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STDP AO 5.1 Space R&D – High Technology Readiness Level

Industrial capability-building contribution

Announcement of Opportunity

Publication date:

Application deadline:

Table of contents

  1. Introduction
  2. AO objectives
  3. Eligibility criteria
  4. Applications
  5. Evaluation
  6. Funding
  7. Funding agreements
  8. Privacy notice statement
  9. Frequently asked questions (FAQ)
  • Eligible recipients: Eligible recipients are limited to for-profit and not-for-profit organizations established and operating in Canada, excluding academic institutions
  • Non-repayable contributions
  • Maximum amount per project: $1,000,000
  • Estimated total amount: $9,000,000
  • Maximum timeframe of the project: 24 months with a possibility of extension to 36 months
  • Estimated projects start date:

1. Introduction

Canada's Innovation and Skills Plan is focused on three priority areas to spur innovation: People, Technologies, and Companies. Working with industry, the Government of Canada will encourage innovation by increasing its support for basic research and development (R&D) in space technology development. The Canadian Space Agency (CSA) is issuing this Announcement of Opportunity (AO) to support the development of Canadian industrial capabilities in the area of space technologies with the aim of increasing the commercial potential of Canadian space companies to capture global opportunities.

It is indeed paramount that the Canadian space industry remains strong, healthy and relevant, and that it has the required readiness to respond to national demand and the necessary competitiveness to secure an increased share of commercial and institutional markets worldwide. Only through innovation and continued investments in R&D can Canada ensure that it has the industrial depth and breadth to remain a valued player in the international arena.

In light of the above, this AO concerning Space R&D will award non-repayable contributions up to $1M per space technology project that expect commercial potential in the short to medium term (i.e. 2 to 5 years).

This AO is consistent with the terms and conditions of the CSA Class Grant and Contribution (G&C) Program to Support Research, Awareness and Learning in Space Science and Technology – Research Component.

Applicants are asked to read the following AO thoroughly before submitting their applications. This AO was prepared to help applicants complete the application process, and outlines key 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, the latter document(s) will take precedence.

2. AO objectives

The objective of this AO is as follows:

To support the development of Canadian industrial capabilities in the area of space technologies for the purpose of increasing the commercial potential of Canadian space companies.

3. Eligibility criteria

3.1 Eligible recipients

Eligible recipients are limited to for-profit and not-for-profit organizations established and operating in Canada, excluding academic institutions.

  • Academic institutions are encouraged to be included in the work as consultants to the recipient but are not eligible as recipients of the contribution agreements.

For organizations with many sites, each independent site is considered as a unique eligible recipient.

3.2 Eligible projects

The CSA's Space Technology Development Program (STDP) aims to support the strengthening of industrial capabilities (new concepts, products and/or know-how) related to basic R&D of space technologies (space and/or ground segment).

Eligible projects do not include application development related to Earth Observation data, Satellite Telecommunications data, and Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) data.

To be eligible, projects must have a high initial technology readiness level (TRL), between TRL 4 and TRL 6.

All development phases necessary for a project are eligible. Any logical breakdown or combination of these phases can constitute a funded project. However, breaking down a project into numerous phases to obtain more than the maximum contribution is not allowed. 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.

3.3 Links to CSA priorities

This AO focuses on the CSA's priority of building industrial capabilities, meaning those projects that aim to develop new concepts, products and/or know-how. Industrial capability building therefore encompasses all projects aimed at strengthening the industry core capabilities with particular focus on developing its people and technologies.

3.4 Links to program objectives

This AO supports STDP objectives and contributes to the following objectives of the CSA Class G&C Program:

  • To support the development of technologies relevant to Canada; and
  • To foster the continuing development of a critical mass of highly qualified people (HQP) in Canada.

The CSA encourages the space industry to collaborate with the academic sector in the implementation of the AO by promoting projects that include student participation. To this effect, applicants may be interested in contacting Mitacs, a national not-for-profit organization, to investigate if and how such resources can be leveraged in collaboration with universities on research projects.

