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Student Participation Initiative - International Astronautical Congress (IAC)

Announcement of Opportunity

Publication date:

Application deadline:

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Eligibility criteria
  3. How to apply
  4. Selection process and criteria
  5. Service standards
  6. Financing available and eligible costs
  7. Grant agreements
  8. Confidentiality
  9. Additional information
  10. Frequently asked questions

1. Introduction

This year, the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) will be awarding grants to students wanting to attend the International Astronautical Congress (IAC). IAC is organized by the International Astronautical Federation (IAF), the International Academy of Astronautics (IAA), and the International Institute of Space Law (IISL). It is the largest space-related conference world-wide and selects an average of 1000 scientific papers every year. The upcoming IAC will be held - in Adelaide, Australia.

This international Congress is billed as an excellent gathering point for all specialists in space sector. For students, it is an opportunity to forge valuable links with professionals and other students from all over the world who share their interests. Throughout the Congress, students will have a chance to discuss with professionals, learn from their expertise and listen to their vision of the future of space exploration. Students are full participants in the Congress, lending its workshops and plenary sessions a new energy and outlook that are greatly appreciated.

The IAC draws mainly students specializing in space-related disciplines. In recent years, however, many students from outside these disciplines, though in associated fields (e.g.: engineering, law, medicine), have taken part. For many students, the IAC is a motivating event inspiring them to pursue their studies in space-related disciplines and set their career goals accordingly.

The CSA intends to support a new group of students to give them the opportunity afforded by the Congress to learn more about the future of the great space adventure and participate during the IAC in specific activities organized by the CSA and other space agencies through the International Space Education Board (ISEB).

As part of its commitment to helping train the rising generation of space professionals, the CSA is inviting university students (undergraduate, master and doctoral) to apply. It is therefore our great pleasure to invite you to the 68th IAC on the theme of "Unlocking imagination, fostering innovation and strengthening security".

In addition, once selected for a grant, recipients will be offered the opportunity to participate in the Space Generation Congress (SGC) which will be held -, a few days before IAC . SGC is the annual meeting of the Space Generation Advisory Council, which is a non-profit organisation developing networks amongst university students and young space professionals and, being in support of the United Nations Programme on Space Applications.

Students selected under this initiative may be offered internship opportunities at the CSA.

The eligibility criteria, the application process and the selection criteria are outlined hereinafter.

We hope to see many of you in Adelaide in !

2. Eligibility criteria

To apply for the Student Participation Initiative, you must meet the following eligibility criteria:

  1. You must be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident;
  2. You must be enrolled in a full time program in a Canadian university at the time of the Congress;
  3. You must be a student (undergraduate, master or doctoral) at the time of the Congress;
  4. You must have submitted an abstract at IAC .

3. How to apply

Follow these steps to submit your application for funding to the CSA's Student Participation Initiative.

  1. Download and complete the grant application form;
  2. Applications must contain the following:
    • Duly completed application form;
    • A copy of your proof of citizenship (such as a Canadian passport) or permanent resident card;
    • An attestation of student enrolment in fall semester;
    • A copy of your abstract/paper as submitted to IAF for the IAC ;
    • A copy of IAF's response to the status of your abstract/paper (acceptance or refusal);
    • A motivation letter with a maximum of 1000 words on what you expect to gain from attending the Congress (can be part of the application form or a separate document);
    • A reference letter from a professor (must be a separate document);
    • The printout of quotes for an economy class air fare;
    • A budget breakdown.
  3. Applications must be mailed to the CSA at this address:

International Astronautical Congress (IAC)
Student Participation Initiative
c/o Isabelle Lamoureux
Senior Program Officer, Academic Development
Canadian Space Agency
6767 Route de l'Aéroport
Saint-Hubert, Quebec J3Y 8Y9

For more information on IAC and how to submit an abstract, consult the following websites: IAC - Congress Prospectus and IAC - Call for Abstracts.

4. Selection process and criteria

This section is aimed at evaluating the students' interest and experience in space-related disciplines, his/her expectations towards participating to the IAC and his/her interests and prospective career goals in space related discipline. It should be clearly demonstrated and detailed within the submitted documents.

