

The eligible payroll cost is the gross pay of the employee (normal periodic remuneration before deductions). Normal periodic remuneration rates are the regular pay rates for the period excluding premiums paid for overtime or shift work. The payroll rate does not include any reimbursement or benefit conferred in lieu of salaries or wages. When hourly rates are being charged for salaried personnel, the hourly rates shall be the periodic remuneration (annual, monthly, weekly, etc.) divided by the total paid hours in the period including holidays, vacation and paid sickness time.

Labour claims must be supported by suitable records such as time sheets and records, and be held for verification at time of audit. Management personnel are required to maintain appropriate records of time devoted to the project.

b) Benefits are defined as a reasonable prorated share of expenses associated with the direct labour cost such as the employer's portion of Canada Pension Plan, Quebec Pension Plan and Employment Insurance, employee benefits such as health plan and insurance, Worker's Compensation, sick leave and vacation plus any other employer paid payroll related expenses. Those items which have no relationship to the project or which have been charged on an indirect basis are not eligible. The determination of the fringe benefits amount shall be in accordance with generally accepted cost accounting principles. In general, fringe benefits rate provided in the project estimate shall be computed once during the life of the project and agreed on prior to the signing of the agreement. If retroactive adjustments are made, these must be indicated on claims for progress payments for the CSA's approval.

Training: Training expenses shall be in direct relation to the project. They include the development of a training plan, the hiring of training expertise to implement the plan and related activities (such as training materials, seminar fees, and wages during the time that employees received off-the-job training).

Travel: Travel expenses shall be in direct relation to the project. Unless stated otherwise in the funding agreement between the CSA and the recipient, Treasury Board rates shall be used in reimbursing expenses.

Footnotes

Footnote 1

See definition in Appendix B.1.

Return to footnote 1 referrer

Footnote 2

See definition in Appendix B.2.

Return to footnote 2 referrer