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Canadian Downstream Space Sector Delivering on Canada's Better Future

Industrial capacity-building contribution

Announcement of Opportunity

Publication date:

Application deadline:

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction and Background Context
  2. AO objectives
  3. Eligible Projects and Components
  4. Applications
  5. Evaluation
  6. Funding
  7. Funding agreements
  8. Privacy notice statement
  9. Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

Summary of key information:

  • 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 contribution amount per project: $150,000 to $500,000, depending on which project stream
  • Estimated total amount for the announcement of opportunity (AO): $8M
  • Number of potential agreements: 20-30 depending on applications
  • Maximum timeframe of the projects: 24 - 36 months depending on which project stream
  • Estimated projects start date: October 2021

1. Introduction and Background Context

Societies and economies are experiencing profound changes that involve significant transformation, such as a rapidly evolving labour market, technological revolutions, global climate change and environmental degradation. All these shifts interact in complex ways and challenge our previous understanding of effective social, economic and environmental models.

The space sector is also in transformation. Amongst the rapid changes on the world stage, two are having a major impact on the downstream space sector in Canada and abroad: the first is the massive proliferation of available space data sources and technologies, and the second is the ever-increasing number of global challenges related to sustainable development that are emerging for which space-based solutions may be applied.

This Announcement of Opportunity (AO) is intended to address these trends through the provision of contributions to the development of innovative space-based solutions by Canada's downstream industrial sector (data exploitation and application products, systems and services).

The following AO includes a summary of the background context, the AO objectives, the eligibility criteria, the application and evaluation processes, as well as the funding arrangements.

Background Context

The downstream sector in Canada and elsewhere finds itself facing a twofold dilemma: on one hand, there is now a plethora of readily available space-based data sources and, on the other hand, there is a growing cross section of opportunities and challenges for which the data may be applied.

Matching the right data sources with the appropriate application to produce actionable solutions has become a complex process that requires access to sophisticated toolsets and highly qualified professionals. Creating such advanced capabilities requires long-term commitments and significant investments in a world that has become increasingly competitive and further pressured to provide best of breed products and services.

This AO is intended to address these issues by supporting the development of advanced space-based products and solutions aligned with national EO challenges and sustainable development priorities while ensuring Canadian downstream industry's sectoral growth, positioning and competitiveness.

The AO is anchored on two strategic documents describing Canada's interest and commitments on issues of national and global significance that can be addressed by space-based EO. The areas of application priorities are identified in:

An important aspect of these challenges and sustainable development priorities is that they hold the potential for innovations that may lead to solutions that could result in new business areas while improving the lives of Canadians for a better future.

The commercial sector is already leading the way on many of the SDGs and is essential in developing innovative solutions using Space-Based Earth Observation (SBEO) to support them. More and more, organizations recognize SBEO and the SDGs as levers for innovation, growth and competition. Both are also strengthening organizations purpose narratives to attract talent, customers and investors.

smartEarth

The Canadian Space Agency (CSA) is issuing this AO through its smartEarth initiative. The initiative aims to:

  1. 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;
  2. Foster networking and collaboration among Canadian actors provide directions to facilitate access to Canadian and world sources of free and open space data;
  3. Stimulate uptake of spaceborne geosensing and geolocation data and
  4. Develop capacities within industry and research communities, enhancing the competitiveness of Canadian industry and generating growth and economic benefits for Canadians.

This AO is being offered through the smartEarth "Enabler" Track and 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 overall objective of this AO is to better position the downstream industry in the area of space-based products and services development to meet today's SBEO challenges, support sustainability (economy, society, environment) and address emerging market niches through innovations benefiting from the growing proliferation of satellite data sources.

This AO will support the development of innovative solutions using space-based data to address the challenges in the Space-Based Earth Observation Engagement Paper and the application areas as described in Canada's Agenda National Strategy for its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The specific objectives are:

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 underlying 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 organization'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 7, depending on the selected project stream.

