Bridging the Information Gap with Space-Based Analytics
Industrial capacity-building contribution
Announcement of Opportunity
Table of contents
- AO objectives
- Eligibility criteria
- Funding agreements
- Privacy notice statement
- 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: $300,000
- Estimated total amount for the announcement of opportunity (AO): $3M
- Maximum timeframe of the project: 24 months
- Estimated projects start date:
The world is witnessing an unprecedented data revolution and expansion of advanced, disruptive technologies. This recent industrial revolution is being driven by massive amounts of new data sources in parallel with the development of powerful analytical systems that are capable of ingesting and processing the high volumes of data and imagery that today's space assets produce, including: cloud computing, big data analytics, artificial intelligence (AI) and deep learning (DL), 5G mobile, satellite communications, continuous Earth Observation (EO) and ubiquitous networks for locational and navigation purposes. As the National Space Forum in revealed, the downstream space sector is not yet ready to cope or respond to this fast digital transformation of the market, especially with the ability to process and analyze the increasing volumes of data in order to improve, modernize, optimize and capture the new emerging markets that these disruptive technologies have generated.
While the availability of the growing volume of environmental data from space represents a unique opportunity for science and applications, it also poses a major challenge to achieve its full potential in terms of data exploitation. For example, RADARSAT Constellation Mission (RCM) data will provide daily five times the volume of data (1.5 TB per day) currently delivered by RADARSAT-2. For Sentinel missions, the daily volume of data is ten times higher (15-30 TB/day). This trend will continue with the multiplication of new EO missions planned by governments and commercial sectors in upcoming years.
In the traditional approach, the data and analysis tools are usually located within each single user's premises, resulting in the need to have multiple data copies with individual access and separate processing facilities, which is inefficient and costly. In the context of today's massive data volumes, this approach is no longer sustainable.
In order to keep pace with the new advances in technology and data, and to capitalize on the opportunity that these revolutionary developments present, it is vital to the sustainable prosperity of Canadian industry to be at the forefront in driving breakthrough applications for the benefit of the nation's institutions and citizens, and to continue to create exportable systems, products and services for the international marketplace. Only through innovation and continued investments in R&D can Canada ensure that it has the industrial depth and breadth to better adapt to the current transformations and to remain a valued player in the international arena.
The Canadian Space Agency (CSA) is issuing this AO through its newly announced smartEarth initiative. The smartEarth initiative has been created to:
- Accelerate innovation in the delivery of new and improved space-based applications yielding solutions that respond more quickly and creatively to opportunities and priorities of importance to Canada;
- Foster networking and collaboration among Canadian actors, provide directions to facilitate access to Canadian and world sources of free and open space data;
- Stimulate uptake of spaceborne geosensing and geolocation data and
- Develop capacities within industry and research communities, enhancing the competitiveness of Canadian industry and generating growth and economic benefits for Canadians.
The smartEarth initiative is delivered through three activity Tracks that cover the whole spectrum of the downstream value chain and include the following: fast-tracking innovation (Accelerator Track), strengthening relationships through mobilizing projects (Integrator Track) and improving the knowledge and growth of the sector (Enabler Track). This particular AO is being offered through the Enabler Track to better position the downstream industry to become further engaged in the new data revolution and to increase its capacity to access and use the available sources of data by building and creating the tools and methods necessary to fully exploit the potential of future space missions for growth.
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 to ensure that the Canadian downstream space sector capitalizes on the data revolution so that it can develop the necessary capabilities, through R&D activities and projects, to better adapt to the current transformations in the digital marketplace and to open new opportunities that will:
- Make the most of the growing volume of open data available;
- Make the most of accessibility to a wider variety of data types (EO, Non-EO, IoT, etc.);
- Infuse new numerical approaches such as AI, Machine Learning (ML) and DL in areas and markets where there exist Big Data challenges, and where EO data can contribute;
- Identify innovative ways through further research and testing with actual imagery to maximise the use satellite data and other environmental data sources;
- Create partnerships with AI experts in the private sector and academia.
