To advise the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) on its scientific programs. This includes advice on discipline priorities, areas of research focus, timing of solicitations to the respective scientific communities, mechanisms for project review and selection, division of available funding, and opportunities relating to national and international programs and vehicles and/or platforms suitable to conduct research activities.
To assist the CSA in the development of the canadian community in the specific science field. This includes advising the CSA on pertinent emerging science research trends, assisting the CSA to inform the relevant community of programs, events and opportunities in the science discipline area, assisting in developing strategies relating to the recruitment and training of young scientists, and promoting and providing feedback on the CSA Grants and Contributions program.
To provide feedback to the CSA. This includes advising the CSA on the science community reaction to its initiatives and programs, evaluating the efficacy of the program and suggesting improvements to the science program.
To assist in the promotion of public awareness of the nature and benefits of space science research.
There are five science advisory committees currently supporting the CSA Space Science Branch. These are:
Space and Atmospheric Environments Advisory Committee (SAEAC) [N.B. this committee includes two sub-committees, one for each of the discipline areas - atmospheric sciences and solar-terrestrial sciences.]
Joint Committee on Space Astronomy (JCSA) [N.B. this committee is joint with the Canadian Astronomical Society (CASCA).]
Space Exploration Advisory Committee (SEAC)
Life Sciences Advisory Committee (LSAC)
Physical Sciences Advisory Committee (PSAC)
The purpose of the CSA Science Advisory Committees is to provide independent advice to the Canadian Space Agency on scientific matters within the realm of the various specific science discipline areas and their specific programs. In particular, the committees provide advice on areas of focus of the specific program, solicitations to the respective scientific communities, mission and program priorities, and funding commitments. As representatives of the Canadian scientific communities, the committees express the response of the communities at large to programs and initiatives of the CSA as well as advice on the latest trends in science that could be relevant to the specific program areas. The committees also provide feedback on how well the specific program is fulfilling its mandate and offer suggestions and advice to improve the program. To this end, each committee will provide a brief written annual report to the Director General, Space Science Branch at the end of each calendar year highlighting these evaluation aspects of the program in the specific discipline area.
It should be noted that some Science Advisory Committees might agree to take on additional responsibilities for reporting to other bodies on Canadian activities within a specific space science field or area1.
Each committee provides advice and recommendations through the Chair directly to the CSA Director responsible for the discipline area and its program. The CSA Program Scientist in the science discipline area of each advisory committee is offered by the CSA to be the point of contact for routine communications between the committee and the CSA and will normally act as the Executive Secretary for the committee , although other arrangements could be made on the recommendation of the committee. The Committee will normally be comprised of six voluntary members from the community , including a Chair, and excluding a non-voting Executive Secretary. Only full members may vote. On advice from the Chair, a representative from the appropriate federal science research funding council(s)/institute(s) (NSERC/CIHR/SSHRC) will be invited to attend meetings as a permanent invitee to the committee.
Members of the committee will be selected on the basis of their expertise, experience, and interest in relation to the mandate of each committee. Subject to the foregoing, the membership should reflect as wide a distribution across Canada and represent as many of the sub-disciplines within the specific discipline area as is feasible. Members will serve for a three-year term, nominally starting on 1 January, although individual committees may adjust this date depending on circumstances. Membership can be renewed, however, renewal for more than two consecutive terms will be actively discouraged. An appropriate number of members will be selected, renewed or rotated annually to maintain the appropriate composition of the committee while minimizing loss of experience and continuity. Each committee recommends new members after broad consultation with the respective community. The CSA Director responsible for the program formally appoints the recommended new members .
The committee appoints a new Chair from amongst the members during the final meeting of the outgoing Chair4. If no decision can be reached through this process, the responsible CSA Director will poll the members in order to suggest a suitable candidate for approval by the committee. The Chair also represents the interests of the scientific community on the CSA Senior Science Advisory Committee as a full member of this latter committee.
The Chair of the committee may request the responsible CSA Director to terminate the membership of a committee member and/or appoint a new member out of rotation for reasons of resignation, failure to attend meetings or actively participate in the committee, or other justifiable reasons.
