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Supplements to the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada Postdoctoral Fellowships Program 2021

On this page

  1. Introduction
  2. AO objectives
  3. Eligibility criteria
  4. How to apply
  5. Service standards
  6. Evaluation process
  7. Available Funding
  8. Grants agreement
  9. Confidentiality
  10. Frequently asked questions

Announcement of Opportunity (AO)

Publication date:

Application deadline:

The Canadian Space Agency (CSA) only receives applications when the selection process is open.

Electronic Proposal Portal functional again – Update:

Please note that the Electronic Proposal Portal, which must be used by applicants to submit their application electronically (as detailed in Section 4 of this AO) is functional again. Please follow the instructions provided in Section 4 of this AO to learn how to submit your application.

Electronic Proposal Portal out of service and extension of the application deadline – Update:

Please note that the Electronic Proposal Portal, which must be used by applicants to submit their application (as detailed in Section 4 of this AO) is currently out of service. The CSA is working to implement an alternative solution. Consequently, the deadline for submitting applications has been extended to . Please visit this page regularly for updates regarding this situation, and the procedure for submitting your application.

Key dates:

1. Introduction

The objective of this Supplements to the NSERC PDF Program AO is to award a grant supplement to postdoctoral researchers who will have been awarded an NSERC postdoctoral fellowship under NSERC's PDF program.

NSERC's program provides support to a core of the most promising researchers at a pivotal time in their careers. The fellowships also aim to secure a supply of highly qualified Canadians with leading-edge scientific and research skills for Canadian industry, government and academic institutions.

As part of its commitment to support the development of the next generation of space professionals in Canada, the CSA will offer up to five (5) supplements in the amount of $20,000 to postdoctoral researchers who have been awarded an NSERC postdoctoral fellowship, and who are involved in a promising research project that is aligned with and that will contribute to the priorities outlined in the Space Strategy for Canada. The CSA invites postdoctoral researchers interested by this opportunity to apply for a grant supplement through this AO.

This AO is consistent with the terms and conditions of the CSA Class Grant and Contribution Program to Support Research, Awareness and Learning in Space Science and Technology –Learning 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 grant agreement, the latter document will take precedence.

2. AO objectives

The key objectives of this AO are to:

3. Eligibility criteria

To be awarded a grant under the Supplements to the NSERC PDF Program initiative, applicants must meet the following eligibility criteria:

Note: At the time of submitting an application under this AO, it is not expected that NSERC will have awarded its postdoctoral fellowships. However, proof that these eligibility criteria have been met may be requested prior to finalizing the grant agreement.

4. How to apply

In this section

Important note: Since being awarded and accepting an NSERC postdoctoral fellowship is an eligibility criterion under this AO, applicants must also submit an application under NSERC's PDF Program in order to be considered by the CSA for a grant supplement.

Applicants must read the following section carefully and follow all of the steps that are indicated below in order to ensure their applications are completed and submitted successfully.

4.1. How to submit an application electronically (recommended)

  1. Download and complete the grant application form (Word, 137 KB);
  2. Combine the following documents into a single PDF-formatted file, in the same order as is presented below. A complete application must contain the following:
    • A completed application form signed by the applicant. Electronic, scanned or typed signatures will be accepted for the time being, however applicants must keep a hard copy of the original application form signed by hand (in ink), as the CSA may require the documents with the original signature later in the process;
    • A copy of the applicant's application submitted to NSERC under their PDF Program (can be downloaded as a PDF file from the NSERC application website);
    • A proof that the applicant will conduct their postdoctoral research work in a Canadian academic institution or another appropriate research institution in Canada (see section 3 above) (e.g., a Letter of Attestation from the institution).

    The documents requested must be combined into a single PDF-formatted file, in the same order in which they are presented above.

    The applicant must keep one hard copy of all the original documents above. The CSA may require applicants who successfully passed the evaluation stage described in section 6 to send a hard copy of their complete application with the original documents (with the exception of the application submitted to NSERC under their PDF Program, for which a printed copy from the NSERC application website will be sufficient).

