Research Opportunities in Satellite Earth Observation
On this page
- AO OBJECTIVES
- ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA
- FUNDING AGREEMENTS
- PRIVACY NOTICE STATEMENT
- FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQ)
- APPENDIX A: EVALUATION CRITERIA
- APPENDIX B: Application Readiness Level (ARL) Descriptions
Publication closing date:
- Eligible Recipients: Eligible recipients are limited to Canadian universities and post-secondary institutions.
- Maximum Amount per Project: up to $312,500
- Estimated Total Amount of the AO: up to $5,000,000
- Number of potential agreements: up to 20
- Maximum Timeframe of the Project: up to 36 months depending on project length
- Estimated Projects Start Date:
The Canadian Space Agency (CSA) is pleased to announce an opportunity for the post-secondary academic community interested in satellite Earth observation.
This announcement of opportunity (AO) is issued through CSA's smartEarth initiative, which aims to:
- Develop innovative satellite data solutions to help meet various needs on Earth and in our everyday lives;
- Increase collaboration among Canadian stakeholders;
- Enhance expertise, growth and competitiveness in Canada's space sector; and
- Advance scientific knowledge.
More specifically, this AO falls under the Enabler track, which aims to enhance the capacities and expertise of Canada's post-secondary institutions in the use and application of satellite data.
This AO focuses on Canada's Strategy for Satellite Earth Observation (SEO), developed in collaboration with the community, Canada's vision for satellite Earth observation is:
- Resourceful in using domestic and international satellite data across all economic sectors to increase productivity, drive efficiencies, and ignite innovation.
- Resilient in adapting to our changing climate, from the international to the local scale, with the best science-based evidence for effective decision making.
- Ready to respond to environmental, national security, public safety, and health challenges, with timely information, modern infrastructure, and a next-generation workforce.
This 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 – 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 objectives of this AO are:
- Advancing knowledge, research capacity and teaching innovation for the post-secondary academic community interested in remote sensing and/or Earth observation. In this regard, we encourage collaboration with other academic departments/faculties, post-secondary institutions, Canadian space industry, other government departments and international partners;
- Supporting the development of space solutions in the form of innovative applications (new applications, data products, models/prototypes, methodologies, teaching/learning methods and tools education material, systems, services, etc.) to meet today's challenges resulting in a better future for all Canadians;
- Supporting research for innovative approaches to EO-focused teaching and learning in Canada, include new didactic concepts for EO-focused teaching and learning, such as the flipped classroom approach or problem-based learning, hybrid face-to-face/online interactive teaching and learning, as well as utilization of geospatial data cubes, AI, DL;
- Leveraging emerging opportunities such as digital technologies and capabilities (for example, cloud computing, machine learning, deep learning and artificial intelligence), as well as the growing sources of satellite remote sensing/Earth observation data to maximize opportunities and research potential.
The Application Readiness Level (ARL) system and structure has been adopted in the smartEarth context, as illustrated below. With regard to the current AO, "application" broadly encompasses technologies, methods and applications, including pedagogical materials. From a pedagogical perspective, this may refer to researching new innovative education and teaching methods that encourages the incorporation of EO data for improved understanding and learning purposes for students, academics and the general public, particularly with the advent of advanced AI analytics like Deep Learning.
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. A project can also remain within the same ARL for the duration of the project, but should still demonstrate an advancement. This should be explained in the appropriate section of the application form. The maximum level attainable under this AO is ARL 7.
Fundamental research corresponds to ARL 1 to 4, whereas applied research falls within ARL 5-7. Research regarding EO focused pedagogical approaches and materials could also fall within a range of ARLs.
The ARL system that has been created for the smartEarth context is comprised of the following structure:
3 ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA
In this section 3
3.1 Eligible Recipients
Eligible recipients are limited to Canadian universities and post-secondary institutions.
3.2 Eligible Projects
To be eligible for CSA funding, projects must consist of one or more of the following:
- Research activities of interest to Canada related to science and technology disciplines and their satellite Earth observation applications. Other remote sensing and in-situ data sources may be included, but only as secondary, supportive sources for the satellite Earth observation data as in, for example, calibration/validation research;
- Development of innovative EO education methods and training materials, including aspects on accessibility and interactivity.
- Activities that sustain space research and development (R&D) capabilities;
- Studies to develop capabilities that enhance the space utilization sector;
- End project phases such as analyses of space data and the transformation of those data into useful information, along with the dissemination of the ensuing results.