3.5 Basic R&D definition

Eligible projects supported under this AO must comply with the following definition for basic R&D by providing the required justification within section 5 of the Application form:

"Any pre-commercial technology activities that are carried out to resolve unknowns regarding the feasibility of space concepts in the space sector."

The following due diligence process will be applied to determine whether projects are compliant with this definition. To that end, justification to be provided in section 5 of the Application form should:

  • Quantify the technical objectives being sought and must describe how the expected results will be measured;
  • Clearly state which technological unknowns are proposed to be answered;
  • Clearly state the working hypotheses behind solving the unknowns and describe how plausible it is anticipated to solve these unknowns;
  • Demonstrate that the proposed project consists of more than ordinary engineering or current operations; and
  • Substantiate the current TRL and the proposed TRL expected to be reached (up to TRL 6).

The following TRL definitions must be used:


Basic principles observed and reported


Technology concept and/or application formulated


Analytical and experimental critical function and/or characteristic proof-of-concept


Component and/or breadboard validation in laboratory environment


Component and/or breadboard validation in relevant environment


System/subsystem model or prototype demonstration in a relevant environment (ground or space)

Basic R&D activities supported under this AO shall be undertaken in Canada unless it is essential to the success of the project.

4. Applications

4.1 Required documentation

The application must include the following:

  • A completed original Application form signed by the duly authorized representative;
  • The application form must be provided in both a paper copy and in a standard electronic media format (USB flash drive, CD or DVD). If there is any discrepancy between the hard and the soft copies, the hard copy takes precedence;
  • The résumés of each team member responsible for managing the project and key technical personnel. The résumés should be limited to two pages with only information that is relevant to the application;
  • A copy of the document(s) confirming the legal name of the applicant;
  • Letters from other funding contributors confirming their contributions, if applicable;
  • The Declaration on Confidentiality, Access to Information Act and Privacy Act form signed by the duly authorized representative (refer to the Applicant Declaration on Confidentiality, Access to Information Act and Privacy Act section included in the application form);
  • For organizations in Quebec, M-30 Supporting Documentation form completed and signed by the duly authorized representative (refer to the M-30 form for organizations in Quebec included in the application form).

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

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

Alexandre Grondin
Technology Development Officer
Technology Development Management
Canadian Space Agency
6767 Route de l'Aéroport
Saint-Hubert, Quebec J3Y 8Y9

  • The application has to reach CSA before .
  • The application can be mailed/couriered/delivered to the address indicated.
  • There is no one to receive hand delivered proposals during the weekends. Hand delivered proposals will only be accepted during business hours.
  • Applications sent by email will not be accepted.
  • Incomplete applications shall not be considered.

Questions and answers related to this AO will be posted on the CSA website in the Frequently asked questions (Section 9).

4.2 Service standards – Complete applications

Applicants will be notified in writing of decisions regarding their application. Selected applications will be announced on the CSA website. The CSA has set the following service standards for processing times, acknowledgement of receipt, funding decisions and payment procedures.

Acknowledgement: The CSA's goal is to acknowledge receipt within 5 business days of receiving the completed application package.

Decision: The CSA's goal is to respond to the proposal within 16 weeks of the AO's closing date and to send a contribution agreement for signature within 4 weeks after formal approval of the proposal.

Payment: The CSA's goal is to issue payment within 6 weeks of the successful fulfillment of the requirements outlined in the contribution agreement.

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

5. Evaluation

5.1 Eligibility criteria
  • Represents an eligible recipient as defined in Section 3.1;
  • Represents an eligible project as defined in Sections 3.2, 3.3 and 3.4;
  • Meets the basic R&D definition in Section 3.5; and
  • Meets program funding provisions in Section 6.1.
5.2 Point rated evaluation criteria

Applications will be evaluated according to the following point rated criteria:

  1. Innovation and market need (30%)
  2. Project feasibility, resources and risk assessment (20%)
  3. Outcomes and benefits to Canada (50%)

The page count limit to support each of the previous criteria is implemented in the Application form.