The ARL system that has been created for the smartEarth context is comprised of the following structure:

smartEarth Application Readiness Level (ARL) Scale - Text version

The progressive advancement of the smartEarth application readiness scale consists of 9 levels. The first levels, also called the early levels, define the approach options. Mid-Levels confirm the selected concept and finally mature levels define the solution. The 3 stages can be described as follows:

  • The first three levels (from 1 to 3) are described as the exploration and creation stage: The first level, called Identification of the application, addresses the fundamental concepts. The following level, titled Consideration of innovative concepts, gives the state-of-the-art. At level 3, the Selection of preferred approach is based on logic.
  • The next three levels (from 4 to 6) are part of the demonstration and validation stage: Level 4 is the Concept development, the proof of concept. At level 5, we find the Validation in the application context, showing the concept feasibility. The last level of the stage is the confirmation, the Demonstration in the application environment.
  • The last three levels (from 7 to 9) are the facilitation and implementation stage: Level 7 presents a tailored solution, it is the Refined application solution. Level 8 is the Practical implementation allowing an operational use of the application. The last level of the ARL scale, the Ready-to-use products and services level is the commercialization.

Refer to Annex B for detailed descriptions of the ARL scale.

3. Eligible Projects and Streams

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 Project Scope

The scope of the proposed project concept is broad and open in terms of the data, technologies and applications that may be considered, provided that the project represents a tangible advancement in the ARL ladder and bridges a gap in knowledge and information that has the potential of improving the applicant's competitiveness while addressing sustainable development challenges. This includes the following:

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 Project Streams

This AO has been organized under three (3) project streams that have a common set of priority objectives but different project approaches and ARL expectations related to the contribution amounts, as described below.

It is important to note that all applicants are eligible to bid on any or all of the streams with separate, standalone proposals that will be evaluated on their own individual merit. This is to encourage both new and small players into participating in the downstream sector developments.

It is also worth noting that although each of the streams has common criteria to address, the weighting factors for scoring purposes for each of the criteria vary between the streams as described within Section 5.2.

3.4 Links to CSA Priorities

This AO aligns with Canada's New Space Strategy and vision for space, in particular with emphasis on the following three core elements of this vision:

3.5 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.

In the context of additional potential support, the CSA encourages the successful applicants to connect with other Government of Canada Programs, such as, but not limited to, the National Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC IRAP) for follow-on activities (anticipated achievable ARL 8 or 9).

The CSA also encourages the space for-profit and not-for-profit organizations to collaborate with the academic sector in the implementation of this AO by promoting projects that include student participation.

3.6 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. Application process

4.1 Required Documentation

The application for each stream that is being applied for must include the following:

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 at the following address:

Canadian Downstream Space Sector Delivering on Canada's Better Future AO
c/o Steve Iris
smartEarth, Space Utilization
Canadian Space Agency
6767 Route de l'Aéroport
Saint-Hubert, Quebec J3Y 8Y9

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.

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

5.2 Point Rated Evaluation Criteria

Applications will be evaluated according to the following criteria for each stream:

  1. Innovation and market need,
  2. Basic R&D approach,
  3. Project scope, feasibility, resources and risk assessment,
  4. Outcomes and benefits to the downstream sector and Canada.

The weighting factors for scoring purposes for each of the criteria vary between the streams as described for Stream 1, Stream 2 and Stream 3 below:

Evaluation criteria that are not addressed in the proposal will be given a score of zero, and the proposal will be rejected. The minimum overall score is 60%.

Applications should include concise information related to each evaluation criterion as described in the following instructions. The page limits to support each of the criterion explanations are also indicated on the Application Form. There are separate application forms for each of the project streams.

1. Project description

Please provide a clear description of the project's objectives, expected deliverables and results, as well as identify the application domain, and the link to Canada's sustainable development objectives, along with project partners, study sites and a list of data types – maximum 2 pages.