All development phases necessary for a project are eligible. Any logical breakdown or combination of these phases can constitute a funded project under this AO. However, breaking down a project into numerous phases submitted as distinct proposals to obtain more than the maximum grant or contribution under this AO is not allowed. Furthermore, the completion of a funded phase does not automatically guarantee future funding of the remaining phases.
To be eligible, the activities outlined in the project must also align with the ARL ladder, described as follows. The projects within this component are those that seek to identify an application (ARL 1), consider innovative concepts (ARL 2), select a preferred approach (ARL 3), seek to develop a concept (ARL 4), validate the concept feasibility (ARL 5), integrate the application in the user environment (ARL 6), and refine the application solution (ARL 7). Detailed information about the ARL scale can be found in Appendix B.
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 capabilities.
This includes the following:
- Data: Any sources of satellite EO data may be proposed for this purpose, many of which can be found in the open marketplace. This includes a variety of optical and synthetic aperture radar (SAR) imagery, as well as non-image data and other relayed data.
Note: It will be the responsibility of the applicant to locate theses sources based on the objective of their proposed project and to obtain all of the data to be used in the project from commercial or public sites, such as, but not limited to, the Earth Observation Data Management System (EODMS) hosted by NRCAN. If costs are to be incurred in acquiring EO imagery or other data type, the applicant should include these costs in their financial bids to be commensurate with project value. For the RADARSAT Constellation Mission (RCM), archived data 16m and coarser over land is open to public. However, access to high resolution RCM data requires applicants to be a vetted user. Access to RCM data | Canadian Space Agency (asc-csa.gc.ca)
- Technologies, methods and applications: The proposed project may be related to new applications, data products, models/prototypes, methodologies, teaching/learning methods and tools education material, systems, services provided that it is either new or a significant improvement. Most importantly, the proposed project should represent progress to a higher level in the ARL hierarchy.
- Applications areas: Canada has the potential for greater capacity building to meet the challenges for a broad range of applications. This AO may address any education and application area of importance and relevance to Canada, aligned with CSA's priorities (section 3.3).
Please note that projects with the following primary objectives are not eligible under the AO:
- The development or improvement of a specific technology, such as a new sensor; or,
- Use or testing of the technology in preparation of a space flight.
3.3 Links to CSA Priorities
To be eligible, projects supported under this AO must contribute to at least one of the CSA priorities stated below as per Canada's Strategy for Satellite Earth Observation.
- Harnessing satellite EO to address climate change and issues that matter to Canadians;
- Strengthening the delivery of critical services to keep Canadians healthy, safe and informed; and
- Inspiring skills and capacity development for the next generation.
- Ensure that satellite EO data is free, open, and accessible to maximize science, innovation, and economy.
Applicants are encouraged to propose projects that increase the representation and advancement of women and underrepresented groups in space sciences and engineering as one means to foster excellence in research and training. The applicants must also demonstrate how their organization or team contributes to EDI (equity, diversity and inclusion) and Indigenous People involvement as identified in Appendix A, Evaluation Criterion 4.1.
3.4 Links to the Class G&C Program Objectives
To be eligible, projects supported under this AO must contribute to the achievement of at least one of the following objectives:
- To support the development of science and technology relevant to the priorities of the Canadian Space Agency;
- To foster the continuing development of a critical mass of researchers and highly qualified people in Canada in areas relevant to the priorities of the Canadian Space Agency;
- To support the creation of new knowledge, scientific studies, and research related to space.
4.1 Required Documentation
Applicants must submit a completed application as described below.
The application must include the following:
- A completed typed original application form (Word, 217 KB) signed by the Duly Authorized Representative;
- Proof of incorporation or registration and a copy of the document(s) confirming the legal name of the applicant;
- Letters from other funding contributors confirming their contributions (if applicable);
- Declaration on Confidentiality, Access to Information Act and Privacy Act form signed by the duly authorized representative (refer to the Applicant Declaration on Confidentiality, Access to Information Act and Privacy Act section included in the application form); and
- For organizations in Quebec, M-30 Supporting Documentation form completed and signed by the duly authorized representative (refer to the M-30 form for organizations in Quebec included in the application form);
- Documentation supporting the activities proposed within the project.
The application must be prepared as a single PDF-formatted file containing all of the above requested documents with all security features disabled. Please order the document with the application form and proposal first. The proposal and supporting documents must be included in the file as searchable PDF-formatted documents (PDF/A-1a or PDF/A-2a formats preferred). If there are any accessibility issues with the submitted PDF file, all consequences reside with the applicant.
