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Canadian Student Participation in Space Conferences and Training Events

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Canadian Student Participation in Space Conferences and Training Events

Announcement of Opportunity (AO)

Key Information

Eligible recipients: Canadian post-secondary students

Type of transfer payments: Grants

Maximum amount per funding request: $3,500

Estimated total amount of the AO (three years): $550,000

Application Deadline(s): Various deadlines. Please see application deadline details in Appendix A.

1. Introduction

The Canadian Space Agency (CSA) is committed to inspiring the next generation of Canadians to reach for the stars. In , the Government of Canada released "Exploration, Imagination, Innovation: A Space Strategy for Canada" which laid out the CSA's commitment to supporting the development of highly qualified personnel to sustain Canada's position in the global space market.

Student participation in national and international conferences and training events provides opportunities for Canadian students to present and validate their research at the highest professional level, which contributes to positioning the Canadian space sector at the forefront of space science and technology advancement. This is key in developing a strong professional network that will build the foundation of future collaborations in major space endeavours.

As a cooperating member state of the European Space Agency (ESA), Canada has access to ESA's Education Program, which offers a vast portfolio of activities for different age groups – from primary school to PhD level. Canadian post-secondary students can apply to participate in ESA Academy learning opportunities, providing a valuable experience to equip them with the skills and competencies for success in Canada's space sector.

Applicants must 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 applications, and the selection process. In the event of any discrepancies between this AO and the individual funding agreements, the latter document(s) will take precedence.

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

2 AO Objective

The objective of this AO is to support Canadian students to participate in national and international space conferences and training events that will offer them the opportunity to learn about and be involved in the latest developments in space science and technology, to develop their professional network, and in some cases, present their research results at the national and international level.

3. Eligibility criteria

In this section 3

3.1 Eligible Recipients

To be eligible for a grant under this AO, applicants must meet the following eligibility criteria:

  • be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident;
  • be enrolled in a Canadian post-secondary institution as a full-time student at the college, undergraduate, master's, doctoral or post-doctoral levels at the time of the event.

Applications received from student teams will be rejected. All applications must be from individuals.

3.2 Eligible Events:

To be eligible, all grant applications must be submitted by an eligible applicant for an event that meets the following conditions:

  • A funding request that falls under one of the following categories:
    • Category A: National or international space conferences, workshops and fora. The list of eligible events can be found in Appendix A. Applications submitted for events other than those listed in Appendix A will be rejected.
    • Category B: European Space Agency (ESA) Education activities. Eligible applicants applying under this category must be selected by ESA for the learning activity. Please see Appendix A for more details.
  • The funding request must be for an in-person participation.

The CSA will change the list of events in Appendix A approximately every six months.

3.3 Links to CSA Priorities:

The CSA supports the Canadian space sector to remain at the forefront of the new and evolving space environment. A steady pipeline of highly skilled workers is critical to sustaining Canada's leadership in a globally competitive space economy and unlocking the space sector's full potential. The CSA is committed to equipping Canadians with the information and tools they need to take full advantage and to excel in these jobs of the future.

3.4 Links to the Class G&C Program Objectives:

Applications submitted under this AO must include elements that contribute to fostering the continuing development of a critical mass of highly qualified people in Canada in areas relevant to the priorities of the CSA.

4. How to apply

In this section 4

The applicant must read the following section carefully and follow all of the steps indicated in order to ensure their application is completed and submitted successfully.

It is important to note that neither hand-delivered applications nor e-mailed applications will be accepted. Applicants are also asked not to send their application both electronically and by mail or courier service. In the event that an applicant fails to comply with this, only the latest valid version received will be considered.

The onus is on the applicant to ensure that their application is complete and that all documents, including the reference letter (if it is being sent separately), are uploaded or received by the CSA within the prescribed deadline (deadlines stated for each event in Appendix A). After the deadline, CSA has no obligation to proceed with the evaluation and funding process. Incomplete or late applications may be refused.