5.3 Evaluation process

Only applications that have passed the eligibility assessment listed in Section 5.1 will be given further consideration.

Once the eligibility criteria are confirmed, an individual evaluation of the screened applications will be performed according to the criteria listed in Section 5.2. Evaluators shall be experts in the field relevant to the applications and may include representatives of other Canadian government departments as well as external consultants. A review committee will then make an overall selection based on the priorities of the Government of Canada and the CSA such as, but not limited to, geographic representation, gender representation, growth potential, commercialization opportunity, return on investment, implication of HQP and science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) students. Contribution agreements will be offered to the applicants in this final list to maximize the use of available funding (Section 6).

Before a final decision is made, the CSA's Program manager responsible for this AO may seek input and advice from other organizations, including (but not limited to) federal, provincial, territorial and municipal government agencies and organizations.

To determine the amount of funding to be allocated, consideration will be given to the availability of CSA funds, the total cost of the project, and the other confirmed sources of funds provided by other stakeholders and the applicant.

6. Funding

6.1 Available funding and duration

The total funding available under this AO 5.1 is currently expected to be approximately $9M, with the following maximum per project:

  • CSA's maximum contribution for any project is $1 million

The maximum duration for any project is 24 months with a possibility of extension to 36 months. Extensions will be evaluated on a case by case basis to the recipient's demand.

The overall number of contributions awarded will depend on the availability of funds.

Each eligible recipient can be funded for a maximum of 2 projects under this AO.

Approved proposals will be eligible for a total government (federal, provincial/territorial and municipal) assistance of up to a maximum of 75% of total eligible project costs. Thus, the maximum assistance of $1 million will be available for projects with $1.33 million of total eligible project costs.

Company financial statements for the last two years and the most recent interim results will be requested, in a later phase of the evaluation process, as a condition to signing a contribution agreement. It is not required to submit financial statements with the application.

To determine the amount of funding to be allocated, consideration will be given to the availability of CSA funds, the total cost of the project, and the other confirmed sources of funds provided by other stakeholders and the applicant.

Applicants must identify all sources of funding in their applications and confirm this information in a funding agreement if the project is selected for funding. Upon completion of a project, the recipient must also disclose all sources of funding.

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

6.2 Eligible costs

Eligible costs are direct expenses that are 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 funding agreement in the form of a contribution with the CSA.

Eligible costs are limited to one or a combination of the following categories (see definitions):

  • acquisition or rental of equipment (not to exceed 20% of the total project eligible costs);
  • consultant services;
  • data acquisition;
  • laboratory analysis services;
  • material and supplies;
  • overhead (administrative) costs (not to exceed 15% of project eligible costs);
  • salariesFootnote 1 and benefits; and
  • travel.

7. Funding agreements

7.1 Payments

The CSA and each successful applicant (the recipient) will sign a funding agreement. This is 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 reimbursed.

7.2 Audit

The recipient of a funding agreement shall keep proper records of all documentation related to the funded project, for the duration of the project and for six (6) years after the completion date of the project, in the event of an audit. This documentation shall be available upon request. The CSA intends to audit at least 5% of all funded projects upon their completion.

7.3 Conflict of interest

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

Note: Current employees of the CSA are not eligible to participate in any way in any application under this AO.

7.4 Intellectual property

All intellectual property developed by the recipient in the course of the project shall vest in the recipient.

7.5 Organizations in Quebec

An organization in Quebec whose operations are partially or fully funded by the province of Quebec may be subject to the Act Respecting the Ministère du Conseil exécutif, R.S.Q., Chapter M-30.

Under Sections 3.11 and 3.12 of this Act, certain entities/organizations, as defined in the meaning of the Act, such as municipal bodies, school bodies, or public agencies, must obtain authorization from the Secrétariat aux relations canadiennes du Québec, as indicated by the Act, before signing any funding agreement with the Government of Canada, its departments or agencies, or a federal public agency.

