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R&D for Multi Satellite Data Integration - Earth Observation applications and utilization

Announcement of Opportunity

Publication date: November 20, 2013

Application deadline: December 18, 2013

Table of contents

  1. Introduction
  2. AO Objectives
  3. Eligibility
  4. Applications
  5. Selection Process
  6. Funding
  7. Funding Agreements
  8. Privacy Notice Statement
  9. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

1. Introduction

Current plans supplied by the Committee on Earth Observation Satellites (CEOS) agencies estimate that around 100 new satellite missions will be launched for operation between 2012 and 2017 (The Earth Observation Handbook: 2012 Special Edition for Rio +20, European Space Agency (ESA)). These new satellites will ensure continuity, provide improved resolutions and accuracies, and introduce new capabilities.

To ensure that Canadian industry remains at the forefront of emerging space technologies and is enabled to develop applications that capitalize on these new sensors and their capabilities, the Earth Observation Applications Development Program (EOADP) issues Announcements of Opportunity (AOs) for funding through the Canadian Space Agency's Class Grant and Contribution (G&C) Program to Support Research, Awareness and Learning in Space Science and Technology.

Please read the following AO thoroughly before submitting your application. It has been prepared to assist applicants through the application process and outlines important elements including mandatory criteria for eligibility, details on eligible projects and the selection process. In the event of any discrepancies between this AO and the individual funding agreements governing a project(s), the latter document(s) will take precedence.

2. AO Objectives

This AO aims to support Research and development (R&D) on multi-data integration. This is defined as the combination of RADARSAT imagery with other types of satellite imagery, plus any other complementary forms of data such as in-situ measurements, models or surface truth information. This comprehensive data acquisition pools capacity and maximizes interoperable and synergistic use of available satellite systems.

3. Eligibility

3.1 Eligible Recipients

Contributions under this AO are aimed at for-profit organizations established and operating in Canada.

3.2 Eligible R&D Projects

This AO is soliciting R&D projects for multi satellite data integration that includes RADARSAT data. The Canadian Space Agency (CSA) will assess applicants' response to the following requirement:

Describe the objectives and anticipated results of the project, including a description of the technological challenges that will have to be overcome for the project to succeed. How does this go beyond routine development activities?

A project may consist of several activities to attain its objectives or results. Any logical breakdown or combination of these activities can constitute a funded project. However, breaking down a project into numerous activities or sub-activities to obtain more than the maximum contribution funding 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 activity does not automatically guarantee funding of the remaining activities of the project.

The following are examples of R&D projects:

3.3 Link to CSA priorities

This AO will support the Earth Observation Data and Imagery Utilization program activity. The key result expected from projects selected for funding is:

This result encompasses both capacity building of industry and an increased use of EO-based solutions by the end-user community.

3.4 Link to G&C Program Objectives

The Research component of the G&C Program provides financial support for the development of science and technology relevant to the priorities of the CSA. This program supports targeted knowledge development and innovation to sustain and enhance the Canadian capacity to use space to address national needs and priorities in the future.

The overarching priority of the CSA is the utilisation of RADARSAT data.

4. Applications

4.1 Required documentation

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

Applications must be post-mailed to the CSA at the following address:

c/o Yann Denis
Earth Observation Applications and Utilization
Canadian Space Agency
6767 Route de l'Aéroport
Longueuil, Quebec J3Y 8Y9

Proposals must be received at the CSA no later than 5:00 p.m. (EST), Wednesday December 18, 2013.

4.2 Proposal Format and Content

The proposal should be written in a concise and clear manner, preferably using 12 point letter size (except for tables and figures) in a Times New Roman font (maximum of 20 pages, excluding appendices). The proposal must include the following sections:

Project Description, including:

4.3 Contact Information

To obtain general information on the Program, please contact:

Grant & Contribution Centre of Expertise
Canadian Space Agency
6767 Route de l'Aéroport
Longueuil, Quebec J3Y 8Y9
E-mail: lecedessetc-thegandccoe@asc-csa.gc.ca

Questions and answers related to this AO will be posted on the CSA Web site in the Frequently Asked Questions of this AO (see Section 9). The CSA will answer questions received before 5:00 p.m. (EST), Wednesday, December 4, 2013.

4.4 Service Standards – Applications

Applicants will be notified in writing of decisions regarding their application. Projects that have been selected will be announced on CSA website under the section of this AO.

CSA has set service standards related to delays in processing requests, the acknowledgement of receipt, funding decision and payment processes.

Acknowledgement: CSA goal is to acknowledge receipt of proposals within two (2) weeks of receiving a completed application package.