4.1 Required Documentation

A complete application must contain the following:

  • A completed application form (details in section 4.2) signed by the applicant. Electronic or scanned signatures will be accepted, however applicants must keep a hard copy of the original signed application form, as the CSA may require the original documents at a later date;
  • A copy of the applicant's proof of citizenship (such as a Canadian passport) or permanent resident card;
  • Proof of the student's full-time enrolment in a post-secondary Canadian institution at the time they submit the application (e.g. letter of attestation from the post-secondary institution, etc.);
  • The applicant's curriculum vitae.
  • A reference letter from a professor that holds a faculty position at a Canadian post-secondary institution that supervised the candidate and/or their research. (please refer to Appendix B of this AO or section F of the application form for more detailed information);
  • For Category A, a copy of the applicant's abstract submitted to the conference for an oral or poster presentation and a document confirming the acceptance or refusal of the applicant's abstract (if applicable).

4.2 Submitting an application electronically

In order to submit your application electronically, please follow these steps:

  1. Request the creation of an account by clicking on the Electronic Proposal Portal, ensuring that this is done at least 3 weeks before the application deadline for the event that you wish to attend (see application deadline dates in Appendix A). Please note that supported browsers are Google Chrome and Microsoft Edge. You will then need to follow these steps to create your account:
    1. In the "Proposal title" field, please use the following naming convention: CATEGORY A or CATEGORY B - EVENT NAME - APPLICANT LAST NAME, APPLICANT FIRST NAME.
    2. In the "Organization" section, under "Type", please ensure to select "I don't represent an organization (individual)".
    3. Allow up to 48 hours for the CSA to send you an email confirming your account creation as well as instructions (User Guides) and the appropriate links, including the link to the online application form.
  2. Using the password assigned to you by the CSA, access and complete the online application form. Please note that you may save the information entered and return at a later date, if required, but that you must finish the entire application process by the application deadline date for the event for which you are applying.
  3. Once you have completed the electronic application form, be sure to print a PDF before you click "submit".
  4. Sign the copy of your application form (electronic signature accepted) and combine it with the other required documentation into a single PDF-formatted file (searchable PDF (PDF/A-1a or PDF/A-2a formats preferred), with all security features disabled) and in the same order as listed in section 4.1 , with the only exception being the reference letter, which may be e-mailed separately by the professor (please see Appendix B of this AO for more detailed information). It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure that their submitted PDF file is accessible.
  5. Submit the completed application package electronically by logging into the secured portal to upload protected documents, using the password assigned to you by the CSA. Please refer to the User Guide for instructions on how to securely upload your documents.

IMPORTANT NOTES:

Applicants are encouraged to create their account as soon as possible, as technical issues may arise.If technical issues cannot be resolved, applicants can submit their application by mail (refer to section 4.3). Applicants are strongly encouraged to upload their complete application well before the submission deadline (deadlines for each event can be found in Appendix A). Please also see general instructions in section 4 regarding the application process.

The applicant must keep a copy of all the original application documents except for the reference letter.

4.3 Submitting an application by mail or using a recognized courier service

The applicant is encouraged to submit their application electronically, following the instructions provided in section 4.2. However, if the applicant is unable to submit their application electronically, please communicate with stim-stem@asc-csa.gc.ca to obtain instructions on how to submit an application by mail or using a recognized courier service.

Applications by mail or using a recognized courier service must be received at the CSA before the deadlines stated in Appendix A.

The onus is on the applicant to ensure that their application is complete and that the CSA receives the required documents within the prescribed deadline. The CSA is not responsible for any delays under any circumstances, and may refuse applications received after the stipulated deadline.

5. Evaluation process

In this section 5

5.1 Eligibility

The CSA will firstly proceed with the applications' eligibility assessment to verify whether they comply with the eligibility criteria listed in Section 3 of the AO. Only applications that have passed the eligibility assessment will be given further consideration.