Because of the limited funding available, priority will be given to:

  1. Students that have their abstract selected by IAF for IAC who have not participated in IACs previous to . If insufficient applications meeting the minimum score as described below are received, then;
  2. Students that have their abstract selected by IAF for IAC who have taken part in previous IACs. If insufficient applications meeting the minimum score as described below are received, then;
  3. Students whose abstract was not selected by IAF for IAC and who have not attended previous IACs.

The eligible proposals will be scored by members of an evaluation committee according to the criteria described in Table 1 following the priorities described above and will be selected in decreasing order based on the average scores.

Table1: Evaluation matrix
Evaluated criteria None/Poor Good Exceptional Max score Min score
Quality of the motivation letter 0 3 6 6 3
Reference letter 0 4 8 8 4
Quality of the abstract 0 1 2 2 1
Realism of the budget 0 2 4 4 2

Minimum score required: 12/20

All the evaluated criteria will be given a poor, good or exceptional score as described below:

Poor: Some key information required to be presented is missing and/or the information provided is ambiguous, not clear and/or not adequately supported by examples or facts.

Good: Notwithstanding some minor limitations in the completeness and validity of the information, the description of the element is well structured and convincing. Key messages are summarised and highlighted. Relevant examples and facts supporting the arguments are provided.

Exceptional: There is no missing relevant information. The arguments are explicitly presented and strongly convincing. All requested information is provided in a well-structured manner.

Description of the evaluated criteria

Quality of the motivation letter:

The motivation letter should describe in enough details

  1. your experience in space-related disciplines,
  2. what you expect to gain from attending the Congress,
  3. how you consider yourself as a good candidate
  4. how the information you are providing outlines your interests and prospective career goals in a space-related discipline.
Reference letter:

The reference letter from a professor should describe in enough details how your work as a student stands out. It should be supported by specific examples and facts that confirm your interest and experience in a space related discipline.

Quality of the abstract:

The abstract should be well structured, balanced, written in an understandable manner and related to the IAC topics.

Realism of the budget:

The budget should describe relevant expenses and cost saving approaches.

Please note that the results from the Student Participation Initiative evaluation committee are final.

5. Service standards

Applicants will be informed by e-mail concerning their grant application. Successful applicants will be notified by e-mail and posting on the CSA website. The CSA has drawn up service standards regarding deadlines for processing applications, in particular for acknowledgement, funding decisions and payment arrangements (see key dates).

Acknowledgement: the CSA's objective is to acknowledge applications within five (5) working days following the initiative closing date.

Decisions: the CSA's objective is to e-mail replies within ten (10) working days following the reception of applications deadline and, to send the grant agreements for signature within ten (10) working days following such replies.

Payment: the CSA's objective is to issue payments within twenty (20) working days of receiving the funding agreement signed by the student.

Adherence to these service standards is a shared responsibility. Applicants must provide all the required documents at the right time.

Key dates:

6. Financing available and eligible costs

6.1 Participation in IAC and ISEB activities

The maximum amount for each grant is $5,000. The total budget for this Announcement of opportunity (AO) should be sufficient to support approximately ten (10) students. The CSA reserves the right to reject applications or to reduce the amount of a grant at its sole discretion.

The funds granted are subject specific limitations as described in Table 2. These funds should be used to cover part of or the main costs of travelling to and from Adelaide, the registration fees at the IAC, the lodging and subsistence expenses from to . All costs over and above the CSA maximum grant of $5,000 will have to be assumed by the student.

Per diem for meals, incidentals and lodging (hotel) is for eight (8) days and eight (8) nights since you will be asked to participate in different activities organized by the ISEB one day prior to IAC and one day after the IAC . As a CSA sponsored student, it is expected that you will participate in these activities, unless you would have provided appropriate justification. Transportation between the airport and the Conference Center will be provided by the organizers. Your budget will be evaluated as part of your application, please describe/justify adequately the amounts you are requesting.

