Joint Committee on Space Astronomy (JCSA) Terms of Reference
Space Exploration Development
The Joint Committee on Space Astronomy (JCSA) is one of several science advisory committees responsible for providing independent advice to the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) on its scientific disciplines and their associated programs. The committee concerns itself with space astronomy, including support to development of space and sub-orbital missions, science, technologies, and community in all areas of space astronomy.
CSA recognizes the unique role amongst Canadian space science disciplines of the Canadian Astronomical Society (CASCA) which co-ordinates a community Long Range Plan for Astronomy (LRP) for Astronomy in Canada. The development of LRP priorities in Canada is monitored and supported by CASCA through its association with the Association of Canadian Universities for Research in Astronomy (ACURA) and the Coalition for Canadian Astronomy (CCA). JCSA acts as a liaison between the CSA, CASCA, and the community. The JCSA also maintains liaison between other government departments such as NRC HAA and NSERC.
The JCSA provides advice on discipline priorities, solicitations to the scientific community, and opportunities arising from national and international programs and infrastructure.
The JCSA supports the planning, validation, and updating of long-term roadmaps, aligned with the Canadian Long Range Plan for Astronomy (LRP), and program strategies related to the discipline, as requested by the CSA Director of Space Exploration Development and/or the CASCA board.
The JCSA monitors the impact and efficacy of CSA programs and initiatives as they relate to the discipline and provides feedback to the CSA.
The JCSA reports to the CSA Director of Space Exploration Development and the CASCA Board.
The JCSA serves to provide strategic guidance to the CASCA Board and the astronomical community in general and specifically for the Long Range Plan.
The committee is formulated to obtain broad representation from the Canadian space astronomy community.
The membership consists of five classes of members:
- External members:
Subsequent to initial establishment of the committee by the CSA, external members will be nominated by the committee (including input from and consultation with the CASCA Board, see 3.2) and appointed by the CSA on the basis of their expertise, experience, and interest. There are six (6) External members.
- Additional members:
May be appointed by the CSA to provide additional expertise and experience not otherwise available to the committee. There are no more than two (2) Additional members.
- Ex Officio members:
By virtue of their external positions related to the Canadian astronomy community, Ex Officio members provide representation of stakeholder programs, committees, and working groups. The CSA Director of Space Exploration Development reserves the right to limit the number of Ex Officio members for budgetary reasons. Ex Officio members have full access to JCSA sessions (i.e., including closed/in-camera sessions).
- The CASCA President
- Chairs of CSA Topical Teams or similar CSA discipline working groups (when active)
- The CSA Departmental Science Advisor
- A CASCA Long Range Plan (LRP) panelist representative, nominated by the committee following consultation with the CASCA Board and appointed by the CSA
- CSA members:
Appointed by the CSA. All CSA members are considered as Observers unless they serve on the executive of the committee.
On special occasions, the CSA may request certain member(s) from the JCSA to represent the Canadian space astronomy community on national and international science committees and working groups.
Nominated by the committee and appointed by the CSA to provide specific expertise and experience not otherwise available to the committee.
The following will be considered to have a standing invitation to attend all meetings as Observers:
- The Director General of NRC Herzberg Astronomy and Astrophysics
- An NSERC representative
- The CASCA Ground-based Astronomy Committee (GAC) chair
- The CASCA LRP Community Recommendations Implementation Committee (LCRIC) chair
The following will be considered to have a standing invitation to attend all meetings as Ex Officio members:
External and Additional members are eligible to vote while Ex Officio members, CSA members, and Observers are not eligible to vote.
Subsequent to initial establishment of the committee by the CSA, external members will be nominated by the committee (including input from and consultation with the CASCA board) and appointed by the CSA on the basis of their expertise, experience, and interest in relation to the mandate of the committee.
Subject to the foregoing, the membership is selected to reflect a wide geographic distribution across Canada, to represent the diversity of the community (e.g. academia / industry / government, teaching / research / management, career stage, women / Indigenous peoples / disabled persons / visible minorities), and to represent as many of the sub-disciplines within space astronomy as is feasible.
Processes to identify new external / additional members should be regularly reviewed with the goal of soliciting this diverse committee, including to enable individuals to self-nominate.