In particular, as different technologies and applications progress, it is vital to the success of the concepts to continue to improve and become more relevant to the user community. At the same time it is recognized that advancements occur at differing rates for different technologies and applications, leaving knowledge and information gaps that still need to be bridged.
An important goal for this AO is to take an existing level of capability in the marketplace where gaps or opportunities may occur and to move it up a level on the Application Readiness Level (ARL) scale, resulting in the improvement of Canadian industry's competitiveness capabilities and service offerings of the downstream sector. For this purpose, the Applicant should clearly identify the current state-of-the-art and its corresponding ARL, and then identify the target ARL that the research intends to achieve, as well as explain how this will be accomplished in the appropriate application form section. The maximum level attainable under this AO is ARL 6.
The ARL system that has been created for the smartEarth context is comprised of the following structure:
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.
3.2 Eligible projects
The scope of the proposed concepts is broad and open in terms of the data, technologies and applications that may be considered provided that the concept represents a tangible advancement in the ARL ladder and bridges a gap in knowledge and information. This includes the following:
- Data: Any sources of EO data may be proposed for this purpose. Although new data sources such as the RCM are in need of new applications development, any type of EO data may be proposed for this AO. Given that the Government RADARSAT-2 data credit is nearing expiry (CSA's contribution to the construction of the satellite and ground segment was a pre-payment for orders of data by the Canadian Government), the CSA will not provide any RADARSAT data under this AO. It will be up to the applicant to obtain all of the data to be used in the project and to include data acquisition costs in the proposed project budget.
- Technologies and applications: The proposed concept may be related to data products, methods, systems or services provided that it is either new or an improvement to existing data products, methods, systems or services. Most importantly the proposed concept should represent a step up to a higher level in the ARL hierarchy, up to and including ARL 6.
- Applications areas: Canada has the potential for greater capacity building to meet the challenges for a broad range of applications. This AO may address any application area of importance and relevance to Canada.
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 grant or 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 aligns with CSA's New Space Strategy and vision for space, in particular with emphasis on the following three core elements of this vision:
- Harness space to solve everyday challenges for Canadians
- Position Canada's commercial space sector to help grow the economy and create the jobs of the future
- Ensure Canada's leadership in acquiring and using space-based data to support science excellence, innovation and economic growth
3.4 Links to Class 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.
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 science and technology activities that are carried out to resolve unknowns regarding the feasibility of applications in the space sector.
Due diligence will be applied to determine whether projects are compliant with this definition.
Basic R&D activities supported under this AO shall be undertaken in Canada unless it is essential to the success of the project.
4.1 Required documentation
The application must include the following:
- A completed original Application form (Word, 95 KB) 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). 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 proposed project;
- 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);
- 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;
- 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 post-mailed to the address below:
A/Senior Programs Officer - smartEarth
Canadian Space Agency
6767 Route de l'Aéroport
Saint-Hubert, Quebec J3Y 8Y9
Ref : Bridging the Information Gap with Space-Based Analytics: AO
- The application has to reach CSA before 14:00 (ET), .
- 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 2 weeks of receiving the completed application package.
Decision: The CSA's goal is to respond to the proposal within 12 weeks of the AO's closing date and to send a contribution agreement for signature within 18 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.
5.1 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 program funding provisions in Section 6.1.
5.2 Point rated evaluation criteria
Applications will be evaluated according to the following point rated criteria:
- Innovation and market need (25%)
- Basic R&D approach (20%)
- Project scope, feasibility, resources and risk assessment (15%)
- Outcomes and benefits to Canada (40%)
The page count limit to support each of the criteria is indicated on the Application Form.
1. Project description
Please provide a clear description of your project's objectives, expected deliverables and results and identify the application domain, project partners, study sites and provide a list of data types – maximum 2 pages.