Consequently, any entity that is subject to the Act is responsible for obtaining such authorization before signing any funding agreement with the Government of Canada.

Quebec applicants must complete, sign and include the M-30 Supporting documentation form with their application.

7.6 Performance measurement

The CSA will ask the recipients to report on the following topics:

  • Knowledge creation
    • Knowledge production
      • Initial and final TRL achieved under the project
      • Number of technology breakthroughs
      • Achievements resulting from research
    • Publications and presentations
    • Number and types of Foreground intellectual property (FIP) generated (e.g., trademark, patent, copyright, know-how, etc.)
  • Capacity building
    • HQP (by gender) involved directly and indirectly in the project
    • Number of students or post-docs involved during the project
    • Number and nature of industrial core capabilities and products developed
    • Number and nature of infrastructures developed
  • Collaboration
    • Number of different organizations involved
    • Number of different disciplines
  • Benefits generated by the Canadian Government support in the short to medium (term 2-5 years)
    • Return on investment (ROI) that the government contribution has supported.
    • Success stories in the sale/use of the developed technology
    • Evolution of the company and positioning in the world market

As a courtesy, the CSA would like to receive a copy of publications arising from the work, and to be informed in advance of significant press releases or media interest resulting from the work.

8. Privacy notice statement

The CSA will comply with the federal Access to Information Act and Privacy Act with respect to applications received. By submitting personal information, an applicant is consenting to its collection, use and disclosure in accordance with the following Privacy Notice Statement, which explains how the 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 G&C 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 and biographical information) included in the rejected proposals will be stored in a CSA Personal Information Bank for five (5) years and then destroyed (Personal Information File no. ASC PPU045). Personal information included in the successful proposals will be kept along with the proposal results for historical purposes. These data are protected under the Privacy Act. According to the Privacy Act, the data linked to an 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 shall note that for all agreements, information related to the funding agreement (amount, grant or contribution, name of the recipient and project location) will be made available to the public on the CSA website.

For additional information on privacy matters prior to submitting a proposal, please contact:

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

9. Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

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

For any questions related to the AO, applicants shall use the following generic email address Questions and answers related to this AO will be posted on the CSA website in the Frequently asked questions section of this AO. The CSA will respond to questions received before .

At any point, applicants are welcome to share with the CSA their comments or suggestions regarding the AO, the program or the process. Applicants may either use the generic email address or the generic web-based Comments and suggestions box.

Question 1: We are considering proposing a project that would require non-Canadian expertise in order to support the key project activities that will otherwise be conducted in Canada. In order to help us scope the project work share, could you please clarify the following:

  1. Are there any rules we should apply in terms of maximum work share (e.g. as a percentage of the total project budget) that can be allocated to the non-Canadian partner?
  2. Are there any specific justifications that our proposal should contain in order to explain why the work to be performed by the non-Canadian partner cannot be conducted in Canada?
  3. There are no evaluation criteria related to the presence of a non-Canadian partner. Can you confirm that the presence of a non-Canadian partner will not penalise the evaluation of the proposal, that no evaluation criteria take into account the presence of a non-Canadian partner, and that having a non-Canadian partner will not have a negative impact on the chances of success of a proposal?

Answer 1:

  1. Please see section 3.5: Basic R&D activities supported under this AO shall be undertaken in Canada unless it is essential to the success of the project.

    The intent of this AO is to provide funding to enhance the R&D capacity of the Canadian industry and, as such, R&D activities supported under this AO shall be undertaken in Canada. Foreign consultants are acceptable as eligible costs as long as reasonable efforts to find Canadian consultants have been demonstrated.

  2. It is up to the applicant to provide the appropriate justification as to why the work to be performed by the non-Canadian partner cannot be conducted in Canada as the justification can vary. The CSA will evaluate the justification on a case-by-case basis.

