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Student Participation in the 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 ) and in the activities organized by the 'International Space Education Board' (ISEB), both to be held in Washington D.C., United States, between and . Some of the selected students could also be invited to participate in the Space Generation Congress (SGC ) which will also be held in Washington D.C., from to .

IAC is the International Astronautical Federation's (IAF) world premier global space event representing an excellent gathering venue for all specialists of the space sector. For students, it is an opportunity to learn more about the future of the great space adventure, to develop their international network and to present their research at the highest professional level.

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

The selected applicants may also be offered internships or short-term employment opportunities within the CSA after the IAC .

2. Eligibility criteria

To apply for the Student Participation in IAC , 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 IAF for a technical or poster presentation during the IAC .

For more information on IAC and how to submit an abstract, consult the following website: IAC  - Call for Papers.

Please note that the paper presentation (subject to IAF acceptance) during the IAC as well as the participation in all activities organized by ISEB will be mandatory for all students who will be selected by CSA for a 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 Student Participation in IAC .

  1. Download and complete the grant application form;
  2. A complete application 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 full time enrolment for winter semester;
    • A copy of your abstract/paper submitted to IAF for IAC (for more information regarding how to submit a paper please visit IAC  - Call for Papers);
    • A copy of IAF's response mentioning the status of your abstract/paper/poster (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 and SGC (if applicable), and proving your experience and / or your interest in space sector (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); and
    • Your CV.
  3. Mail your applications to the CSA at following address:

Student Participation in IAC
c/o Iulian Martin
Development Officer, Academic Development
Canadian Space Agency
6767 Route de l'Aéroport
Saint-Hubert, Quebec J3Y 8Y9

Important notes:

4. Selection process and criteria

This section provides details regarding the criteria and the process used to select the applicants who will receive grants.

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

  1. Students whose abstract has been selected by IAC and who have not participated in a previous IAC congress. If an insufficient number of applications meeting the minimum score as described below are received, then CSA will also consider:
  2. Students whose abstract has been selected by IAC and who have taken part in a previous IAC congress. If an insufficient number of applications meeting the minimum score as described below are received, then CSA will also consider:
  3. Students whose abstract has not been selected by IAC and who have not attended a previous IAC congress.

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 application will be evaluated taking into consideration the quality and the relevance of the student's letter of motivation, of the reference letter from a professor and of the abstract submitted to IAF.

Motivation letter:

The motivation letter should describe with enough details

  1. Your experience in space-related disciplines;
  2. What you expect to gain from attending the IAC and the SGC;
  3. Why you consider yourself as a good applicant; 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.


The abstract should be relevant to the IAF topics (see the Call for Papers for more information) and describe in a concise, clear and well-structured manner, among others, the problem, the objectives, the research methods, and the expected results or the outcomes of the work.

4.2 Evaluation matrix

All the evaluated criteria will be scored (poor, average, good or exceptional) according to the criteria described in Table 1 and the definitions below:

Table 1: Evaluation matrix
Evaluated criteria None/Poor Average Good Exceptional Minimum score
Motivation letter 0 4 7 10 4
Reference letter 0 4 7 10 4
Abstract 0 2 4 6 2
Minimal overall score         15

Poor: Most of the key information required to be presented is missing and/or the information provided is ambiguous, and/or no examples or facts are described.

Average: Some key information required to be presented is missing. The content provided includes minimal information and /or it 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 and supported by detailed examples and facts.

To be considered for a grant, the applicant should obtain the minimum score for each evaluated criteria and have a total minimum score of 15 out of 26.

4.3 Final selection

For the final selection, the CSA will consider the applicants having the highest final scores. The CSA could also take into consideration factors such as a balanced grants distribution across Canada as well as a diversified representativeness among the four designated groups. 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 . The selection of these students will be based on the number of seats offered to the CSA by SGAC and, the highest ranking score among selected and interested applicants.

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

5. Service standards

Applicants will be informed by e-mail regarding the decisions concerning their grant application. 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 the receipt of the applications within two (2) weeks following the AO's closing date.

Decisions: the CSA's objective is to respond within ten (10) weeks following the AO's closing date and, to send to selected students the grant agreements for signature within fifteen (15) working days following such replies.

Payment: the CSA's objective is to issue the payment within twenty (20) working days from the date of the receipt of 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 in IAC and ISEB activities

The maximum amount for each grant is $3,400 (or $4,200 for those who will also be selected for SGC). The total budget for this AO should be sufficient to support approximately fourteen (14) 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 applicants, in SGC . The funding should be used to cover the following items:

  1. round trip to Washington D.C.;
  2. IAC registration fees;
  3. accommodation in Washington D.C.; and
  4. meals for the duration of his/her stay during IAC and SGC (if applicable).

All other costs 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 $800 to their grant to participate in the SGC to be held in Washington D.C., US between and . Applicants' request to participate in SGC is optional, but it is deemed a prime opportunity for the student to develop their networks with other students and young 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 a payment. Such an agreement will include conditions to participate in SGC activities (if applicable) between and and in the mandatory activities organized by the ISEB between and and defined in the ISEB program.

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 applicable) using a template the CSA will make available in advance.

8. Confidentiality

The collected information will be used to evaluate and select the grant applications. 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. Personal information will be kept in a CSA personal information bank for five years according to the retention schedule.

Applicants should also note that information relating to the funding agreement could be disclosed publicly in accordance with the laws, policies and directives of the Government of Canada.

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, if applicable) to enter US, 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 IAC congress's activities and workshops, the SGC as well as the ISEB activities will mostly take place at or near the Walter E. Washington Convention Center.
  4. You should plan and organize your travel, both international and local.
  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 a limited time for CSA 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 regarding the requirements contained in this opportunity before applying.

For all questions, applicants must use this generic email address: Questions and their answers will be posted on this AO web page on the CSA website under the section "Frequently asked questions". The CSA will answer questions received no later than 5 p.m. (ET) 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: Can a Canadian student enrolled in a non Canadian university apply for a grant?

Answer 1: This funding opportunity is available only for the Canadian students registered in a full time program in a Canadian university. No waiver will be issued for this eligibility criteria.

Question 2: What exactly is meant by winter semester ?

Answer 2: For reference purposes, winter semester means the universities' term generally scheduled between and .

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