Any missing supporting document or any incoherence between the requested documents and the information provided within the documents may lead to the rejection of the proposal on that sole basis.
It is the applicant's responsibility to ensure that the application complies with all relevant federal, provincial, and territorial legislation and municipal bylaws.
Submission is done by first completing an account creation request at the electronic proposal portal. Please note that Google Chrome is the browser of choice for submissions. Applicants are encouraged to create their account several days before the submission deadline, in order to address any technical difficulties that could arise.
Upon account creation, the CSA will send an email with instructions on how to connect to the CSA secure filer system to allow you to upload documents securely. Applicants are strongly encouraged to upload their applications well before the submission deadline.
- Proposals must be received at CSA no later than the closing date and time indicated at the top of this AO page.
- Applications sent by email or as email attachments will not be accepted.
- Incomplete applications shall not be considered.
The questions and answers related to this AO will be posted on the CSA website in the "Frequently Asked Questions" of this AO (see Section 9). CSA will respond to questions received before 17:00 ET, 10 business days prior to the closing date.
4.2 Application for Phase 2
Applicants will be notified in writing of decisions regarding their application. Selected applications will be announced on the CSA website. The CSA has set the following service standards for processing times, acknowledgement of receipt, funding decisions and payment procedures.
Acknowledgement: The CSA's goal is to acknowledge receipt of proposals within 2 weeks of receiving the completed application package.
Decision: The CSA's goal is to respond to the proposal within 16 weeks of the AO's closing date and to send a grant agreement for signature within 8 weeks after formal approval of the proposal.
Payment: The CSA's goal is to issue payment within 4 weeks of the successful fulfillment of the requirements outlined in the grant agreement.
Compliance with these service standards is a shared responsibility. Applicants must submit all required documentation in a timely fashion. Service standards may vary by Announcement of Opportunity.
5.1 Eligibility Criteria
- Represents an eligible recipient as defined in Section 3.1;
- Represents an eligible project as defined in Sections 3.2, 3.3, 3.4; and
- Meets program funding provisions Section 6.1.
5.2 Evaluation Criteria
The evaluation committee will evaluate eligible applications according to the following criteria. These are further described in Appendix A.
|Benefits to Canada (30%)
|Merit of Project
|Development of HQP
|Application of results
|Risk and mitigation (10%)
|Risk and Mitigation
The minimum overall score required to be considered for funding is 60 points. Criterion that have not been addressed in the application will be given a score of 0.
The final score for each application will be the cumulative total for all five of the criteria scores. The application scores will then be ranked and grants will be selected in ranked order.
5.3 Evaluation Process
Only applications that have met the eligibility criteria listed in Section 5.1 will be given further consideration.
Once the eligibility criteria are confirmed, evaluators will assess the screened applications according to the criteria listed in Section 5.2. Evaluators will be familiar with the fields relevant to the applications and may include representatives from other Canadian Government departments as well as external consultants.
An application must achieve an overall minimum score of 60% for Project Phase 1 applications, and 70% for Project Phase 2 applications, as well as the specified minimum thresholds for each criterion to be considered further for funding.
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.
The results obtained in this AO could take into account certain factors in the final decision to grant funding, such as, but not limited to, the representativeness of the four designated groups (woman, Aboriginal person, disabled person or member of a visible minority), regional distribution, academic level, distribution between universities and post-secondary educational institutions, etc.
Other factors may also be taken into account such as, but not limited to, the priorities of the Government of Canada and the CSA, growth potential, marketing opportunity, return on investment, involvement of HQP and students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), etc.
6.1 Available Funding and Duration
The maximum funding per grant agreement to an eligible recipient is $312,500 over 3 years. The maximum funding per year per project is $125,000 for year 1, $125,000 for year 2, and $62,500 for year 3. The total funding available under this AO is expected to be $5,000,000 over 3 years.
The CSA reserves the right to reject any proposals or reduce the amount of the grants at its entire discretion.
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 number of projects under this AO will depend on funding availability. Submitted proposals should plan to be completed within a maximum period of three (3) years.
An applicant (university or post-secondary institution) may be funded for more than one (1) project under this AO provided each project has a different Lead Researcher. Regional distribution will be taken into consideration in the final decision of grant funding, as stated in section 5.3.
A researcher can only be the Lead Researcher for one (1) active grant under this AO at any given time.