2. Innovation and market need (Criterion 1)

  1. 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, as well as the emerging alternatives in the market – maximum 2 pages;
  2. Explain the novelty and innovations of the solution and how it advances state-of-the-art over existing approaches, including competing solutions. Include in the description the scientific and technological basis upon which the solution is proposed and explain how it is innovative – maximum 2 pages;
  3. 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 (Criterion 2)

Provide Basic R&D justification as explained in Section 3.6 of the AO. In your description, you should:

  1. Explain the assumptions in which your research will be conducted – maximum 1 page;
  2. Describe the research approach and the methods that will be used to conduct the research – maximum 3 pages;
  3. 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 (Criterion 3)

  1. Provide a brief description of the lead organization (including market sector and number of employees working in Canada), 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;
  2. Provide the work breakdown structure of the project at the work package level. Include cost estimates per work package – maximum 2 pages;
  3. Provide the list of milestones and timeframe in months from start of project – maximum 1 page;
  4. 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 the Downstream Sector and Canada (Criterion 4)

  1. Expected outcomes and results: describe the expected outcomes and specific technical results from the proposed research – 0.5 page;
  2. Innovation benefits: explain the proposed solution's expected contribution towards the enhancement or development of new industrial or technological innovation within your organization – maximum 1 page;
  3. Economic benefits: describe how the project's success would impact your organization in terms of potential increase of revenue and business 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 organizations in Canada more broadly – maximum 2 pages;
  4. Public Benefits: explain the proposed solution's expected contribution to the broader Canadian public, to the SBEO engagement paper priorities and to Canada's Agenda National Strategy for its Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) – maximum 1 page;
  5. Path to commercialization: describe a roadmap for implementing the concept for the space-based application that could lead to further commercialization, explaining the steps and timeline that need to be taken to reach the Application Readiness Levels 8 and 9 in the future. In addition, identify the overall market size and the potential degree of accessible market that could be potentially be achieved by the organization – 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, as well as small for-profit and not-for-profit organizations (up to a maximum of 50 employees). 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. Funding

6.1 Available Funding and Duration

In order to provide support to the widest array of applicants in the Canadian downstream sector, contributions will be awarded under three funding streams. The total funding available under this AO is currently expected to be $8.0M, for research over a maximum period of 24 or 36 months, depending on the Stream.

The applicants may submit separate application forms for more than one project stream, but only one (1) project per stream can be awarded to a particular organization.

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 applications and reserves the right 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.

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. Payments will be made not more than once per three months period.

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.

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

It is important for the CSA to measure progress and outcomes from projects and activities receiving funding from initiative such as smartEarth. Your input will help us evaluate the effectiveness of smartEarth and the benefits to Canada. This information will be gathered through different questionnaires as described below.

The CSA will ask the recipients to report every year (around February) with a performance indicators survey on the following topics:

  1. Highlights
    • 1.1 Technology or scientific breakthrough
    • 1.2 Commercial success
    • 1.3 Satellite data used (CanadianFootnote 1 or foreign)
    • 1.4 Development of new ideas that might be integrated in future space missions
    • 1.5 Achievements related to multidisciplinary research
    • 1.6 Partnership maintained or established (national or international)
    • 1.7 Leveraged funds, including international funding
  2. Project team members
    • 2.1 Organizations involved in the project
    • 2.2 HQP involved in the project
    • 2.3 New players brought to the space-related field
  3. Application readiness level
    • 3.1 Initial ARL of the project
    • 3.2 Final ARL achieved under the project
  4. Publications and presentations
    • 4.1 Publications enabled by CSA funding
    • 4.2 Presentations made by research team members that the project was featured

In addition to this annual survey, the smartEarth team will ask at the end of the project to fill out a smartGrowth questionnaire. The purpose of this questionnaire is to measure on how the funding contributed to recipients growth. Five elements will be measured as follows:

  1. Acceleration of the application maturation process.
  2. Improvement of the cost efficiency.
  3. Expected revenue growth.
  4. Growth of the project team.
  5. Business growth, in terms of market, customers and partnerships.

Finally, the CSA may also send the recipients a survey on the benefits generated by the Canadian Government support in the short to medium term (2–5 years) after project closeout. The objective is to identify success stories in the sale/use of the developed solution and application, and assess their impacts on Canadians. The evolution of the company and its positioning in the world market is also of interest for CSA.