5.2 Evaluation Criteria

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

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 3 of the AO, to demonstrate how each evaluation criterion is met. Only applications that obtain a total minimum score of 70% will be given further consideration.

TABLE 1. DEFINITION AND BREAKDOWN OF EVALUATION CRITERIA
Criteria
(Weighting %)
Indicators Evidence
Relevance of the applicant's experience and education to the Canadian space sector
(40%)
  • Professional and academic background of the applicant as well as achievements and other extracurricular activities that bear relevance to the Canadian space sector;
  • Description of how the applicant's competencies and work as a student stands out;
  • Professional, academic and/or other relevant extracurricular activities that demonstrate the applicant's leadership skills and ability to build and maintain a professional network.
  • Factual examples provided in application form, section D;
  • Factual examples provided in reference letter in clearly identified sections;
  • Curriculum vitae.
Motivation to contribute to the Canadian space sector
(60%)
  • Applicant's expectations for participating in the event and how their participation will positively impact applicant's future contribution to the Canadian space sector;
  • Applicant's aspirations regarding pursuing studies or a career in Canada in a space-related discipline or in a discipline the space sector could benefit from in the future.
  • Factual examples provided in application form, section E;
  • Factual examples provided in reference letter in clearly identified sections.

Notes:

  • The overall score, which is the total of the scores for each of the criteria, will be used to establish a ranking of applications for each event.
  • The CSA may, at its discretion, reject any application that fails the evaluation.

5.3 Evaluation Process

For the final selection, the CSA will first consider the applicants having the highest final scores, evaluated as per criteria in section 5.2. In each category, priority will be given to:
For all Categories:

  • Candidates from underrepresented populations. CSA encourages applicants to indicate, on a voluntary basis, if they belong to one or more of the four following groups: women, Indigenous Peoples, persons with disabilities and members of visibility minorities. Please visit this site for a complete definition of each group.

For Category A:

  1. Candidates whose abstract or presentation (or panel participation) has been selected by the conference's selection committee (including as a back-up) and who have not previously been funded directly by the CSA to attend a conference.
    Depending on budget availability, the CSA will then also consider:
  2. Candidates whose abstractor presentation (or panel participation) has been selected by the conference's selection committee (including as a back-up) and who have previously been funded directly by the CSA to attend a conference.
    Depending on budget availability, the CSA will then also consider:
  3. Candidates whose abstractor presentation (or panel participation) has not been selected by the conference's selection committee and who have not previously been funded directly by the CSA to attend a conference.
    For Category A, Candidates may submit co-authored abstracts to receive a grant; however, the CSA will offer just one grant per abstract for the same conference.

For Category: B

  1. Candidates selected by ESA who have not previously been funded directly by the CSA to attend an ESA activity;
  2. Candidates selected by ESA who have not previously been funded directly by the CSA to attend any event.

Before a final decision is made, the CSA's Selection Board responsible for this AO may seek input and advice from other organizations and/or experts.

In the final selection, the CSA could also take into consideration factors such as a balanced grants distribution across Canada and the relevance of the field of study of the applicant to the conference.

Please note that the results of this AO evaluation committee are final. Due to the large amount of applications, CSA will not provide feedback on any application received under this AO.

6. Service standards

Applicants will be notified by email of decisions regarding their application. The CSA has set the following service standards for application processing times:

Acknowledgement: the CSA's objective is to acknowledge the receipt of the applications within one (1) week following receipt of the application.

Decisions: the CSA's objective is to respond within ten (10) weeks following the application deadline date and to send the grant agreements to selected candidates for signature within three (3) weeks following the notice of decision.

Payment: the CSA's objective is to issue the payment within three (3) weeks from the date of receipt of the funding agreement signed by the candidate.

Meeting these service standards is a shared responsibility. Applicants must submit all required documentation in a timely fashion. These service standards have been set as a maximum processing time, the actual notification times may be shorter.