2. Innovation and market need (25%)
- Explain the market needs and applications context associated with the proposed concept, including analysis of the market demands now and in the next 5 years and the emerging alternatives in the market – maximum 2 pages;
- Explain the novelty and innovations of your solution and how it advances state-of-the-art over existing approaches, including competing solutions. Include in your description the scientific and technological basis upon which your solution is proposed and explain how it is innovative – maximum 2 pages;
- Clearly identify the ARL of the current state-of-the-art and describe how the proposed concept moves the state-of-the-art to another ARL level. – maximum 1 page.
3. Basic R&D approach (20%)
Provide Basic R&D justification as explained in section 3.5 of the AO. In your description, you should:
- Explain the assumptions in which your research will be conducted – maximum 1 page;
- Describe the research approach and the methods that will be used to conduct the research – maximum 3 pages;
- Identify the data sets and study area that will be used in your research and explain how the data will help to demonstrate the proposed concept – maximum 3 pages.
4. Project scope, feasibility, resources and risk assessment (15%)
- Provide a brief description of the project team members, including partners. Provide the roles, responsibilities and how their expertise is relevant to the project. Members are allowed to have more than one role. Provide a brief summary of relevant projects done in the past 5 years or that are ongoing – maximum 2 pages;
- Provide the work breakdown structure of the project at the work package level. Include cost estimates per work package – maximum 2 pages;
- Provide the list of milestones and timeframe in months from start of project – maximum 1 page;
- Describe what are the key project risks (technical and managerial) their potential impact and how those risks will be mitigated – maximum 2 pages.
5. Outcomes and benefits to Canada (40%)
- Expected outcomes and results: describe the expected outcomes and specific technical results from the proposed research – 0.5 page;
- Innovation benefits: explain the proposed solution's expected contribution towards the enhancement or development of new industrial or technological innovation within your firm – maximum 1 page;
- Economic benefits: describe how the project's success would impact your firm in terms of potential increase of revenue and company growth, both nationally and internationally. Consideration should be given to the number of jobs created, including contributions to highly qualified people (HQP), science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and under-represented job groups; project and market related revenue growth; new partnerships; etc. Include how this could impact other firms in Canada more broadly – maximum 2 pages;
- Public Benefits: explain the proposed solution's expected contribution to the broader Canadian public and to the Canada's Innovation Skills Plan – maximum 0.5 page;
- Path to commercialization: describe a roadmap for implementing the concept for the space-based application that could lead to further commercialization – maximum 2 pages.
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 (ROI), implication of HQP and 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.
6.1 Available funding and duration
The total funding available under this AO is currently expected to be approximately $3.0M, with the following maximum per project:
- CSA's maximum contribution for any project will be $300,000
The maximum duration for any project is 24 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 1 project under this AO.
Approved proposals will be eligible for a total amount of government assistance (federal, provincial/territorial and municipal) of up to 75% of total eligible project costs.
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 cost definitions are provided in Appendix A.
- salaries and benefits (actual gross pay for the work performed);
- consultant services;
- material and supplies;
- acquisition or rental of equipment (not to exceed 20% of the total project eligible costs);
- data acquisition costs;
- data management fees;
- software licenses (commensurate with project value);
- travel; and
- overhead (administrative) costs (not to exceed 15% of project eligible costs).
7. Funding agreements
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. Payments will be made not more than once per three months period.
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.
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 du Québec aux relations canadiennes, 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 ARL 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.)
- Knowledge production
- Capacity building
- HQP 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
- 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)
- ROI that the government contribution has supported
- Success stories in the sale/use of the developed solution and application
- Evolution of the company and positioning in the world market
7.7 Open access publication
In the event that publications result from the project, the CSA wishes to promote the dissemination of findings that results from the projects it funds as quickly and to the greatest number of people as possible. Improved access to scientific results not only allows scientists to use a broader range of resources and knowledge, but also improves research collaboration and coordination, strengthens citizen engagement and supports the economy.