The Chair of the committee may request the responsible CSA Director to appoint ex officio members of the committee, either voting or non-voting. Senior representatives of major stakeholder programs (e.g., senior representatives of other federal government departments that support the scientific activities of the discipline area of the committee) could be examples of ex officio members . Furthermore, members of the community who bring specific strengths to the committee; e.g., specific expertise not otherwise available to the committee, chairs of Discipline Working Groups/Topical Teams, etc.; may be invited to become either non-voting or full-voting ex officio members of the committee by the responsible CSA Director on recommendation of the Chair. The responsible CSA Director reserves the right to limit the number of ex officio members by reasons of budget.
There are two primary purposes for including observers at meetings; namely, to facilitate information exchange with an office or body having collateral interests, and/or to make particular expertise or experience available to the committee. A formal invitation to participate as an observer will be extended by the Executive Secretary of the committee after consultation with the Chair. Observers may participate in committee discussions, but may not vote. They will receive copies of minutes of meetings and other communications, as appropriate. All CSA employees will be considered observers (except the Executive Secretary if provided by the CSA).
The Chair, working with the Executive Secretary, will convene and set the agenda of all meetings. At least one full face-to-face meeting will be held each year. Video/teleconference meetings between scheduled face-to-face meetings will be encouraged. Meetings of the committee can be open, closed (full members, or, full and ex officio members only) or, partially open and partially closed, depending on the decision of the Chair. The Chair may call for a closed portion of a meeting at any time. It is expected that a portion of every meeting during which final recommendations are developed will be closed.
Every effort will be made to engage the applicable scientific community in the workings and deliberations of the committee. To this end, agendas of regular meetings of the committee will be posted on the CSA web site at least one month prior to a meeting, inviting members of the community to suggest items to be added to the agenda. Members of the applicable scientific community will be informed of meetings through the CSA web site and any other means as deemed appropriate, and may attend the open portion of committee meetings as non-invited observers (at their own expense). For logistical and security (when meetings are held at the CSA HQ) reasons, CSA must be notified in advance of the attendance by non-invited observers.
Concise minutes of meetings will be prepared by the Executive Secretary and will be circulated appropriately after approval by the Chair. Minutes will be made available no later than one month after each meeting.
The activities of each Science Advisory Committee will be funded by the CSA through an annual budget that will be agreed upon between the committee and the responsible CSA Director prior to each fiscal year (1 April). Every effort will be made to ensure that the budget is sufficient for regular activities of the committee, including all travel and living expenses for the members, full and ex officio, and invited observers who need support to attend meetings, the rental of meeting rooms, limited refreshments during meetings, etc. The responsible CSA Director retains the right to limit the budget to that which has historically been required to support the activities of the Committee.
A CSA extranet web site with password protection will be set up for each committee and managed by the Executive Secretary. All full members of the committee will have access to the site. All reports and documents to be discussed by the committee will be deposited on the extranet site. Minutes of meetings will be circulated to the responsible CSA Director, the Director General of the Space Science Branch, and all committee members (full and ex officio) and designated observers, and added to the CSA extranet site dedicated to the committee. Committee reports (other than the annual report), recommendations, etc. will be directed to the responsible CSA Director and committee members. A brief summary of each meeting, including actions and recommendations resulting from the meeting, will be posted on the CSA web site for information purposes within two months of the conclusion of the meeting.
No one, other than the Chair, will represent or speak on behalf of the committee unless requested to do so by the Chair.
In addition to minutes of meetings, the Executive Secretary will generate and maintain permanent records documenting the activities of the committee, including records of the membership, which will be added to the extranet site.
1 As an example, SAEAC will provide regular reports in relation to Canada's adherence to SCOSTEP, the Scientific Committee on Solar-Terrestrial Physics.
2 SAEAC has two Program Scientists supporting the committee.
3 It is recommended that the number of full members for each committee be six, however, some committees, by virtue of the breadth of science interests or composition (e.g., SEAC, SAEAC), may have a larger number of members.
4 The members and Chair of the JCSA are appointed in consultation with the Canadian Astronomical Society.
5 Note that this does not exclude scientists from other government departments being full voting members of the committee.