Approved proposals will be eligible for a total amount of government assistance (federal, provincial, territorial and municipal) of up to 100% of total project costs.
To determine the amount of funding to be allocated, consideration will be given to the availability of CSA funds, the total cost of the project, and the other confirmed sources of funds provided by other stakeholders and the applicant.
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 grant, with the CSA.
Eligible costs for grants under this AO are the following:
- Access fees;
- Accommodation and meal allowances;
- Acquisition, development and printing of materials;
- Acquisition or rental of equipment; <• Consultant services (not to exceed 30% of thCSASA grant);li>Data acquisition;
- Data management;
- Laboratory analysis services;
- License and permit fees;
- Marketing and printing services;
- Materials and supplies;
- Overhead (administrative) costs (not to exceed 20% of eligible costs for universities);
- Participation fees at conferences, committees and events;
- PST, HST and GST net of any rebate to which the recipient is entitled and the reimbursement of any taxes for goods and services acquired in a foreign country net of any rebate or reimbursement received in the foreign country;
- Publication and communication services;
- Registration fees;
- Salaries and benefits; and
7 FUNDING AGREEMENTS
In this section 7
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.
For grant agreements, payments will be made in a lump sum or instalments as described in the signed agreement. Grant funding agreements will include a clause stipulating the recipient's obligation to confirm—once a year in the case of multi-year agreements—their eligibility for the G&C Program – Research Component and inform the CSA in writing of any changes to the conditions used in determining their eligibility for this component.
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.
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 (L.R.Q., c. 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 (SQRC), as indicated by the Act, before signing any funding agreement with the Government of Canada, its departments or agencies, or a federal public agency.
Consequently, any entity that is subject to the Act is responsible for obtaining such authorization before signing any funding agreement with the Government of Canada.
Quebec applicants must complete, sign and include the M-30 Supporting Documentation form with their application.
7.6 Performance Measurement
The CSA will ask the recipients to report on certain aspects of their projects such as:
- Knowledge Creation
- Knowledge production (including publications)
- Intellectual property (including patents)
- Capacity Building
- Project's research team (including highly qualified personnel supported)
- Partners' contributions
7.7 Open Access Publications
In the event that publications result from the project, the CSA wishes to promote the dissemination of findings that result from the projects it funds as quickly and to the greatest number of people as possible. Improved access to scientific results not only allows scientists to use a broader range of resources and knowledge, but also improves research collaboration and coordination, strengthens citizen engagement and supports the economy.
Thus, the CSA promotes the use of open access publication and archiving by recipients in order to facilitate the widest dissemination of findings that results from its funded projects. Thus, recipients are invited to publish, in a timely matter, their articles by using one of the following methods:
- Accessible online repository (institutional or disciplinary) so that the publication is freely accessible.
- Journal offering open access to articles.
It should be noted that these two methods are not mutually exclusive and that recipients are encouraged to use both.
Finally, the CSA wishes to receive, as a courtesy, a copy of the publications (if not freely accessible) or the hyperlink (if freely accessible) and its digital object identifier (DOI). These will be use to improve accessibility by including them in the CSA publications directory.
8 PRIVACY NOTICE STATEMENT
The CSA manages and protects the information provided by the applicant under the Privacy Act and the Access to Information Act. By submitting your personal information, you consent to its collection, use and disclosure in accordance with the following Privacy Statement, which explains how the information about the applicant will be processed.
The information is collected under the CSA Class 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:
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 email address email@example.com. Questions and answers related to this AO will be posted on the CSA website in the Frequently Asked Questions section of this AO. CSA will respond to questions received before 17:00 ET, 10 business days prior to the closing date.
Question 1: 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 1: 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 2: Are travel expenses an eligible cost if allocated to a non-Canadian member of the project team?
Answer 2: Expenses related to travel, accommodations, meals and conferences fees are only eligible if allocated towards Canadian students (including international students) that are registered in a Canadian university or post-secondary institution (as defined in Annex A, Section 1 of the AO), or to Canadian members of the project team (PIs and Co-Is who are Canadian citizens or permanent residents).
Travel: expenses shall be in direct relation to the project (ex. field work, project meetings). These costs 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 "travelers", rather than those referring to "employees", are applicable.
Question 3: Are the salaries of university faculty or college professors/teachers eligible expenses?