Decision: CSA goal is to respond to the proposal within twelve (12) weeks of receiving a completed application package or closing date of the AO and, to send for signature a contribution agreement within eight (8) weeks after formal approval of the proposal.

Payment: CSA goal is to issue payments within four (4) weeks of the successful fulfillment of requirements outlined in the contribution agreement.

Compliance with these service standards is a shared responsibility. The applicant must submit all required documentation in a timely fashion. Service standards may vary by AO.

5. Selection Process

Only applications that include all of the documents itemized in Section 4.1 will be evaluated.
Proposals will be evaluated against point-rated criteria and those with the highest scores will receive funding.

The determination of the amount of support will take into consideration CSA availability of funds, the total cost of the project as well as the other confirmed sources of funds invested by other stakeholders and the applicant. It is estimated that about ten (10) projects will be funded under this AO.

5.1 Screening Criteria

Applications must meet the screening criteria. The screening process will determine if the application:

5.2 Evaluation Process

Only applications that have passed the screening criteria will be considered further.

Evaluators will assess each application based on evaluation criteria listed in Section 5.3.

Evaluators will be experts in the field relevant to the applications and may include representatives of the Canadian government, and non-governmental organizations.

The determination of the amount of support will take into consideration CSA availability of funds, the total cost of the project as well as the other confirmed sources of funds invested by other stakeholders and the applicant.

5.3 Evaluation Criteria

1. Feasibility
2. Resources
3. Risks and Mitigation Measures
4. Results
5. Benefits to Canada

Proposals will be scored in accordance with the following:

Criteria Overall maximum points for corresponding criterion (a*b) Maximum points for evaluation (a) Weighting factors (b) Benchmark definition corresponding to point rating (1 to 8 points)
A B C D
1. Feasibility 25 8 3.125 1 or 2 3 or 4 5 or 6 7 or 8
2. Resources 20 8 2.5 1 or 2 3 or 4 5 or 6 7 or 8
3. Risks and Mitigation Measures 15 8 1.875 1 or 2 3 or 4 5 or 6 7 or 8
4. Results 25 8 3.125 1 or 2 3 or 4 5 or 6 7 or 8
5. Benefits to Canada 15 8 1.875 1 or 2 3 or 4 5 or 6 7 or 8
Total points 100            

The proposal scoring for each evaluation criterion will be determined using a range from 1 to 8 points, 8 being the highest rating:

As an example, the maximum point rating, including the weighting factor, for the "Resources" criterion is 8 points. If a proposal receives "6" for this criterion in the evaluation process, the final score attributed to the criterion will be:

6 * 2.5 (Weighting factor) = 15.0 points (score)

Point rated evaluation criteria that are not addressed in the proposal will be given a score of zero.

1. Feasibility

Description: This criterion assesses whether research objectives are clearly described and the effectiveness of the proposed methodology in attaining them. The technical methodology demonstrates that the work packages, their sequence and the data plan are clearly substantiated, coherent and feasible.

Data should be chosen to best demonstrate the feasibility, performance, and success of the project. The data plan should describe all of the EO data that will be used in the project, including areas of interest, dates and volume of data, any other complementary imagery or other data types, whether they have been previously acquired or if they need to be acquired during the project.

Rating scale

2. Resources

Description: This criterion assesses the combined technical and management capability (qualifications, experience) of team members to effectively achieve project objectives, and should include a description for each of the proposed team members stating their roles and responsibilities within the project. Resumes should be provided in an appendix.

This criterion also evaluates the Management Plan for its completeness and its effectiveness in directing the project to a successful completion.

Rating scale

3. Risks and Mitigation Measures

Description: This criterion assesses any critical issues that could potentially jeopardize the successful completion of the project (technical, managerial, financial). An assessment of the risks involved should be accompanied by a mitigation strategy.

Rating scale

4. Results

Description: This criterion evaluates the proposed EO solution that integrates data from RADARSAT with that of other satellite sensors and may also include other types of complimentary data. This criterion also assesses if and how multi-satellite data integration will enhance the new EO products, services or processes and lead to improvements over current state-of-the-art practices.

Rating scale

5. Benefits to Canada

Description: This criterion evaluates the potential of increasing industrial capabilities and know-how as pertains to the use and application of satellite EO data and how the project will broaden the use of space-based EO data. It also assesses how the proposed project will contribute to enhancing Canadian industry's ability to meet national space needs and its ability to be competitive in the global market.

Rating scale

6. Funding

6.1 Available Funding

For the purposes of this AO, the maximum limit of the non-repayable contribution per accepted project must be less than $100,000 over 18 months. This limit applies to the entire portion of the Government's contribution for the lead Applicant.

