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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 and eligible costs
  7. Grants agreement
  8. Confidentiality
  9. Additional information
  10. Frequently asked questions

1. Introduction

The Canadian Space Agency (CSA) will, this year again, award grants to students who are interested in participating in the International Astronautical Congress (IAC ) to be held in Bremen, Germany between and and the activities organized by the 'International Space Education Board' (ISEB). Some of the selected students could also be invited to participate at the Space Generation Congress (SGC ) which will also be held in Bremen few days before IAC , from to the .

IAC is billed as an excellent gathering venue for all specialists within the space sector. For students, it is an opportunity to forge valuable links with professionals and other students from all over the world who share the same interests. Throughout the congress, students will have the opportunity to discuss with professionals, learn from their experience and listen to their vision for future space endeavors and initiatives. As full participants in the congress, students lend a refreshing outlook and a new energy to the workshops and plenaries session which are greatly appreciated by all participants.

As part of its commitment to support the development of the next generation of space professionals in Canada, the CSA invites university students (undergraduate, master and doctoral) to apply for a grant to participate in the congress.

Some of the selected candidates will also be invited to participate (subject to the number of seats allocated by organizers) at the SGC which is organized by the Space Generation Advisory Council, a non-profit organization developing networks amongst university students and young space professionals in support of the United Nations Programme on Space Applications.

The selected candidates may also be offered short-term employment opportunities within the CSA.

The eligibility criteria, the application process as well as the criteria for the selection criteria are described hereinafter.

2. Eligibility criteria

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

  1. Be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident;
  2. Be enrolled in a full time program (undergraduate, master or doctoral) in a Canadian university for the winter session; and
  3. Have submitted an abstract to International Astronautical Federation (IAF) for a technical or poster presentation during the IAC .

Please note that both, the paper presentation (subject to IAC acceptance) during the IAC as well as the participation in all activities organized by ISEB will mandatory for all students who will be selected for a CSA grant under this announcement of opportunity (AO).

3. How to apply

Complete the following three steps below to submit your application for funding to the CSA's IAC 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 winter semester;
    • A copy of your abstract/paper as submitted to IAF for IAC ;
    • A copy of IAF's response to the status of your abstract/paper (acceptance or refusal); it should be sent at the same time as the other application's documents.
    • A motivation letter with a maximum of 1000 words on what you expect to gain from attending IAC (can be written on the application form or on a separate document);
    • A reference letter from a professor (must be a separate document, but should be included in the application package);
    • Your CV; and
  3. Mail your applications to the CSA at following address:

Student Participation Initiative - International Astronautical Congress (IAC)
c/o Iulian Martin
Development 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 gives details regarding the criteria and the process used to select the candidates who will receive grants.

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

  1. Students that have their abstract selected by IAC who have not participated in previous congresses. If an insufficient number of applications meeting the minimum score as described below are received, then it will be considered:
  2. Students that have their abstract selected by IAC who have taken part in previous congresses. If an insufficient number of applications meeting the minimum score as described below are received, then it will be considered:
  3. Students whose abstract was not selected by IAC and who have not attended previous congresses.

Important note: Students may submit co-authored abstracts to receive a grant, however the CSA will offer just one grant per abstract (based on the best ranking).

4.1 Selection criteria

As described below, each eligible applications will be evaluated considering the student's letter of motivation, the recommendation letter from a professor and the quality of the abstract submitted to IAF.

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; and
  4. How the information you are providing outlines your interests and prospective career goals in a space-related discipline or in a discipline the space sector could benefit in the future.

Reference letter:

The reference letter from a professor should describe with enough details how your work as a student stands out. It should be supported by specific factual examples 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.

4.2 Evaluation matrix

The eligible proposals will be scored (poor, a good or an exceptional) according to the criteria described in Table 1 and the definitions below.

Table1: Evaluation matrix
Evaluated criteria None/Poor Good Exceptional Max score Min score
Quality of the motivation letter 0 3 7 7 3
Reference letter 0 4 9 9 4
Quality of the abstract 0 2 4 4 2
Total       20 9

Poor: Some key information required to be presented is missing and/or the information provided is ambiguous, 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 summarized 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.

To be considered for a grant, the candidate should obtain the minimum score for each evaluated criteria and have a total minimum score of 9 out of 20.

4.3 Final selection

For the final selection, the CSA will consider the candidates having the highest final scores. The CSA could also take into consideration factors such as a balanced grant distribution across Canada as well as a diversified representativeness among the four designated groups within the Canadian population. We encourage you to indicate on a voluntary basis if you belong to one or more of the four following groups: women, Aboriginal People, persons with disabilities and member of visibility minority. Please visit Employment equity site for a complete definition of each group.