Individuals may self-nominate for potential JCSA membership at any time via contacting a JCSA co-chair. Self-nominations will be subject to the approval of the CASCA Board in the same manner as committee nominated candidates.
In exceptional circumstances, membership of CASCA is not a requirement for nomination as an external member of JCSA.
All members are required to pass or confirm a security check before being appointed. The security check is required by the CSA in order to be able to share protected government information with members and to enable members to attend meetings held at CSA headquarters. Members may also be asked to sign non-disclosure agreements related to specific agenda items.
The CSA Director of Space Exploration Development (SED) appoints all members.
External members serve for a three (3) year term. Membership may be renewed for one additional year. An appropriate number of members are appointed, renewed, or rotated annually to maintain a representative composition of the committee while minimizing loss of experience and continuity. Consecutive terms will not be allowed, but members may serve more than once.
The Co-chairs of the committee may request the Director of SED to terminate the membership of an External member and/or appoint a new External member out of rotation for reasons of resignation, failure to attend meetings, lack of participation in the committee, or for other justifiable reasons.
Additional members may serve for as long as the CSA requires their specific expertise and experience to be available to the committee.
Ex Officio members and Observers may serve for as long as the committee requires their specific expertise and experience.
The committee executive consists of two co-Chairs and an Executive Secretary:
- External co-Chair:
Appointed by the committee from the External members. Nominally serves a two (2) year term. The External co-Chair develops meeting agendas jointly with the CSA co-Chair and is responsible for the logistical arrangement of meetings held at non-CSA locations.
- CSA co-Chair:
Appointed by the CSA Director of Space Exploration Development from the CSA members. The CSA co-Chair develops meeting agendas jointly with the External co-Chair and is responsible for the logistical arrangement of meetings held at the CSA as well as meetings held by teleconference/videoconference.
- Executive Secretary:
Appointed by the CSA Director of Space Exploration Development from the CSA members. Records the meeting attendance, prepares the minutes of the meetings, and maintains permanent records of the committee's activities.
The co-Chairs or their delegates may be asked to represent the committee on advisory committees that address the broader space science community.
Meetings normally take place two (2) times per year. The dates are selected to align with the CSA's annual planning cycle and the CASCA Annual Meeting. If needs arise, additional meetings may be organized. To enable the JCSA to fulfill its mandate to monitor, guide, and report on progress of LRP priorities, additional effort and activity beyond the semi-annual meetings is anticipated.
Communications are carried out by email and teleconferences. Face-to-face meetings with secure teleconference / videoconference support may be scheduled when required. The co-Chairs are responsible for organizing the meetings.
At the beginning of each meeting and as they come up, any conflicts of interest for External, Additional and Ex-officio members must be declared and recorded. Members with conflicts of interest may be asked to leave meetings for certain discussions at the request of other committee members.
No compensation is provided for the committee's work. Academic external, additional and Ex Officio members may request travel support for face-to-face meetings. Observers and employees from Other Government Departments are not eligible for CSA travel support.
6. Reporting and Communications
Results of the meetings will include:
- The final agenda, attendance list, and minutes of the meeting
- a record of opinions or recommendations submitted to the CSA Director of Space Exploration Development, if requested
- A review of CSA planning documents and solicitations related to space astronomy, if requested
- Input to CSA-led workshop planning, program, and participation, if requested
No one, other than the co-Chairs, may represent or speak on behalf of the committee unless requested to do so by the co-Chairs.
Reports from the committee should not be publicly shared without mutual consent of the CSA and the committee, with the purpose of protecting confidential elements of discussion and material. A CSA approved version of meeting reports will be provided to the CASCA Board for public distribution on the CASCA website.
In addition to the minutes of meetings, the Executive Secretary generates and maintains permanent records documenting the activities of the committee, including copies of presentations, reports produced for or by the committee, and records of the membership. External, Additional, and Ex Officio JCSA members have access to JCSA records (e.g., CSA internal secure FTP document storage site).
The following will be standard practice:
- A condition for membership of the committee includes a willingness to be contacted by the scientific community to communicate concerns and feedback to CSA
- The identity and contact information of all committee members (including name, affiliation and email address) will be published on the CSA website
- Reports, after redaction of confidential elements, will be posted in a publicly available and timely manner in both official languages. The reports will present the synthesized committee consensus view
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