Answer 3: The salaries of university faculty or college professors/teachers are not eligible expenses under this AO, however the salaries of non-faculty co-investigators (e.g. technicians, program managers, etc.) are eligible expenses (falling under the "Salaries and benefits" category).
Question 4: Can a grant recipient transfer funds to another organization through a sub-agreement?
Answer 4: Grants awarded by the CSA cannot be redistributed to another organization; however, goods or services from an organization that are normally offered on a fee basis may be considered as an eligible expense under a category such as "Consulting services", "Acquisition or rental of equipment," or "Materials and supplies."
Question 5: What types of expenditure can be eligible under Data acquisition costs and Data management fees?
Answer 5: 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, data processing and cloud computing fees.
Question 6: Where does my project fit in the ARL ladder?
Answer 6: This is a matter for the applicants to decide based on their understanding of the current state of the art with regards to the present level of knowledge and capabilities in the marketplace. 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. Refer to Appendix B for detailed descriptions of the ARL scale.
Question 7: Is this a standalone funding opportunity or will there be others?
Answer 7: For the time being, this is a one-time funding opportunity.
Question 8: The form says to the limit is 20 pages, does this include CVs and paper references?
Answer 8: No, CVs and references are separate.
Question 9: Do team members (co-investigators) have to provide a letter of support in addition to their CV, even if they are university professors?
Answer 9: Yes, team members (co-investigators) must provide a letter of support.
Question 10: Is it preferable to use free data products and develop solutions, or paid satellite data products? Would there be any preference/requirement around the type of satellite data products used in a proposal?
Answer 10: Free data products or paid data products are both accepted. The type of satellite data products used is at the discretion of the research team.
Question 11: Can I use international data for my project or must it be Canadian?
Answer 11: You can use any data, it does not need to be Canadian.
Question 12: If I'm developing a new antenna, can I apply for this Announcement of Opportunity?
Answer 12: Pre-mission hardware development, such as antennas, are best suited for the Flights and Fieldwork for the Advancement of Science and Technology (FAST) AO which you can find here: https://www.asc-csa.gc.ca/eng/funding-programs/funding-opportunities/ao/2023-fast.asp.
Question 13: Can a post-doctoral fellow (PDF) serve as co-investigator on a project team?
Answer 13: Yes.
Question 14: Will the currently announced budget cuts impact the number of available grants resulting from this AO? And if so, can CSA provide an anticipated impact by updating the expected number of grants?
Answer 14: For our AO, as mentioned at the top of the page, we have the following approvals:
- Maximum Amount per Project: up to $312,500
- Estimated Total Amount of the AO: up to $5,000,000
- Number of potential agreements: up to 20
Question 15: Is there any format or length restrictions for team member CVs? Is the CSA CV template mandatory?
Answer 15: There are no restrictions on CV and the CSA CV template isn't mandatory.
Question 16: Can I use earth-based data for this Announcement of Opportunity?
Answer 16: No, you must use satellite data.
Question 17: Can a Research Associate be a team member?
Answer 17: Yes, they can be a team member provided their role within the team is clear and their expertise is sufficient as demonstrated in their CV.
Question 18: Do the 20 pages for the detailed description include the cover page?
Answer 18: No, the cover page is not included in the detailed description page numbers.
Question 19: Can non-project research organizations apply for this opportunity?
Answer 19: No, this AO is for universities and post-secondary institutions. However, if a researcher in the organization is faculty in a university or post-secondary institution, they can apply in that role.
10 APPENDIX A: EVALUATION CRITERIA
In this sectionAppendix A
Each criterion will be rated on a letter scale from A to E, with A being the highest score. A numerical weight is associated with each letter.
Each criterion will be rated on a scale from "Excellent" to "Does not address" with corresponding score ranges as described in the table in Section 5.2. The final scores for each criterion will be determined as part of the consensus discussions by the evaluators.
There is an overall required minimum score of 60 to pass. The applicant is advised to read Evaluation Criteria carefully when preparing the proposal.
1. Benefits to Canada
- Maximum: 30
1.1 Priority Alignment
The purpose of this criterion is to evaluate how well the proposal aligns with the CSA priorities selected by the applicant.
- Does the proposal give a good description of the subject area and identify how it contributes to one or more of the CSA priorities?
- Harness satellite EO to address climate change and issues that matter to Canadians?
- Strengthen delivery of critical services to keep Canadians healthy, safe and informed?
- Inspire skills and capacity development for the next generation?
- Ensure that satellite EO data is free, open, and accessible to maximize science, innovation, and economy?