The "Stacking Limit" is the maximum government (federal, provincial/ territorial and municipal) financial assistance for a project. An approved proposal will be eligible for total government assistance of up to 75% of total eligible project costs. The overall number of contributions awarded and their level will depend on the availability of funds.

The CSA reserves the right not to accept any proposals or to reduce the amount of the contributions at its entire discretion.

Applicants are required to identify all sources of funding in their proposal and to confirm this information in a funding agreement if the project is selected for funding. In addition, upon completion of a project, the applicant will be required to disclose all sources of funding. Should the CSA determine that assistance from federal, provincial and municipal sources exceed the stacking limit, the CSA will recover the amount that the CSA determines to be over the stacking limit. The recovery will be calculated on a pro-rated basis according to the proportion of total government assistance contributed by the federal government, should amounts not be disclosed at the time at the determination by the CSA, the CSA may withhold any amount that the CSA determines to be appropriate to recover any excess funding.

6.2 Eligible Costs

Eligible costs are direct expenses associated with the delivery of the approved project that are required to achieve the results to which it relates. Expenses will be covered subject to the applicant signing a funding agreement, in the form of a contribution, with the CSA.

The eligible costs for contributions under this AO are the following:

6.3 Data Sources

The focus of the current AO is R&D related to the use of RADARSAT imagery in combination with other sources of satellite imagery, in addition to other complementary data. This may include airborne, in-situ data, models or surface truth information.

Each proposal should provide a data plan for the imagery that is intended to be used for the proposed project. Data should be chosen to best demonstrate the feasibility, performance, and success of the project objectives. The data plan should describe all of the RADARSAT data that will be used in the project, including areas of interest, dates and volume of data, any other complementary imagery or other data types, whether they have been previously acquired or if they need to be acquired during the project. The data plan should explain why these data are needed.

Since the focus of the current AO is related to the use of EO imagery for research and development purposes, the CSA will provide access to a reasonable amount of RADARSAT imagery free of charge to the successful applicants. However, a large volume of archived imagery is maintained that Applicants are encouraged to try to incorporate into their proposed activities, which can be viewed at ceocat.ccrs.nrcan.gc.ca/portal/index.html.

Other sources of complementary imagery may be required and used to support the R&D activities. The CSA will lend a reasonable amount of other datellite imagery free of charge from the following missions as part of the Government of Canada National Master Standing Offer (NMSO) for commercial satellite imagery:

Figure 1 – Other satellite imagery

Sensors

However, if imagery from other EO space missions, airborne data and in-situ data are proposed, the Applicant will be responsible for obtaining the necessary complementary data to conduct its research activities, and include this cost in the project budget.

The data plan should take into consideration the potential constraints related to RADARSAT data acquisition (e.g., priority levels, scheduling conflicts and end user license agreement). It should be noted that data orders under these R&D projects have lower acquisition priority than for Government of Canada operational needs.

Some areas in Canada are particularly susceptible to RADARSAT data acquisition conflicts. As a result, the risk associated with these areas, with respect to data availability, might increase. Projects that focus on these areas and/or planning to use time series should propose a solid mitigation strategy (alternative study sites, or data, reducing the number of sites, etc.). The following areas are particularly susceptible to RADARSAT data acquisition conflicts:

Table D-1 below is an example of the format that should be used for the RADARSAT data plan. For other satellite data, airborne or in situ data proposed in the project, a separate table should be provided.

Table D-1 - RADARSAT Data Plan
Acquisition Date Study Area Beam Mode Polarization (Single Co, Single Cross, Dual, Quad) Processing Level (SLC, SGX, SGF, SSG)
Note 1 of Table D-1 1
RADARSAT Data provided by CSA RADARSAT Data available from (insert organization's name)
Number of Scenes Concurrent field data collection2 (Yes/No) Note 2 of Table D-1 2
Archive Data New Acquisition Archive Data (a) New Acquisition (b) class="text-center"Number of scenes (a)+(b)
                     
Total     Total      

Notes:

  1. ScanSAR Beam modes are only available for SGF (SCN/SCW) products. Quad_Pol products are not available for processing level SGF.
  2. Specify if fieldwork data collection is planned during satellite data acquisition.

The RADARSAT imagery and other complementary data as Identified in Figure 1 do not need to be purchased by the Applicant and the cost should therefore not be included by the Applicant in the project budget. However, the project budget should include the cost of any other complementary data (identified in the Data Plan) that will need to be purchased by the Applicant during the project.

All commercially available RADARSAT beam modes are eligible under this AO.