  3. As mentioned in answer 1b, it is up to the applicant to justify why the work needs to be performed outside of Canada and although there is no specific evaluation criterion related to the presence of non-Canadian partners, the following criterion evaluates the creation of highly skilled jobs in Canada: Outcomes and benefits to Canada.

Question 2: Consultant services

  1. For pricing purposes, could you please clarify what constitutes a valid 'consultant service', versus the work to be conducted by the project team and that should be costed under the category 'salaries and benefits'?
  2. Can you please also clarify if cost of consultant services may include a profit margin?

Answer 2:

  1. Consultants can not be employees on the recipient's payroll. Eligible personnel for the "salaries and benefits" category must be employees on the recipient's payroll. Please also see Eligible Costs Definitions.
  2. Consultant services may include a profit margin. Please refer to section 6.2.

Question 3: Can the closing date of the AO be extended?

Answer 3: The closing date of the AO will not be extended and will remain as stated in section 4.1.

Question 4: To make an application, is a company required to be anything more than a legally registered corporation? Are there any other licenses or registrations that would be required?

Answer 4: The eligible recipients for this AO are described as the following: "Eligible recipients are limited to for-profit and not-for-profit organizations established and operating in Canada, excluding academic institutions" (see section 3.1). Each application to this AO must include a copy of the document(s) confirming the legal name of the applicant (see section 4.1 Required documentation). The document that confirms the legal name of the applicant is the Certificate of Incorporation or the Letters Patent of Incorporation.

Question 5: If we collaborate with an academic partner and that partner leverages additional funding to support their portion of the work such as NSERC Engage grants or provincial OCE grants, would this cause the CSA to reduce their maximum contribution to the project below the maximum?

Answer 5: The total governmental assistance of 75% (i.e. stacking limit) applies to the total project costs. If the other government grant supports the same eligible costs of the project then it will count towards the stacking limit or 75%. The CSA's maximum contribution amount listed in the AO remains the same and the other government support can be in addition to the CSA maximum as long as the total government support does not exceed 75% of total project costs (see section 6.1).

Question 6: For the purposes of this AO, what definition of Highly Qualified People (HQP) is being used? Are HQP considered to be only current masters or PhD students, or do they also include college students in a STEM-related field, or individuals who have already graduated?

Answer 6: HQP in this AO is defined as project managers, engineers, scientists, post-doc fellows, and technicians. Students are defined separately and can be current Masters, PhD, and college students in a STEM-related field.

Question 7: Regarding the above announcement of opportunity, does the SACC manual apply in this case? Specifically, does the SACC manual, Section 1, subsection 07 () on delayed bids apply for this submission?

Answer 7: The SACC Manual does not apply as the AO generates contributions managed by the CSA and not contracts managed by Public Services and Procurement Canada. In terms of deadlines for applications, please see Section 4.1. All applications received after this date and time will be rejected.

Question 8: In order to apply to this AO, my enterprise has just registered as a sole proprietorship. Do I have to incorporate?

Answer 8: It is not required to incorporate. Eligible recipients are for-profit and not-for-profit organizations established and operating in Canada, excluding academic institutions (see section 3.1). The CSA requires documents that prove the legal status of an enterprise. This could include registration documents, a Certificate of Incorporation or the Letters Patent of Incorporation. The proof of legal status of the enterprise is required with the application and before the closing date of the AO.

Question 9: In reference to section 6.1 – Available funding and duration
For a contribution agreement to be signed, the financial statements of the two past years as well as the most recent interim results of an enterprise have to be provided in a later phase of the evaluation process. My enterprise has just been registered. I do not have financial statements for the past two years, nor interim results. May I still apply?

Answer 9: Yes, you may still apply. In the case the enterprise has recently been registered and financial statements do not exist, they will not be required. The date of registration or incorporation will be required to prove that the enterprise has not existed long enough for financial statements to exist and to be provided.