- How significant an advance would be made?
|Does not address
|The proposal makes no mention of, and does not align with any of the chosen CSA priorities. (Score: E=0)
|The proposal poorly aligns with any particular CSA priority. (Score: D=1)
|The proposal superficially relates to topics outlined in the chosen CSA priorities. (Score: C=5)
|The proposal specifically references elements of the chosen CSA priorities, and aligns with at least one of those priorities. (Score: B=10)
|The proposal is central to the chosen CSA priorities. It references and aligns well with multiple priorities therein. (Score: A=15)
1.2 Merit of Project
The purpose of this criterion is to evaluate if the proposal demonstrates the proposed work to be innovative, impactful, and novel. The applicant must clearly identify the starting ARL (see Appendix B), including the targeted ARL level at the end of the project (if applicable) and how this will be achieved.
- Does the project contribute to the development of new techniques, algorithms, information products, or pedagogical material that could have a significant impact in the long term?
|Does not address
|The proposed work is not original and/or has no conceivable impact on the relevant field of study and does not correspond to any ARL. (Score: E=0)
|The proposed work contains little, if any, ideas of significance. It is not clear what if it will have an impact to the relevant field of study or which ARL is addressed. (Score: D=1)
|The proposed work contains few new ideas of significance. This work will have minor impact to the relevant field of study. ARL is clearly mentioned. (Score: C=5)
|The proposed work is original. It will meaningfully contribute to the relevant field of study. ARL is clearly mentioned. (Score: B=10)
|The proposed work will address key questions and significantly advance the relevant field of study. ARL is clearly mentioned. (Score: A=15)
- Maximum: 30
2.1 Development of Highly Qualified Personnel (HQP)
The purpose of this criterion is to evaluate to what degree graduate students and early-career researchers will contribute to the proposed research. Proposals should include a development plan that describes how the HQP will be mentored to acquire the desired competencies and specific activities contributing to their experience development with the space utilization ecosystem. In this context, early-career researchers must have completed their most recent degree within the past five years, and must hold a bachelor's degree.
- Are specific activities and roles identified for the graduate student and/or early-career researcher who are taking part in the proposed work?
|Does not address
|Graduate students and/or early-career researchers will play no part in the proposed work. (Score: E=0)
|Graduate students and/or early-career researchers will play a minor part in the proposed work. (Score: D=1)
|Graduate students and/or early-career researchers will play an average role in the proposed work. (Score: C=5)
|Graduate students and/or early-career researchers will play a significant role in the proposed work. (Score: B=10)
|Graduate students and/or early-career researchers will play a central role in the proposed work. (Score: A=15)
2.2 Application of Results
The purpose of this criterion is to evaluate the likelihood that the proposed work can be applied and provide benefit to relevant stakeholders in a timely manner. In this context, stakeholders could be the private sector, the academic community including professors, students, researchers (national or international), government agencies, and/or the home organization. Examples include, but should not be limited to: improved state-of-the-art EO methods, tools, courses; EO outreach activities adopting the project results, presentations and papers; number of hired and graduating students, internships, scholarships, employment; participation in EO research activities and professional development through interactions with research team members.
|Does not address
|The proposal does not demonstrate how the proposed work will benefit the stakeholders. (Score: E=0)
|The proposal poorly demonstrates how the proposed work will benefit the stakeholders. (Score: D=1)
|The proposal demonstrates that the proposed work has the potential to benefit the stakeholders. (Score: C=5)
|The proposal demonstrates that the proposed work will benefit the stakeholders. (Score: B=10)
|The proposal demonstrates that the proposed work will significantly benefit the stakeholders. (Score: A=15)
- Maximum: 10
3.1 Methodology Feasibility
The purpose of this criterion is to evaluate how appropriate the proposed methodology is for achieving the goals of the proposed work. 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. The methodology plan should summarize the main work packages, and how the work will achieve the technical objectives for the proposed research.
|Does not address
|The proposed methodology is inappropriate for the goals of the proposal. (Score: E=0)
|The proposed methodology is likely to achieve few of the proposal's goals. (Score: D=1)
|The proposed methodology is likely to achieve some of the proposal's goals. (Score: C=2)
|The proposed methodology is likely to achieve most of the proposal's goals. (Score: B=4)
|The proposed methodology is likely to achieve all of the proposal's goals. (Score: A=5)
3.2 Schedule Feasibility
The purpose of this criterion is to evaluate how well the proposal demonstrates that the proposed work will be completed within the duration of the grant. The management plan should summarize the milestones, schedule, and how the work will be managed.