7. Funding Agreements

7.1 Payments

The CSA and the successful Applicants (hereinafter referred to as the Recipients) will sign a funding agreement. This represents a condition for any payment made by the CSA with respect to the approved project.

Payments for contribution agreements will be made in accordance with the process and the reporting requirements described in the signed funding agreement. Upon notice of a successful application, the CSA will have no liability until a funding agreement is signed by both parties. Only eligible costs incurred after the funding agreement is signed and indicated in the agreement will be paid and/or reimbursed.

7.2 Reporting

7.3 Conflict of interest

In the funding agreement, the Recipient will certify that any former public office holder or public servant it employs complies with the provisions of the relevant Conflict of Interest and Post-Employment Code for Former Public Office Holders and the Value and Ethics Code for Public Servants respectively.

7.4 Intellectual Property

All Intellectual Property that arises in the course of the project shall vest in the recipient.

7.5 Performance Measurement

The CSA will ask the recipients to report on certain elements of projects such as:

In Knowledge

In Capacity

In Products & Services

8. Privacy Notice Statement

The CSA will comply with federal Access to Information Act and Privacy Act with respect to applications received under this Component. By submitting your personal information, you are consenting to its collection, use and disclosure in accordance with the following Privacy Notice Statement which explains how Applicant's information will be managed.

Necessary measures have been taken to protect the confidentiality of the information provided by the Applicant. This information is collected under the authority of the CSA Class Grant and Contribution Program to support Research, Awareness and Learning in Space Science and Technology - Research Component, and will be used for the evaluation and selection of proposals. Personal information (such as contact information, biographical information, etc.) included in the rejected proposals will be stored in a Personal Information CSA Bank for 5 years and then destroyed (Personal Information Bank to be registered with Treasury Board Secretariat soon). Personal information included in the successful proposals will be retained along with the results of their proposals for historical purposes. These data are protected under the Privacy Act. According to the Privacy Act, the data linked to one individual and included in the proposal being evaluated can be accessed by the specific concerned individual who has rights with respect to this information. This individual may, upon request, (1) be given access to his/her data and (2) have incorrect information corrected or have a notation attached.

Applicants should note that for all agreements over $25,000, information related to the funding agreement (amount, grant or contribution, name of the recipient and project location) through this Component and the purpose of the funding will be made available to the public on the CSA website.

If you need additional information on privacy matter before sending your proposal, contact Danielle Bourgie, Coordinator, Access to Information and Privacy, at the CSA.

Telephone: 450-926-4866
Email: danielle.bourgie@canada.ca

9. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

A "Frequently Asked Questions" section will be added to the AO. When questions are raised by a potential applicant, the Program Manager will respond to the Applicant through this section.

It is the responsibility of interested parties to obtain clarification of the requirements contained herein, if necessary, before submitting an application.

At any point of the process, you are invited to share with us your comments or suggestions regarding the AO, the program or the process. You can use the anonymous Web-Based Comments and Suggestions Box available at:
www.asc-csa.gc.ca/eng/funding-programs/grants-and-contributions-snapshot.asp#comments.

If you have any questions related to the AO, you can either use the Web-Based Comment and Suggestion Box or email address (lecedessetc-thegandccoe@asc-csa.gc.ca), both tools are anonymous. The questions and answers related to this AO will be posted on the CSA website in the "Frequently Asked Questions" section of this AO. CSA will respond to questions received before 5:00 p.m. (EST), Wednesday, December 4, 2013.

Question 1: How do we know if our organization is eligible under this AO?

Answer 1: You are responsible to verify the status of your organization. As stipulated in Section 3.1, contributions under this AO are aimed at for-profit organizations established and operating in Canada.

Question 2: If a company has negotiated different labour rates with PWGSC, in a previous contract, can the proposed contribution project budget be defined according to these labour rates applied in a past contract, rather than what are specified in this Announcement of Opportunity?

Answer 2: A Grant and Contribution Program is based on the Transfer Payment Policy and differs from programs and initiatives under the Contracting Policy. The eligible costs that will be considered for initiatives under this AO are the ones stipulated in section 6.2 of the document.

Question 3:

A few questions relative to payments and financing:

  1. The frequency of invoicing is not mentioned. Can it be on a monthly basis? Upon delivery of milestone reports every 6 months, that is 2 or 3 invoices including the one associated with the final report?
  2. Is the reimbursement method and CSA's requirements relative to the payment of invoices identical or different to that used in on-going EOADP projects?
  3. Can the project duration be shorter than 18 months?
  4. "An approved proposal will be eligible for total government assistance of up to 75% of total eligible project costs". To benefit from the maximum allowable contribution for this AO, the project value should be greater than $133,333 ($133,333/ 75% = $100,000)?
  5. Would the participation of a university or federal government personnel in the project be counted as government financial assistance and be included in the stacking limit or is it an eligible expense?
  6. Can you clarify what the 'overhead (administrative) costs' is applicable to? Is the 15% referring to all costs or specifically to salary and benefits?
  7. In Section 3 of the application form, what does Other Expenses (cannot be funded by CSA) refer to? Does this include background intellectual property or any development done prior to the project? Can this be part of the Applicant financial contribution to the project?