7. Financing and eligible costs

In this section 7

7.1 Available Funding

The maximum grant amount is:

  • $3,500 for Category A
  • $1,000 for Category B

The total budget for this AO should be sufficient to support approximately 200 students over 3 years, with an approximate average of between 5 to 10 students per event.

Under the present AO, an eligible recipient can receive a maximum of two grants per Government of Canada fiscal year (from April to March). An eligible recipient will not receive more than one grant for the same event.

The CSA reserves the right to reject applications or to reduce the amount of a grant at its discretion.

7.2 Eligible Costs

The recipient must use the awarded grant to cover (partially or totally) the costs associated with the candidate's participation in the event. The funding should be used to cover the following expenses:

For all Categories:

  • Accommodations and meal allowances;
  • Registration fees to participate in the event; and
  • Travel.

All other costs exceeding the CSA grant amount are entirely the recipient's responsibility. Applications with budgets considered to be inadequate or unreasonable will be rejected.

Applicants must complete section G of the Application Form with details regarding the requested funding for each eligible cost category.

8. Grant Agreement

In this section 8

8.1 Payment

The CSA and each successful applicant will sign a grant agreement. This condition must be met for the CSA to issue a payment.

Payment will be made in the form of a single payment, as indicated in the grant agreement that will be signed. Recipients undertake to inform the CSA in writing of any change in the conditions used to establish their eligibility for the grant.

8.2 Final report

The CSA will require that each recipient submit a report within 30 days following the end of the event using a template the CSA will make available in advance.

9. Confidentiality

The CSA will manage and protect information provided by applicants under the Privacy Act and the Access to Information Act. By submitting personal information, the applicant consents to its collection, use and disclosure in accordance with the following Confidentiality Statement, which explains how information on applicants is handled.

By submitting an application, the applicant authorizes the CSA to undertake any consultation or verification, in particular but not exclusively with other government departments, agencies and organizations in order to obtain any useful information in assessing the application, and it agrees to have the contacted parties disclose any requested information.

This information is collected under the authority of the CSA Class G&C Program to Support Research, Awareness and Learning in Space Science and Technology - Awareness and Learning Component (ASC PPU 040). This information will be used for administrative purposes and for the evaluation of applications. Personal information (such as name, contact information and biographical information) will be stored for six years, then destroyed. Under the Privacy Act, any individual, upon request, may

  1. be given access to his/her/their data; and
  2. have incorrect information corrected or add a note.

Applicants shall also note that information relative to the funding agreement will be publicly disclosed under Government of Canada legislation, policies and directives.
For additional information on privacy matters prior to submitting an application, please contact:

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

10. Additional information

Recipients are advised to contact their insurers (travel, medical, and others) in order to verify their coverage with respect to travel and participation in the selected event. The CSA provides no protection in this regard.

Recipients are also advised to ensure that they have in their possession all the documents required by hosting and transit countries.

It is the sole responsibility of the recipient to plan and book their travel arrangements.

11. Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

Should the need arise, it is up to applicants to obtain clarification regarding the requirements contained in this opportunity before applying.

For all questions, applicants must use this generic e-mail address: stim-stem@asc-csa.gc.ca. Questions and their answers will be posted on the CSA website under the "Frequently Asked Questions" section of this AO.

Question 1: If I have submitted an abstract for an oral or poster presentation, but have not yet received confirmation that it has been accepted, what should I indicate when filling out the application?

Answer 1: If the application date under this AO does not allow for candidates to obtain confirmation that their oral or poster presentation has been accepted because the confirmation by the selection committee is done at a later date, candidates must respond that their abstract has not been accepted in the application form.

However, two questions were added to the application form on to allow candidates to indicate the date at which the abstract was sent and when they expect to receive confirmation. Candidates may therefore submit their abstract with their application and provide proof of the acceptance by email to stim-stem@asc-csa.gc.ca (using the same naming convention detailed in section 4.2 of this AO) as soon as they receive the abstract acceptance.