Thus, the CSA promotes the use of open access publication and archiving by recipients in order to facilitate the widest dissemination of findings that results from its funded projects. Thus, recipients are invited to publish, in a timely matter, their articles by using one of the following methods:
- Accessible online repository (institutional or disciplinary) so that the publication is freely accessible.
- Journal offering open access to articles.
It should be noted that these two methods are not mutually exclusive and that recipients are encouraged to use both.
Finally, the CSA wishes to receive, as a courtesy, a copy of the publications (if not freely accessible) or the hyperlink (if freely accessible) and its digital object identifier (DOI). These will be use to improve accessibility by including them in the CSA publications directory.
8. Privacy notice statement
The CSA manages and protects the information provided by the applicant under the Privacy Act and the Access to Information Act. By submitting your personal information, you consent to its collection, use and disclosure in accordance with the following Privacy Statement, which explains how the information about the applicant will be processed.
The information is collected under the CSA Class Grants and Contributions Program in Support of Awareness, Research and Learning - Research Component (ASC PPU 045) and Awareness and Learning Component (ASC PPU 040). This information will be used for administration and application evaluation purposes. Personal information (such as name, contact information and biographical information) will be kept for 6 years and destroyed. According to the Privacy Act, any individual may, upon request,
- have access to his or her personal data and
- request correction of the incorrect information.
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 additional information regarding this statement, please contact:
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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 12:00 noon (ET), .
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:
- 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?
- 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?
- 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?
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- 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'?
- Can you please also clarify if cost of consultant services may include a profit margin?
- Consultants cannot 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 in Appendix A.
- Consultant services may include a profit margin.
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 labour category rate (minus overhead) or is the individual's salary necessary. For example, at my company we have labour 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 labour 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 we provide figures to support our proposal?
Answer 12: Yes, figures need to be included in the form along with the answers to the questions.
Question 13: Can we provide letters of interest or support letters?
Answer 13: Yes, these can be included in Annex and referenced in the body of the answer in the application form.
Question 14: Section 6.1 says "
Each eligible recipient can be funded for a maximum of 1 project- under this AO." In that sentence, does "
this AO" refer only to the current AO?
Answer 14: We refer to the current AO.
Question 15: What is the maximum applications readiness level that can be reached?
Answer 15: ARL 6 is the maximum ARL.
Question 16: Can you clarify if only one entity can submit a proposal for this AO or a consortium of partners are also accepted?
Answer 16: The contribution agreement can be put in place with only one recipient organization.
Question 17: Can additional technical and corporate material be added in annex?
Answer 17: 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.
Question 18: In the AO, there is reference made to both "
funding agreements" and "
contribution agreements" that would result between the CSA and successful applicants; however, there is no reference made to what terms and conditions would be included in those resulting agreements. Could you please provide me with a copy of the agreements for review?
Answer 18: Funding agreements and contribution agreements refer to the same thing. Funding agreements will only be provided to successful applicants and are not made available during the AO process.
Question 19: Can a private sector primary applicant have a collaborating partner at a university listed as a co-applicant?
Answer 19: A collaborating partner from a university would not be considered a co-applicant, although some project work could be subcontracted to a university. However, contributions under this AO are for the benefit of for-profit and not-for-profit organizations established and operating in Canada (excluding academic institutions) and are aimed at advancing the (lead) Applicant's capabilities. The Applicant organization must demonstrate that it has the ability (knowledge, expertise and capability) to execute the project and may use outside services for specific tasks only, not for the project as a whole. The CSA will exercise due diligence when evaluating proposals to ensure that the Applicant organization is doing the majority of the project work.
Question 20: If one Canadian company takes the lead and a Canadian partner company is teaming with the lead company, what would be the maximum percentage the partner company could contribute to the project?