Answer 3:

  1. Frequency of payments: No, payments cannot be made monthly, claims can however be presented every trimester. Payments must coincide with control measures (review of milestone/ final reports and the presentation of financial statements.
  2. No, this is a transfer payment initiative (contribution) which is different and is governed by a different policy than that used for contract attribution. The reimbursement method and CSA exigencies relative to the payment of claims is based on cost recovery. The company must submit a claim on a standard CSA form, based on costs incurred for the project with afferent evidence.
  3. Yes, project duration can be shorter than 18 months.
  4. Yes, in order to benefit from the maximum allowable contribution for this AO, the value of the project could be just under $133,333 (less than $100,000).
  5. If a company must pay incurred expenses for work done by a university (consultant services), this cost is eligible and should not be counted in the stacking limit. However, if there is no invoice, the work done by the university is considered as government assistance and must therefore be counted in the stacking limit.
  6. Overhead : 15% of all admissible expenses (excluding overhead).
  7. No costs incurred prior to obtaining a contribution can be considered in the project. We cannot consider past expenses as part of a project. This category corresponds to any other expenses, not specified in the list of eligible expenses under this initiative.

Question 4:

  1. In the AO, consultant services are defined as an eligible cost. Is there a limit to the amount of money that can be paid for consultant services?
  2. The AO is open to for-profit organizations. Is there any issue with a not-for-profit company working with a for-profit company as a consultant?

Answer 4:

  1. The Applicant of a for-profit organization must demonstrate it has the proven ability (knowledge, expertise and capability) to execute the project and may use consultant services for specific tasks only, not for the project as a whole. In such a case the Applicant would be required to provide a detailed work schedule indicating distribution of the work. Also, copies of the Intellectual Property Agreements related to the project would be required.
  2. There is no issue with a partnership between a for-profit and a not-for-profit organization. The CSA will exercise due diligence when evaluating proposals to ensure that the not-for-profit organization is not doing the majority of the project work.

Question 5:

  1. Are there any geographic limitations to the project? 
  2. Can data be acquired over international locations?
  3. Can a project focus on the integration of RADARSAT-2 and ground/in-situ complementary data rather than another source of satellite imagery?
  4. Is it possible to sub-contract a Government of Canada organization for this initiative?
  5. Is TanDEM-X data available for this project?

Answer 5:

  1. No.
  2. Yes.
  3. No, the objective of the AO is multi-satellite data integration.
  4. No. Moreover, this program and these funds are forprofit organizations, not for government needs.
  5. Only TerraSAR-X is part of the data provided under this AO (through the National Master Standing Offer). However, there is presently a separate DLR (German Space Agency) AO with a closing date of March 15, 2014, under which TanDEM-X data could be obtained.

Question 6: With regards to the proposal submission deadline of December 18 and the following required documentation: "financial statements for the last two (2) years and the most recent interim results". Given that I operate a new company that has only existed for 6 months and that I have not yet produced financial statements, am I automatically disqualified from submitting a proposal?

Answer 6: The section of the AO that states the eligibility requirements for recipients does not specify a number of years of operation for an organization. In this particular case, you are required to submit interim financial statements (results).

Question 7: Should a scholarship student participate in a project that is financed under this AO, would the amount of the scholarship be counted in the stacking limit? If so, would this amount have to be deducted from the maximum contribution?

Answer 7: Yes, government assistance in the form of goods and services must be counted in the stacking limit for a project under this AO.

The specific contribution of a scholarship student to an industry-led project, whose scholarship comes from government (federal, provincial, municipal), must be considered as government assistance and accounted as such.

Only the portion of the scholarship that corresponds to the work done by the student for a company will be considered in the project costs and calculated in the stacking limit.

In such a case, we will request a copy of the tri-partite agreement (individual, university and company) in order to evaluate what portion of the scholarship is to be considered as part of the project, as well as elements pertaining to the sharing of intellectual property.

For all government assistance in a project (stacking limit), the value of this assistance (100% value of the goods & services) must be included when calculating the stacking limit.

In this sense, the scholarship student's specific contribution to a project will increase the amount of government assistance.

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