Question 2: If I have submitted an abstract for an oral or poster presentation, but have not yet received confirmation that it has been accepted, will I be disadvantaged during the evaluation of my application?

Answer 2: If the application date under this AO does not allow for candidates to obtain confirmation that their oral or poster presentation has been accepted because the confirmation by the selection committee is done at a later date, all applicants for that conference or event will be in the same situation and will therefore not be disadvantaged as opposed to other candidates for the same event.

Question 3: I am not a Canadian citizen, but I am studying at a Canadian post-secondary institution. Am I eligible for funding under this AO?

Answer 3: As specified in section 3.1 of the AO, only Canadian citizens or permanent residents are eligible for funding under this AO and they must be enrolled in a Canadian post-secondary institution as a full-time student at the time of the event.

Question 4: As a post-doctoral research fellow at a Canadian university, am I eligible to apply for funding under this AO?

Answer 4: As indicated in section 3.1 of this AO, those enrolled in a Canadian post-secondary institution full-time at the undergraduate, master's, doctoral or post-doctoral levels at the time of the event are eligible to apply for funding under this AO.

Appendix A: List of eligible conferences, workshops and other events

In this section Appendix A

Category A: National or international space conferences, workshops and fora

(The CSA will periodically change the list below without notice)

List of national or international space conferences, workshops and fora
Conference Title Application Deadline Date of the event Location (City, Country) Conference description
CubeSat Developers Workshop
1:00 PM (ET)
- San Luis Obispo, CA, USA The CubeSat Developers Workshop is an annual 3-day global small-satellite conference hosted at Cal Poly University in San Luis Obispo. Representatives from government, industry and universities from around the world attend the event.
Astrobiology Science Conference (AbSciCon)
1:00 PM (ET)
- Providence, RI, USA The Astrobiology Science Conference (AbSciCon) brings the astrobiology community together every two years to share research, collaborate, and plan for the future.
International Society for Gravitational Physiology (ISGP) Meeting
1:00 PM (ET)
- Dubai, UAE The annual meeting of the International Society for Gravitational Physiology draws researchers from around the world interested in the effects of the magnitude and direction of the gravitational force environment on cells, integrated physiological systems and behavior/performance of humans, animals and plants.
Canadian Astronomical Society (CASCA) Annual Meeting
1:00 PM (ET)
- Toronto, ON, Canada Annual scientific meeting that promotes and advances knowledge of the universe through research and education.
Canadian Symposium on Remote Sensing
1:00 PM (ET)
- Halifax, NS, Canada This symposium brings together academics, practitioners, vendors, and policymakers from the Remote Sensing community in an informative and productive four-day event titled Exploring Past, Present, and Future.
International Geo-science and Remote Sensing Symposium (IGARSS)
1:00 PM (ET)
- Athens, Greece This symposium is aimed at providing a platform for sharing knowledge and experience on recent developments and advancements in geoscience and remote sensing technologies, particularly in the context of earth observation, disaster monitoring and risk assessment. This year's theme is "Acting for Sustainability and Resilience".
Quadrennial Ozone Symposium (QOS)
1:00 PM (ET)
- Boulder, CO, USA QOS  is of high interest for all scientists throughout the world interested in atmospheric ozone and more generally in the study of the Earth's atmosphere and climate. Internationally renowned scientists, young scientists, and students will have a unique opportunity to present and discuss scientific advancements, exchange ideas and establish collaborations.
10th International Conference on Mars
1:00 PM (ET)
- Pasadena, CA, USA An event that occurs every 5 years, bringing together Mars scientists in all scientific sub-disciplines. The conference will allow for those involved to take stock of the body of knowledge on Mars, share discoveries, review recommendations and findings, and revisit the list of top science objectives.
International Space Station Research and Development Conference (ISSRDC)
1:00 PM (ET)
- Boston, MA, USA At ISSRDC, participants learn how to harness the International Space Station (ISS) and the unique conditions of space to help solve the most pressing research and development (R&D) challenges.
IAU General Assembly
1:00 PM (ET)
- Cape Town, South Africa This event, which occurs every three years, is a unique opportunity for astronomers worldwide, working in all fields of astronomy, to come together to discuss their research and provide updates on initiatives, instruments, and facilities.
Small Satellite Conference
1:00 PM (ET)
- Logan, UT, USA The conference will explore how automation is being integrated into small satellite systems across the space, launch, ground, and user segments, making them smarter and more effective.
Canadian Space Health Research Symposium
1:00 PM (ET)
- London, ON, Canada The Canadian Space Health Research Symposium is a two-day forum for national and international leading scientists and trainees investigating the effects of spaceflights on humans' health, as well as those whose research has the potential to make a significant contribution to space health.
AGU Fall Meeting
1:00 PM (ET)
- Washington, DC, USA Each year, AGU's annual meeting convenes approximately 25,000 attendees from more than 100 countries to share research. It is the most influential event in the world dedicated to the advancement of Earth and space sciences.
American Astronomical Society (AAS) Meeting
1:00 PM (ET)
- National Harbor, MD, USA The mission of the AAS is to enhance and share humanity's scientific understanding of the universe as a diverse and inclusive astronomical community. The 245th AAS Meeting will bring together astronomers and scientific professionals from around the world.
The International Conference on Space Operations (SpaceOps)
1:00 PM (ET)
- Montreal, QC, Canada This international forum allows for discussions on state-of-the-art operations principles, methods, and tools and provides an opportunity to foster managerial and technical interchange between space agencies, academia, and industry on all aspects of space mission operations (such as CubeSat operations). Conference themes include such areas as robotics, human, earth orbiting, and deep space aspects of space operations.