Note: The performance measurement elements described above in this section are subject to change in the future.

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:

  1. Accessible online repository (institutional or disciplinary) so that the publication is freely accessible.
  2. 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 used 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,

  1. Have access to his or her personal data and
  2. 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:

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

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 asc.smartearth.utiliterre.csa@canada.ca. 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: Can you please confirm whether for-profit organizations of greater than 50 employees are classified as eligible recipients?

Answer 1: Yes, for-profit organizations of greater than 50 employees are eligible recipients. Even if an important objective of this AO is to encourage the participation of small for-profit and not-for-profit organizations established and operating in Canada (up to a maximum of 50 employees), it doesn't exclude the participation of larger organizations.

Question 2: For this AO, will vetted RADARSAT Constellation Mission (RCM) users be able to task and access RCM data to support the project activities? If so, would the RCM coverages be given a priority in order to support successful execution of the projects.

Answer 2: No, vetted RADARSAT Constellation Mission (RCM) users will not be able to task the RCM to support their project activities. Vetted users will be given access to archived RCM data only; more information on standard coverage maps. As stated in section 3.2, "It will be the responsibility of the applicant to locate theses sources based on the objectives of their proposed activities and to obtain all of the data to be used in the project from commercial or public sites."

Question 3: Will a contribution from a Canadian government agency other than the Canadian Space Agency (e.g. municipal, provincial or territory) be included in the maximum of 75% of the government's contribution to the total budget of the project?
If so, will a contribution from a crown corporation be treated the same?

Answer 3: Yes, the total governmental assistance of 75% (i.e. stacking limit) applies to the total project costs. If the other government contribution 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).
Yes, a contribution from a crown corporation should be considered the same way.

Question 4:

  1. We are a Canadian company that is a wholly-owned subsidiary of a non-Canadian company. We are interested in submitting a project as part of this AO, but would like to know whether we would be considered an eligible recipient despite being wholly-owned by a foreign company?
  2. And if so, are there more specific criteria that need to be met in order for the IP to be considered vested in the Canadian company?

Answer 4:

  1. Yes, you are an eligible recipient as a subsidiary company operating in Canada.
    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 (see section 3.6). 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.
  2. No, there are no other criteria that need to be met for the IP to be considered vested in the Canadian company.
    All intellectual property developed by the recipient in the course of the project shall vest in the recipient (see section 7.4).

Question 5: Can the closing date of the AO be extended?

Answer 5: The closing date of the AO will be extended to (See section 4.1 for more information).

Question 6: Does Mitacs support (e.g for student internships) count toward the 75% stacking limit?

Answer 6: Yes, Mitacs support will count towards the stacking limit or 75% (see also answer #3 of the FAQ section related to this AO).

Question 7: I noticed that the application deadline for the smartEarth AO was changed to . However, on section 4.1, there is mention of . Please confirmed the application deadline date.

Answer 7: The application deadline is and the complete application must be received via mail or recognized courier service, with a postmark or registration dated no later than 11:59 p.m. (ET) on . The complete application must be physically received at the CSA before (see section 4.1 for more information).

Question 8: Is it permissible for the applicant to use the municipal "project end users" labor costs as part of the 25% financial contribution/other sources of funding?

Answer 8: No, labor costs from governmental "project end users" such as municipalities, are not acceptable as part of the 25% financial contribution/other sources of funding. The maximum contribution under this AO and cumulative government assistance is limited to 75% of eligible costs (see also answer #3 of the FAQ section related to this AO).

In-kind contributions are not considered eligible sources of funding. The funding amount should be expected to be an incurred cost by the applicant (see section 4 Sources of Funding, of the applicant form).

Question 9: Is it mandatory to use the application form provided for each stream or is a stand alone document that follows the same page limits for each section acceptable?

Answer 9: It is mandatory to use the application form provided to fill out the proposal for Sections 1 to 4 (see section 4.1 Required Documentation of the AO). However, Section 5 may be provided as an attachment provided that all topics have been addressed and that all guidelines have been followed (e.g. page limits) (See also answer #10 of the FAQ section related to this AO).