Question 10: Is it sufficient to utilize a labor category rate (minus overhead) or is the individual's salary necessary. For example, at my company we have labor categories for RF engineer, all RF engineers are billed internally to projects at that rate. However an employee is paid a salary which may be more or less than the hourly labor category rate. Which rate is required by the CSA?

Answer 10: The individual's salary is required. The amount invoiced shall be actual gross pay for the work performed and shall include no markup for profit, selling, administration or financing. 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. For complete details, please see definition of salaries and benefits provided in section 6.2.

Question 11: Can the CSA comment on eligibility of suggested projects?

Answer 11: For the sake of fairness, the CSA cannot provide feedback on project eligibility during the AO's posting period. Applicants must refer to section 3 to determine if a project is eligible.

Question 12: Can you clarify what is an independent site?

Answer 12: For the purpose of the AO, a site is considered as being a physical location where R&D takes place. Independence within the sites would take place when each site is responsible for their own R&D and do not depend on other sites to conduct R&D tasks. It is expected that each site is capable of producing their own financial statements.

Question 13: Can you clarify what is meant by "Eligible projects do not include application development related to Earth Observation data, Satellite Telecommunications data, and Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) data."?

Answer 13: Any form of application development using space-based data is considered ineligible for funding under this AO.

Question 14: Can we provide figures to support our proposal?

Answer 14: Yes, figures need to be included in the form along with the answers to the questions.

Question 15: Can we provide letters of interest or support letters?

Answer 15: Yes, these can be included in Annex and referenced in the body of the answer in the application form.

Question 16 : Section 6.1 says "Each eligible recipient can be funded for a maximum of 2 projects under this AO." In that sentence, does "this AO" refer to the current AO (ex: AO 5.1), or AO5 as a whole?

Answer 16: We refer to the current AO.

Question 17: Can you clarify what is understood by Earth Observation Data?

Answer 17: Earth Observation data includes any data that is coming from the observation of the Earth.

Question 18: What is the maximum technology readiness level that can be reached?

Answer 18: TRL 6 is the maximum TRL supported by AO5.

Question 19: Can you clarify if only one entity can submit a proposal for this AO or a consortium of partners are also accepted?

Answer 19: The contribution agreement can be put in place with only one recipient organization.

Question 20: In the case where more than one organization is not only involved in the project but furthermore seek to share the required total 25% investment, is this recognizable, or must all investment come from the lead recipient, as in past AOs?

Example: Company A receives the award, and works with Company B and Company C as subcontractors or consultants. If Company A invests say 15% of the total eligible project costs, and Company B invests another 5% of total project cost, and Company C invests another 5%, then can the sum of the three investment amounts (15% + 5% + 5%) be considered as fulfilling the total 25% investment requirement, assuming it is fully documented? Or would the amount recognized by CSA be only the 15% invested by the recipient Company A?

Answer 20: The entire incurred expenses must come from the recipient of the agreement.

Please see note in the Application Form, Section 4 – Sources of Funding: in-kind contributions are not considered eligible sources of funding. The funding amount should be expected to be an incurred cost by the applicant.

In the example provided, only the 15% of incurred cost by the recipient A would be considered eligible. However, if Company A is invoiced by Company B and Company C for the remaining 10% of eligible costs and this invoice is paid, then Company A will have incurred a total expense of 25%.

Question 21: If eligible, can an organization submit one project to two different AO categories.

Answer 21: Yes. The organization is required to submit the required documentation as defined in section 4.1 for each application.

Question 22: The standards for evaluating TRL that are presented in the NASA Systems Engineering Handbook and the ESA TRL handbook are slightly different. Which standard would you like us to use?

Answer 22: TRL evaluation must be aligned with definitions provided in section 3.5.

Question 23: Can additional technical and corporate material be added in annex?

Answer 23: Additional relevant documentation can be added in annex and referenced in the application form. Adding a bibliography is optional.

Note that only the content of the application form will be evaluated.

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