|Does not address
|The proposal does not include a work schedule. (Score: E=0)
|The proposed work schedule is either unreasonable or does not include sufficient detail to judge accurately. (Score: D=1)
|The proposed work schedule is mostly complete and reasonable. However, it is unclear if all proposed work will be completed during the grant. (Score: C=2)
|The proposed work schedule is complete and reasonable. However, it is some of the proposed work may not be completed during the grant. (Score: B=4)
|The proposed work schedule is complete and carefully planned. All goals listed in the proposal will likely be completed during the grant. (Score: A=5)
- Maximum: 20
4.1 Research team
The purpose of this criterion is to evaluate the expertise of the research team, including collaborators, in fields relevant to the proposed work. The proposal should include a description for each of the proposed team members stating their roles and responsibilities within the project. Resumes should be provided in an appendix.
|Does not address
|The research team has no experience in the relevant fields of study. (Score: E=0)
|The research team has little experience in the relevant fields of study. (Score: D=1)
|The research team has experience in related fields of study. However, it is missing several skillsets key to completion of the proposed work. (Score: C=4)
|The research team has experience in the relevant fields of study, and is well suited for the proposed work. (Score: B=7)
|The research team has significant experience in all fields relevant to the proposed research, and contains world-class expertise in certain domains. The applicant must also demonstrate how its organization or team contributes to EDI (equity, diversity and inclusion) and Indigenous People involvement. (Score: A=10)
The purpose of this criterion is to evaluate if the budget provided with the proposal is complete and feasible.
- Is the primary investigator identified?
- Is a work breakdown structure (WBS) included?
- Is a project schedule included that shows milestones including a kickoff meeting and annual and final reports?
- Is a responsibility assignment matrix (RAM) included that shows the level of effort (in days) for each team member?
|Does not address
|The proposal does not include a budget. (Score: E=0)
|The proposal includes a budget but it is not complete. (Score: D=1)
|The proposed budget appears reasonable but does not include sufficient detail to judge accurately. (Score: C=4)
|The proposed budget is mostly complete and reasonable. The amount requested is reasonable for completion of the proposed work. (Score: B=7)
|The budget in the proposal provides sufficient detail to describe accurately the use of the requested funds. The amount requested is reasonable for completion of the proposed work. (Score: A=10)
5. Technical and Management Risk and Mitigation
- Maximum: 10
The purpose of this criterion is to evaluate how well the proposal identifies potential risks associated with the proposed scope of work, an assessment of the potential likelihood of the risk occurrence, its level of impact on the work, as well as mitigation strategies for each risk. Possible risks could include difficulty hiring appropriate HQP, loss of HQP to the project, difficulty acquiring needed parts, change in data availability, etc.
|Does not address
|The proposal does not include a risk analysis and mitigation strategy. (Score: E=0)
|The proposal somewhat provides a risk assessment for the proposed research but lacks details to understand how identified risks could jeopardize the successful completion of the project. (Score: D=1)
|The proposal provides a risk assessment for the proposed research along with the mitigation strategy but some elements are missing or show correctable weaknesses. (Score: C=4)
|The proposal lists credible risks to the completion of the proposed work, including effective mitigation strategies for those risks identified. However, the proposal has omitted at least one significant risk to the proposed work that is apparent to the reviewer. (Score: B=7)
|The proposal lists effective mitigation strategies for all risks to the completion of the proposed work. The proposal has not omitted any significant risks to the proposed work that are apparent to the reviewer. (Score: A=10)
Overall Evaluation Score
- Maximum score 100
- Minimum passing score 60
11 APPENDIX B: Application Readiness Level (ARL) Descriptions
In this sectionappendix B
- 11.1 smartEarth Application Readiness Level 1
- 11.2 smartEarth Application Readiness Level 2
- 11.3 smartEarth Application Readiness Level 3
- 11.4 smartEarth Application Readiness Level 4
- 11.5 smartEarth Application Readiness Level 5
- 11.6 smartEarth Application Readiness Level 6
- 11.7 smartEarth Application Readiness Level 7
- 11.8 smartEarth Application Readiness Level 8
- 11.9 smartEarth Application Readiness Level 9
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.
11.1 smartEarth Application Readiness Level 1
11.1.1 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.