Question 10: Is it mandatory to use Section 5 in the Application Form to define the project proposal or this content can be included in a separate document to be attached to the application?

Answer 10: No, it's not mandatory to use Section 5 in the Application Form to define the project proposal (see section 4.1 Required Documentation of the AO). However, if the applicant uses a separate document to be attached to the application, the applicant must follow the instructions for Section 5 in the Application Form. In particular, the order of topics and titles of section 5 must be the same and the maximum page limits for each subsection should be respected. Failure to respect these directives can lead to automatic rejection of the proposition.

Question 11:

  1. Our company is planning to propose a research project that would involve collaboration with a small for-profit technology company operating in Canada. Based on a positive evaluation, would the Government of Canada enter into a contribution agreement with our company only, as the research lead, or with each company individually?
  2. If there is one contribution agreement with our company, how should we record the eligible costs of the partner in the research project? Should the other company report to us based on the eligible cost definitions (Appendix A), and we would submit one compiled claim?

Answer 11:

  1. Yes, for this AO, we envision that there will be only one recipient organization per contribution agreement.
  2. A collaboration with another company could be considered under 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 contract would have to be associated with the delivery of the approved project and required to achieve the expected results of the project (see section 6.2 for eligible cost categories and see the Appendix A for more information eligible costs definitions). The CSA reserves the right to approve only a portion of the consultant fees submitted. Yes, one compiled claim must be submitted.

Question 12: Can a university be allocated some of the funding if they are set up as consultants for the primary applicant?

Answer 12: Yes, although academic institutions are not eligible recipients of funds paid under the contribution agreement, their participation as a provider of consulting services to recipients is encouraged, i.e. contractors hired by the eligible recipient. Please refer to section 6.2 Eligible Costs and Appendix A Definitions of Eligible Costs.

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 13: About Basic R&D approach (Criterion 2) of the Point Rated Evaluation Criteria 5.2 section, the space over which we could describe our assumptions is broad in which our research will be conducted, from the very specific to the very general. Where should we focus our discussion?

Answer 13: Assumptions in which your research will be conducted can be fundamental or applied, and should be in conjunction with Application Readiness Level (ARL) Descriptions (see Appendix B). Please also refer to Section 3.6 Basic R&D Definition: "Any pre-commercial science and technology activities that are carried out to resolve unknowns regarding the feasibility of applications in the space sector."

Question 14: 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 14:

  1. Please see section 3.6: 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. 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 the downstream sector and Canada.

Question 15: Concerning Project Stream 2: Applications R&D, the maximum contribution is $500K. Does that mean that the maximum total budget is $500K or is it a maximum of $500K from the government contribution plus the 25% that the company needs to contribute?

Answer 15: Stream 2 Applications R&D: CSA non-repayable contribution is up to a maximum of $500K/project, amounting to a maximum of 75% government contribution to the total project budget (see section 6.1 Available Funding and Duration). The total project size is a combination of the government contribution plus the 25% that the company needs to contribute.

Question 16: Application process: If a recognized courier service is used, do you have a designated / manned area to receive courier/packages?

Answer 16: Yes, in the present context of COVID-19, CSA has a designated area to receive applications from a recognized courier service (refer to Section 4: Application process).

Applications must be post-mailed at the following address:

Canadian Downstream Space Sector Delivering on Canada's Better Future AO
c/o Steve Iris
smartEarth, Space Utilization
Canadian Space Agency
6767 Route de l'Aéroport
Saint-Hubert, Quebec J3Y 8Y9

  • Complete applications must be received via mail or recognized courier service, with a postmark or registration dated no later than 11:59 p.m. (ET) on . Applications that do not meet these criteria will be rejected.
  • The CSA reserves the right to refuse applications that meet the above criteria but are received at the CSA after .

Question 17: Can the deadline be extended further again?

Answer 17: No, the closing date of the AO will not be extended and will remain as defined in section 4.1.