Answer 20: The Applicant organization (lead) must demonstrate that it has the ability (knowledge, expertise and capability) to execute the project and may use outside 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. There is no maximum percentage. However, the CSA will exercise due diligence when evaluating proposals to ensure that the Applicant organization is doing the majority of the project work.
Question 21: 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 21: 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 22: 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 22: 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 23: 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 23: 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.
Appendix A: Eligible costs definitions
No costs incurred prior to signing a Contribution Agreement can be considered as eligible project costs, either as a CSA or an Applicant contribution.
Acquisition or rental of equipment: Consists of equipment, including software rented, acquired or constructed exclusively for the project. In order to be eligible, such equipment must be identified in the project cost estimates, be commensurate with project scope and needs and approved by the CSA. All such equipment shall be charged to the project at the net price, including all costs incurred to get the equipment operational after deducting all trade discounts, rebates and similar charges. It includes also disposal costs. The PST, HST and GST must be excluded. Not to exceed 20% of total project eligible costs.
Consultant services: The nature of services to be acquired shall be set out in the proposal estimates. The amount eligible for a consultant shall be the actual contract amount. The CSA reserves the right to approve only a portion of the consultant fees submitted.
The Applicant 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 the case where consultant services are used, a detailed work plan must indicate the distribution of the work and the Intellectual Property Agreement must be provided. It must be clear that benefits will accrue to the Applicant.
Academic institutions are encouraged to be included in the work as consultants to the recipient but are not eligible as recipients of funds from the contribution agreements.
Data acquisition costs: commensurate with project scope.
Data management fees: Can include, but is not limited to, data archiving, cloud computing fees.
Overhead: This represents administrative expenses of doing business that are not readily identified with a particular project or activity, but are necessary for the general operation of the organization and the conduct of activities it performs. Not to exceed 15% of eligible costs.
Salaries and benefits:
Salaries include wages for all personnel with direct involvement in the project such as, but not limited to, engineers, scientists, technologists, researchers, project managers, students and administrative assistants. All eligible personnel must be employees on the recipient's payroll. Payment in terms of shares, stock, stock options and the like are not eligible. The amount invoiced shall be actual gross pay for the work performed and shall include no markup for profit, selling, administration or financing (PWGSC rates typically do not apply as they contain a profit element).
The eligible payroll cost is the gross pay of the employee (normal periodic remuneration before deductions). Normal periodic remuneration rates are the regular pay rates for the period excluding premiums paid for overtime or shift work. The payroll rate does not include any reimbursement or benefit conferred in lieu of salaries or wages. When hourly rates are being charged for salaried personnel, the hourly rates shall be the periodic remuneration (annual, monthly, weekly, etc.) divided by the total paid hours in the period including holidays, vacation and paid sickness time.
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.
Benefits are defined as a reasonable prorated share of expenses associated with the direct labour cost such as the employer's portion of Canada Pension Plan, Quebec Pension Plan and Employment Insurance, employee benefits such as health plan and insurance, Worker's Compensation, sick leave and vacation plus any other employer paid payroll related expenses. Those items which have no relationship to the project or which have been charged on an indirect basis are not eligible. The determination of the fringe benefits amount shall be in accordance with generally accepted cost accounting principles. In general, fringe benefits rate provided in the project estimate shall be computed once during the life of the project and agreed on prior to the signing of the agreement. If retroactive adjustments are made, these must be indicated on claims for the CSA's approval.
Travel: expenses shall be in direct relation to the project (ex. field work, project meetings). Proponent must indicate the number of trips and the number of days for each trip, the cost, destination and purpose of each journey, together with the basis of these costs which must not exceed the limits of the National Joint Council Office (NJC) Travel Directive. With respect to the Treasury Board Directive, only the meal, private vehicle and incidental allowances specified in Appendices B, C and D of the Directive, and the other provisions of the Directive referring to "travellers", rather than those referring to "employees", are applicable.
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