  3. Submit your completed application electronically:
    • Submit an account creation request using the Electronic Proposal Portal. Please note that Google Chrome is the browser of choice for submissions. Supported browsers are Google Chrome and Internet Explorer with some restrictions.
    • In the "Proposal title" field of the Electronic Proposal Portal, please use the following formatting standard: NSERC PDF Supplements _LAST NAME_FIRST NAME.
    • In the "Organization" section, under "Type", please ensure to select "I don't represent an organization (individual)".
    • Allow approximately 72 hours for the CSA to send you an email confirming your account creation as well as instructions (user guide) on how to access the platform. It is strongly recommended that you submit your account creation request no later than .
    • Using the temporary password assigned to you by the CSA, login to the secured portal to upload protected documents.
    • Please refer to the user guide for instructions on how to securely upload your documents.

IMPORTANT NOTES:

  • Applicants using the electronic portal are encouraged to create their account no later than , as technical difficulties may arise. If technical issues cannot be resolved, applicants can submit their application by mail (see below). Applicants are strongly encouraged to upload their complete application well before the submission deadline;
  • Applications must be submitted (successfully uploaded) by the applicants no later than at 1:00 PM (ET). A late application is considered to be one that has an electronic timestamp on the CSA system later than the deadline above;
  • The onus is on the applicant to ensure that their application is complete and that all documents are uploaded or received by the CSA within the prescribed deadline;
  • The CSA is not responsible for electronic delivery delays under any circumstances, and will refuse applications that are received after the prescribed deadline;
  • Hand-delivered applications will not be accepted;
  • Applications sent by e-mail will not be accepted;
  • Applicants are asked to not send their application both electronically and by mail or courier service. If multiple applications are submitted, only the latest valid version received will be considered;
  • Incomplete applications may not be considered.

4.2. How to submit an application by mail or using a recognized courier service

  1. Download and complete the grant application form (Word, 137 KB).
  2. Assemble the application package. A complete application must contain the following:
    • A completed original application form signed by hand (in ink) by the applicant (electronic, scanned and typed signatures will not be accepted);
    • A copy of the applicant's application submitted to NSERC under their PDF Program (can be downloaded as a PDF file from the NSERC application website);
    • A proof that the applicant will hold their postdoctoral research work in a Canadian academic institution or another appropriate research institution in Canada (see section 3 above) (e.g., a Letter of Attestation from the institution).

    The hard copies of all the documents listed above must be placed in the same order in which they are presented above.

  3. Send your application, by mail or using a recognized courier service, to the following address:

    Supplements to the NSERC PDF Program Initiative
    c/o Emilie de La Haye Duponsel
    Canadian Space Agency
    6767 Route de l'Aéroport
    Saint-Hubert, Quebec J3Y 8Y9

IMPORTANT NOTES:

  • Applications sent by mail or courier must be received at the CSA no later than at 1:00 PM (ET).
  • The onus is on the applicant to ensure that their application is complete and that all documents are received at the CSA within the prescribed deadline;
  • The CSA is not responsible for mail delivery delays under any circumstances, and will refuse applications that are received after the prescribed deadline;
  • Hand-delivered applications will not be accepted;
  • Applications sent by e-mail will not be accepted;
  • Applicants are asked to not send their application both electronically and by mail or courier service. If multiple applications are submitted, only the latest valid version received will be considered;
  • Incomplete applications may not be considered.

5. Service standards

Applicants will be notified by e-mail of decisions regarding their application. The CSA has set the following service standards for application processing times, including acknowledgements of receipt, funding decisions and payment procedures.

Meeting these service standards is a shared responsibility. Applicants must provide all the required documents in a timely manner.