Category B: European Space Agency (ESA) Education Activities

ESA Education learning opportunities are available on the European Space Agency (ESA) site. These opportunities are available at different times of the year (portfolio of training sessions). Eligible applicants may submit an application under this AO for Category B at any time while this AO remains open and as long as the application is submitted at least 7 weeks before the learning activity occurs. The CSA cannot guarantee that grants will be awarded for applications sent after this deadline.

Eligible applicants applying under this category must be selected by ESA for the learning activity. However, students do not have to be selected by ESA at the time they submit their application, as this step is coordinated between the space agencies.

Appendix B: Reference Letter Format

The reference letter must not be longer than 1,000 words and must be written by a professor that holds a faculty position at a Canadian post-secondary institution that supervised the candidate and/or their research. It should include factual examples that demonstrate how the candidate meets the evaluation criteria presented in section 5.2 of the AO. It is the candidate's responsibility to ensure that the professor clearly identifies the following two (2) sections in their letter:

  1. Relevance of the applicant's experience and education to the Canadian space sector
    • Description, with examples, of the applicant's work experience, awards, and/or achievements and how they bear relevance to the Canadian space sector;
    • Description, with clear examples, of how the applicant's work as a student stands out and surpasses expectations.
    • Clear examples of situations (professional, academic and/or extracurricular activities) in which the applicant's leadership skills and ability to build and maintain a professional network were demonstrated.
  2. Motivation to contribute to the Canadian space sector
    • Description, with clear examples, of how the applicant's participation in the event will positively impact their future contribution to the Canadian space sector;

The reference letter must either be included in the PDF file that the candidate will submit, or be sent separately and electronically by the professor to the CSA at stim-stem@asc-csa.gc.ca (the email subject must respect the following naming convention: CATEGORY A or CATEGORY B - EVENT NAME - APPLICANT LAST NAME, APPLICANT FIRST NAME) before the application deadline date (please see Appendix A for details on application deadlines).

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