Table 2: Expenses description
Expense type Maximum CADFootnote 1
Air fareFootnote 2 -
Lodging (hotel)
(USD 160/nightFootnote 3, 8 nights)
Per diem and incidentals
(AUD 160/dayFootnote 3, 8 days)
Congress fees (AUD 167) 166

6.2 Participation in SGC

Once the application evaluation completed as described above, selected applicants (beneficiaries) will be offered a supplement of $1000 to their grant to participate in the SGC , which will be held in Adelaide, from to . Applicant's participation in SGC is optional but will contribute greatly to develop their networks amongst other students and professionals. Interest to participate in SGC will have to be mentioned in the CSA application form of this AO.

For more information on SGC , please consult the SGC website.

7. Grant agreements

The CSA and the successful applicants (beneficiaries) will sign a grant agreement. This condition must be met for the CSA to issue payment. Such agreement may include conditions to participate in specific networking activities organized by space agencies prior, during and after IAC.


Payment will be made in the form of a unique payment, as indicated in the signed grant agreement. Beneficiaries undertake to inform the CSA in writing of any change in the conditions used to establish their eligibility for the grant.

Final report

The CSA will require beneficiaries to produce a report upon their return from the IAC , using the template to be provided by the CSA.

A budget section should also be included within the report in order to provide details about the paid fees related to eligible costs. This information will provide the CSA with valuable information to determine the maximum amount and number of grants for future AOs.

8. Confidentiality

The collected information will be used to evaluate and select applications. The CSA will comply with the federal government's Access to Information Act and Privacy Act in processing applications received. By submitting your personal information, you consent to its collection, use and disclosure in accordance with the following Confidentiality Statement, which explains how information on applicants is handled.

All necessary measures will be taken to protect the confidentiality of information provided by applicants. This information is gathered under the terms of the CSA's Class Grant and Contribution Program to Support Research, Awareness and Learning in Space Science and Technology (PPU040). Personal information will be kept in a CSA personal information bank for five years according to the retention schedule.

Applicants must acknowledge that for any agreement exceeding $25,000, details of the funding agreement (amount, whether grant or contribution, name of beneficiary and site of project) will be publicly accessible on the CSA's Internet site.

For more information on the Privacy Act or to access your personal information, contact:

Access to Information and Privacy
Canadian Space Agency
Telephone: 450-926-4866

9. Additional information

  1. We advise you to contact your insurer to check whether you are covered for foreign travel and participation in the Congress. The CSA provides no protection in this regard.
  2. Valid passport or visa. Please also check that you have in your possession all the documents needed (passport or visa) to enter Australia, and that they meet the country's conditions for admission. For more details, go to the website of the Department of Foreign Affairs Canada.
  3. The Congress, its activities and workshops and the ISEB activities will mostly take place at the Adelaide Convention Centre or close to it.
  4. You should plan your own local travel once there.
  5. You are also responsible for your lodging while the CSA may provide a list of hotels that would be recommended to facilitate access to ISEB activities. Many hotels are located near the city centre and the location of activities.
  6. Please go to the IAC official website for more information on the IAC technical program.

10. Frequently asked questions

Should the need arise; it is up to applicants to obtain clarification of the requirements contained in this initiative before applying.

For all questions, applicants must use this generic e-mail address: Questions and their answers will be posted on the CSA website under "Frequently Asked Questions". The CSA will answer questions received no later than (EDT) on .

Applicants are invited to apprise the CSA at any time of their comments or suggestions on this funding opportunity, the initiative or the process. Applicants may either use for their comments the generic email address or the generic web-based comments and suggestions box.

Question 1: I'm a Canadian citizen pursuing a doctoral thesis degree in a University in Europe. As an international student here, I cannot take advantage of the scholarships available to national students. Is there any chance that Canadian students studying abroad can also be considered for the Student Participation Initiative grant?

Response 1: As mentioned in the eligibility criteria section, this grant is available to Canadian citizens who are registered in a program as a full time student in a Canadian University at the time of the IAC (fall semester ).

Question 2: One of the eligibility criteria is to submit an abstract/paper to present a paper at IAC . What is the deadline to submit an abstract/paper to IAC ?