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, 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 also includes 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: Can include, but not limited to, buying satellite imagery, data portal subscription fees.

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:

  1. 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 (PSPC 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.

  2. 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.

Note: Depending on the COVID 19 restrictions and guidelines in force at the time, travel will likely be limited to essential trips that are only required to perform the proposed research. Trips to the CSA for kickoff or project meetings may be conducted online or by phone.

Appendix B: Application Readiness Level (ARL) Descriptions

The smartEarth initiative is aimed at supporting the development of innovative applications concepts through their R&D phases, which include ARLs 1 to 7. These early to mid-stage phases represent the most challenging steps in creating new applications solutions and are therefore deserving of unique support and assistance. Although ARLs 8 and 9 are recognized as being very important for the ultimate success of a product or service, they go beyond the focus of the smartEarth initiative. There are many other sources of support for the downstream sector to pursue outside of the smartEarth initiative for these last two ARLs.

smartEarth Application Readiness Level 1

Identification of the Application – Foundational Concepts

This initial level is at the origin of identification for any innovative idea, leading to creative approaches that will potentially resolve challenges for an application in everyday life using space-based data in a Canadian context that may also have beneficial implications for the international community. At this stage a clear understanding of the application and the challenges it faces are summarized.

Milestones to Accomplish

Key Components

smartEarth Application Readiness Level 2

Consideration of Innovative Concepts - State-of-the-Art

ARL-2 Maturity Level is the stage where innovative concepts are reviewed within the state-of-the-art for the application, and options for a potential solution are considered.

Milestones to Accomplish

Key Components

smartEarth Application Readiness Level 3

Selection of Preferred Approach – Logic Based

Formulation of the concept and proposed approach for the chosen application that is based on sound principles and justifications, including a summary of all of the necessary concept elements and resources related to the development of the approach. The preferred approach should also summarize the innovation that has been introduced by the concept.

Milestones to Accomplish

Key Components

smartEarth Application Readiness Level 4

Concept Development - Proof of Concept

The concept at this stage will be in a preliminary state whereby the key aspects of its main operating characteristics will have been determined and proven initially reliable for the selected application, but which has not yet been tested or validated in an operational context under a variety of conditions.

Milestones to Accomplish

Key Components

smartEarth Application Readiness Level 5

Validation in the Application Context - Concept Feasibility

The basic components of the products, methods or service are integrated together into a prototype concept that will be validated against a real world application to identify and correct any outstanding shortcomings or modifications that may have to be made to ensure feasibility of the concept prior to moving to the next level.

Milestones to Accomplish

Key Components

smartEarth Application Readiness Level 6

Demonstration in the Application Environment - Confirmation

The concept is to be integrated and demonstrated in a relevant end user's environment and the operational decision making context to confirm its utility in addressing the application, and for the purpose of identifying implementation adjustments to the concept and its components. Further refinements may be required. This is the critical stage where the concept starts to become a proven solution for a particular application.

Milestones to Accomplish

Key Components

smartEarth Application Readiness Level 7

Refined Application Solution - Tailored Solution

Based on the results of the previous steps, the implementation of the solution into an operational context will require further refinements and adjustments to meet the needs of the end user. In Canada this may involve very unique requirements related to language, indigenous people, northern and remote environments, extreme weather conditions over a wide range of application challenges.

Milestones to Accomplish

Key Components

smartEarth Application Readiness Level 8

Practical Implementation - Operational Use

The application product, method or service will be integrated into an end user's operational context to address a particular application challenge. Its utility will have been demonstrated and confirmed, and its role in the operational context will have tangible benefits to the end user and their partners.

Milestones to Accomplish

Key Components

smartEarth Application Readiness Level 9

Ready-to-Use Products and Services – Commercialization

The solution will have achieved a successful level of use within a user's operational environment and addressed the resolution of an application challenge. It will have reached a level of maturity to the point of its regular and consistent use within an operational context whereby the product, method or service would be ready for commercialization or for integration into other important user environments.

Milestones to Accomplish

Key Components

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