Some of the selected students will have the opportunity to participate in the SGC activities. The selection of these students will be based on the number of seats number of seats offered to the CSA by SGAC and, the highest ranking among selected and interested candidates.

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 also be notified by e-mail. 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 ten (10) working days following the initiative closing date.

Decisions: the CSA's objective is to e-mail replies within twenty-five (25) working days following the reception of applications deadline and, to send the grant agreements for signature within fifteen (15) 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.

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

Key dates:

6. Financing and eligible costs

6.1 Participation at IAC and ISEB activities

The maximum amount for each grant is $5,000 (or $6000 for those who will also be selected for SGC). The total budget for this 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 beneficiary will have to accept to use the awarded grant to cover (partially or totally) the costs associated with his/her participation in IAC and, for some selected candidates, in SGC . The costs should cover the following spending items:

  1. round trip to Bremen, Germany;
  2. IAC registration fees;
  3. accommodation in Bremen; and
  4. meals for the duration of his/her stay during IAC and SGC .

All other costs and/or exceeding the CSA grant amount are entirely the beneficiary's responsibility.

Each beneficiary will receive:

6.2 Participation in SGC

Once the selection process is completed, a limited number of selected applicants (beneficiaries) will be offered a supplement of $1000 to their grant to participate at the SGC to be held in Bremen, Germany between and . Applicants' participation in SGC is optional but it is deemed a prime opportunity for the student to develop their networks with other students and professionals. Interest in participating in the SGC needs to be mentioned in the CSA application form of this AO.

7. Grants agreement

The CSA and each successful applicant will sign a grant agreement. This condition must be met for the CSA to issue payment. Such an agreement will include conditions to participate in mandatory specific networking activities organized by space agencies and defined in the ISEB program during the period of IAC and one day after.

7.1 Payment

Payment will be made in the form of a single 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.

7.2 Final report

The CSA will require that each participant submit a conference report within 30 days following his/her participation in IAC (and SGC  if appropriate) using a template the CSA will made available in advance.

8. Confidentiality

The collected information will be used to evaluate and select applicants. The CSA will comply with the federal government's Access to Information Act and Privacy Act in processing received applications. By submitting your personal information, you consent to its collection, its use and its 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, please contact:

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

9. Additional information

  1. We advise you to contact your insurer in order to check whether you are covered for foreign travel and participation in IAC . The CSA provides no protection in this regard.
  2. Please also check that you have in your possession all the documents needed (valid passport or visa) to enter Germany, 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, activities and workshops of IAC , SGC as well as the ISEB activities will mostly take place at or near the Bremen Convention Centre.
  4. You should plan your own local travel once there.
  5. You are also responsible for your lodging; however the CSA will provide a recommendation for a hotel where a number of rooms has been pre-booked for ISEB sponsored students.
  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 5 p.m. (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: Are MD graduates doing medical residency training eligible applicants?

Answer 1: For this initiative, the individuals holding a M.D. (doctor of medicine) degree or a health professional degree are not eligible.

Question 2: Are the students registered for a bachelor program in a college are eligible applicants?

Answer 2: As mentioned in the eligibility criteria section of the AO, this opportunity is available to students enrolled in a full time program (undergraduate, master or doctoral) in a Canadian university for the winter session.

Question 3: Can more than one student apply for a grant while sharing the same abstract? Is there a maximum number of students selected for the same abstract?

Answer 3: As mentioned in section 4, Selection process and criteria – last paragraph: Important note, the CSA will offer just one grant per abstract (based on the best ranking).

Question 4: Can a Canadian student enrolled in a non Canadian university apply for a grant? Is there a way to waive this requirement?

Answer 4: This funding opportunity is available for the Canadian students registered in a Canadian university only. No waiver will be issued for this eligibility criteria.

Question 5: The CSA requires a letter of acceptance or refusal for abstracts submitted to the IAF. Would an application be accepted without this letter of acceptance or refusal?

Answer 5: As stated in the AO, Section 2, one of the eligibility criteria is to have submitted an abstract to IAF for a technical or poster presentation during the IAC . Therefore, your application under this AO must include a copy of IAF's response regarding the status of your abstract/paper (acceptance or refusal).

Question 6: Should the attestation of the student's full time enrolment in the winter be an official document or could it be replaced by a print of the on-line student account status form?

Answer 6: The attestation of student's full time enrolment in winter semester should be an official document issued by the university's registration (or similar) office.

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