Response 2: IAC must receive your abstract/paper no later than . Please consult the IAC website on how to submit an abstract/paper for the Congress.

Question 3: The eligibility criteria include an attestation of student enrolment in Fall semester. However, similarly to many other institutions, my university can only confirm my registration to the Winter semester (in which I am currently enrolled), and I will not be able to register in the Fall session until around or .

Would a registration letter that confirms my current registration (Winter ) in a PhD program, and an expected date of completion (around ) suffice for the purposes of this application?

Response 3: The CSA will need from your university a confirmation that student enrolment in Fall semester can't be obtained. Also the university will have to confirm your current registration (Winter ), as well as the expected date of completion of your academic program and the registration period for the Fall semester.

Question 4: I was recently informed about the Student Participation Initiative for the International Astronautical Congress (IAC) and by reading the requirements and instructions, I had a few questions and I cannot find the answer online. More specifically with regard to this requirement: "a copy of your abstract / paper submitted to the IAF for IAC ".

According to what I read on the IAC website, I understand that we have to be a student who is doing research to be able to attend this Congress. I am very interested in participating, but I cannot understand what can be submitted for an abstract / article if I do not do research as a bachelor's student.

Response 4: You do not have to be a student doing research to be able to attend the Congress, but to be eligible for this grant from the CSA, you must submit an abstract / paper related to the topics identified in the Congress technical program.

Please also refer to the "Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)" section of the IAF website, in which you will find more information related to the submission of an abstract / paper.

Question 5: Can a co-authored abstract/paper be submitted to IAF for the application to this initiative?

Response 5: Students may submit abstracts that are co-authored with their Principal Investigators or the primary author. However, the student could be co-author but only the student will present at the IAC. Therefore, only one student can apply for a grant per abstract.

Question 6: I was wondering if medical residents were eligible to apply for this opportunity. As a resident, I have completed medical school, however I am currently enrolled as a full time student while completing my residency training.

Response 6: For this initiative, students with a Ph.D. degree or a health professional degree are not eligible.

Question 7: The initiative states one of the requirements for eligibility is that you must have submitted an abstract at IAC . Some of the students interested in applying found out about the opportunity to get a grant from the CSA but only after the deadline for the IAC's abstract submission. Is it still possible to apply for a grant?

Response 7: As specified in section 2 of the AO, having submitted an abstract to IAC is a mandatory eligibility criteria. IAF does not accept any abstracts after the deadline. If you have not submitted an abstract to IAC before this deadline, you are not eligible to apply for this student participation initiative.

Question 8: One of the requirements in applying for this Student Participation Initiative is a reference letter from a professor, with the comment that it "must be a separate document". Does this mean that the reference letter must be mailed to the CSA separately from the rest of the application? Or just that it must be on its own sheet within the application package?

Response 8: As stipulated in section 3 of the AO, the reference letter must be a separate document, and this document must be joined to your application.

Question 9: I have submitted an abstract to IAC for the Student Participation Initiative, but the paper is to be co-authored with another student.

My question is whether or not we are both allowed to apply, or can only one of us receive funding?

Response 9: As mentioned in section 10 of the AO, only one student can apply for a grant per abstract.

Question 10: I noticed the How-to-Apply section of the AO has been amended and a copy of IAF's response to the status of the abstract/paper (acceptance or refusal) is required within the application. I have, however, already mailed my application. After I receive a response from the IAF, would it be acceptable if I mail a copy of it to be added to my already-submitted package, or should I resubmit all the documents together?

Response 10: As mentioned within section 3 of the AO, your application must contain all the required documents.

Question 11: A budget break-down is required, but it has not been specified whether it should be part of the application form or a separate document. Could you please confirm whether filling in the table on Page 4 of the application form with the requested amounts and justifications would be sufficient, or a separate document with more details (in addition to the airfare quote) is required?

Response 11: As mentioned within section 4 of the AO, you will be evaluated on the realism of the budget you provided. If your budget requires space to include more details, you may use a separate document to join to your application.

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