Key dates for the AO (these dates will be updated for the 2022 and 2023 AOs):

6. Evaluation process

In this section

6.1. Eligibility

Applications will first be submitted to an eligibility assessment by the CSA to verify whether they comply with the eligibility criteria listed in section 3 of the AO. At this stage, the CSA will validate with NSERC whether the applicant is considered by NSERC for a postdoctoral fellowship under their program. Proof that the applicant has been awarded, and has accepted, an NSERC postdoctoral fellowship under NSERC's PDF Program will be verified by the CSA later in the evaluation process.

Only applications that have passed the eligibility assessment described above will be given further consideration.

6.2. Evaluation

Once the eligibility criteria are confirmed, the CSA's evaluators will assess the screened applications according to the criteria presented in Table 1 below. Applicants shall provide the appropriate documents, as indicated in the "Evidence" column and requested in Section 4, to demonstrate how each evaluation criterion is met.

Table 1. Summary table of evaluation criteria
Criteria (weighting in %) Indicators Evidence
Education and experience
(10%)
  • Academic background;
  • Past research including thesis (theses) completed;
  • Other relevant work experience.
Copy of the applicant's application submitted to NSERC under their PDF Program.
Interest and career goals in
space disciplines
(30%)
  • Applicant's motivation in pursuing a career in Canada in a space-related discipline or in a discipline from which the space sector could benefit.
Answer provided in Section D of Application form.
The proposed research's
alignment with and
contribution to the priorities
outlined in the
Space Strategy for Canada.
(60%)
  • Contribution of the proposed research to solving a problem related to a priority outlined in the Space Strategy for Canada;

    or

  • Contribution of the proposed research to providing solutions that are strategic or innovative, as well as implementable, in alignment with the priorities outlined in the Space Strategy for Canada.
Answer provided in Section E of Application form.

Applicants shall provide the appropriate documents, as requested in section 4 of the AO, to allow proper evaluation of their application.

Applications will be rated on a 100-point rating scale. Only applications that obtain a minimum score of 70% will be given further consideration. The final score will be used to establish a ranking of applications.

Note: The CSA may, at its sole discretion, reject any application that fails the evaluation.

6.3. Final selection

For the final selection, the CSA will first consider the applicants having the highest final scores.

The award of the CSA supplements is conditional upon the applicant having been awarded an NSERC postdoctoral fellowship (as per the eligibility criteria outlined in section 3). As such, the CSA will confirm with NSERC that the applicants selected through this AO have accepted and been awarded their NSERC postdoctoral fellowship prior to notifying applicants of its decision.

Because of limited funding, priority may be given to applicants who have not previously been funded directly by the CSA.

The CSA could also take into consideration factors such as a balanced grants distribution across Canada as well as a diversified representativeness among underrepresented groups in the space sector, particularly women. The CSA encourages applicants to indicate on a voluntary basis in their application form if they belong to one or more of the underrepresented groups. Please visit this site for a complete definition of each group.

Important note: Applicants selected by NSERC through its PDF Program have several months to accept their postdoctoral fellowship once NSERC advises them of their selection. As such, NSERC will confirm to the CSA at different points throughout the year which applicants selected under this AO have accepted their fellowships, hence confirming their eligibility for the CSA supplement. The CSA may proceed with two rounds of decision notifications per application cycle if fewer than five (5) applicants are selected after the first round of decisions in a given application cycle. Applicants may refer to section 5 for information on key dates and service standards.

7. Available Funding

The total funding available under this AO () is $100,000 to support up to five (5) postdoctoral fellows for this application cycle. Note that two additional application cycles are planned ( and ). Supplements will be made available to recipients through grant agreements, in the form of bursaries. The total amount for each grant is $20,000 over a period of two (2) years ($10,000 annually).

Each eligible recipient can be funded for one (1) project under this AO.

The CSA reserves the right to reject applications, to reduce the amount of a grant at its sole discretion or to not award any grants under this AO.

The CSA will provide grant recipients with the necessary personal income tax slips in a timely manner.