11.1.2 Milestones to Accomplish
- Identifying the application with challenges in need of an improvement or solution;
- Recognizing the fundamental nature of the application, including the underlying theory and dynamics in relation to space-based data.
11.1.3 Key Components
- Provide a comprehensive summary of the application and the challenges it faces, including applicable theory and dynamics, and its relevance to space data;
- Summarize the current importance and impact of the application to society.
11.2 smartEarth Application Readiness Level 2
11.2.1 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.
11.2.2 Milestones to Accomplish
- Clear understanding of the current state-of-the-art (SOTA) in relation to the chosen application;
- Review of the possible approach options that could result in a potential improvement to or eventual solution for the application. This may include new methods, systems, products or services.
11.2.3 Key Components
- Provide a comprehensive summary of the current state-of-the-art (SOTA) in relation to the chosen application with a relevant literature review;
- Identify the shortcomings in the current SOTA and the gaps that need to be filled;
- Summarize the approach options for a potential improvement to or eventual solution for the application.
11.3 smartEarth Application Readiness Level 3
11.3.1 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.
11.3.2 Milestones to Accomplish
- Clear rationale for the selection of the proposed approach including the development plan;
- Explanation as to how the proposed approach is an improvement over current approaches for the application.
11.3.3 Key Components
- Provide a logic-based justification for the selection of the proposed approach, including the basic underlying assumptions;
- Summarize the methodology to be used, including all of the necessary program elements;
- Identify the specific improvements and innovations that the approach will create.
11.4 smartEarth Application Readiness Level 4
11.4.1 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.
11.4.2 Milestones to Accomplish
- Individual components or aspects of the approach have been developed;
- Plan for the integration and validation of the approach components has been made;
- Risks with mitigation and corrective strategies have been considered.
11.4.3 Key Components
- The main aspects of the approach have been developed and preliminary tests successfully completed;
- Refinements to the approach have been justified and made;
- Individual components have been integrated into the overall system to confirm their viability.
11.5 smartEarth Application Readiness Level 5
11.5.1 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.
11.5.2 Milestones to Accomplish
- The integrated components are to be validated and verified against empirical data related to the application;
- Based on the validation process and its results, changes to the approach may be made.
11.5.3 Key Components
- The feasibility of the concept has to be demonstrated using empirical or simulated data for the application;
- Any changes to the approach should be created and also demonstrated;
- The level of success should be quantifiable and realistically evaluated for the application, identifying its impact on the application.
11.6 smartEarth Application Readiness Level 6
11.6.1 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.
11.6.2 Milestones to Accomplish
- A true test of the concept in an operational context will be successfully completed and demonstrated;
- Additional improvements may be identified in order to address implementation issues.
11.6.3 Key Components
- The test in an operational context has been successfully conducted, including any adjustments to the approach that had been previously identified;
- The major advantages and limitations of the concept have been identified and summarized;
- Implications to the use of the concept within the operational context have been summarized.
11.7 smartEarth Application Readiness Level 7
11.7.1 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.
11.7.2 Milestones to Accomplish
- The solution may have to be tailored to meet specific applications challenges;
- Although the solution may not be able to address the needs of all users in all circumstances, it should meet the needs of specific users with identifiable requirements to facilitate implementation.
11.7.3 Key Components
- Refinements to the solution should meet the needs of specific users and be tailored and demonstrated to address those particular requirements;
- Acceptance of the performance of the solution should be confirmed by the user along with their recommendations related to the operational steps.
11.8 smartEarth Application Readiness Level 8
11.8.1 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.
11.8.2 Milestones to Accomplish
- The solution will have met or exceeded operational expectations and begin to build a proven record of achievement;
- The solution will begin to grow to a wider level of use or have a greater degree of impact within the user's operations.
11.8.3 Key Components
- The operational details for implementation will have been identified and accommodated within the user's organization, including training and procedures;
- Tangible benefits will be identified and summarized, along with any further recommendations for future improvements or uses.
11.9 smartEarth Application Readiness Level 9
11.9.1 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.
11.9.2 Milestones to Accomplish
- The solution has achieved widespread recognition and use within several operational environments;
- Ultimately, the solution has the potential to become the gold standard in addressing a pressing application challenge.
11.9.3 Key Components
- The solution is in regular, operational use within a variety of organizations and is recognized as an appropriate solution for a particular application;
- The solution has been commercialized and is enjoying rewarding sales and widespread use in the marketplace.
- The solution has potential to be extended to other applications fields and to new user communities.
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