8. Grants agreement

In this section

8.1. Payments

Payments will be made in the form of two (2) instalments as described in the signed grant agreement. Grant agreements will include a clause stipulating the recipient's obligation to confirm, after the first year, their eligibility for the G&C Program – Learning Component, and inform the CSA in writing of any changes to the conditions used in determining their eligibility for this component.

Prior to the second instalment, the recipient will have to submit a progress report that will be reviewed by the CSA program manager at the same time than the recipient's eligibility will be reassessed.

8.2. Final report

The CSA will require that each recipient submit a report outlining the achievements and outcomes of their postdoctoral research within 30 days following the end of the grant agreement.

9. Confidentiality

The CSA manages and protects the information provided by the applicant in accordance with 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 - Learning Component (ASC PPU 040). The information will be used for administration and application evaluation purposes and may be shared with NSERC for these purposes. Personal information will be kept accordingly to the retention schedule. You may also refer to Info Source for additional information about the functions, programs, activities and related information holdings of government institutions subject to the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act. 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:

Access to Information and Privacy Office
Canadian Space Agency
Telephone: 450-926-4866
Email: aiprp-atip@asc-csa.gc.ca

10. Frequently asked questions

Should the need arise, it is the applicant's responsibility to obtain clarifications regarding the requirements contained in this opportunity before applying.

For all questions, applicants must use this generic e-mail address: asc.stim-stem.csa@canada.ca. Questions and their answers will be posted on the CSA website under the "Frequently Asked Questions" section of this AO. The CSA will not answer questions received after 5:00PM (ET) on .

Question 1: Are postdoctoral fellows that have been awarded a fellowship under other NSERC programs, such as Alliance, eligible under this AO?

Answer 1: No, the Alliance Grants program is a separate initiative. This AO aims at awarding grant supplements to postdoctoral researchers who will have been awarded an NSERC postdoctoral fellowship under NSERC's PDF Program specifically.

Question 2: Are recipients that have been awarded an NSERC Postdoctoral Fellowship under a call for proposals from a previous year eligible for a CSA grant supplement under this AO?

Answer 2: No, as per section 3 of the AO, only recipients of an NSERC postdoctoral fellowship awarded under the call for proposals of the NSERC PDF Program are eligible under this AO.

Question 3: Question 5 of the application form relates to whether the applicant has previously received funding from the CSA. In the affirmative, details on the funding received must be provided by the applicant. Should the applicant report CSA funding received by their research supervisor, which in turn supported the applicant's research?

Answer 3: No. Applicants must only report direct CSA funding, i.e., funding for which they were the primary applicant and primary beneficiary.

Question 4: As per the AO, a complete application must contain a proof that the applicant will conduct their postdoctoral research work in a Canadian academic institution or another appropriate research institution in Canada. Could this proof be a letter from the proposed supervisor or should it come from elsewhere in the institution?

Answer 4: A letter from the proposed supervisor or a letter of attestation from the institution are both considered acceptable proof that the research project will be conducted in a Canadian academic institution or another appropriate research institution in Canada.

Question 5: Can an applicant submit their research topic to the CSA prior applying under this AO to confirm if this topic is of interest to the CSA?

Answer 5: No, the CSA will not review applicants' research topics in advance. It is the applicant's responsibility to demonstrate, through their application under this AO, how their research project is promising, aligns with and will contribute to the priorities outlined in the Space Strategy for Canada.

Question 6: Is an applicant who did not indicate a Canadian research institution as a home base for their project in their application to NSERC still eligible to apply under this AO? Can they amend their original proposal submitted under the NSERC AO to include a Canadian research institution?

Answer 6: Applicants must comply with all the eligibility criteria outlined in section 3 of this AO, including the criterion that relates to being a postdoctoral fellow and conducting a research project under the supervision and mentorship of a more senior researcher in a Canadian academic institution or another appropriate research institution in Canada. In addition, applicants must include in their application form submitted to the CSA with a copy of the application submitted to NSERC under their PDF Program. It is the applicant's responsibility to verify with NSERC whether they can modify the application they have submitted.

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