Student Participation Initiative – European Space Agency's Earth Explorer Conference 2017

Announcement of Opportunity

Publication date: January 6, 2017

Application deadline: January 27, 2017

1. Introduction

The Canadian Space Agency (CSA) will be awarding grants to students to attend the following conferences:

Conference Application deadline
The Fourth Swarm Science Meeting & Geodetic Missions Workshop, in March 2017, hosted by the European Space Agency (ESA) in Banff, Alberta. January 27, 2017
The North American Cryosat Science Meeting, in March 2017, hosted by the ESA in Banff, Alberta. January 27, 2017

For students, those conferences are an opportunity to forge valuable ties with professionals and other students from all over the world who share their interests. Throughout the conferences, students will have a chance to talk to professionals, learn from their expertise and be exposed to the latest science discoveries from those missions. Students are full participants in the conferences, lending the workshops and plenary sessions a new energy and outlook that are greatly appreciated.

As part of its commitment to help train the rising generation of space professionals, the CSA is inviting university students (bachelor's, masters, doctoral and postdoctoral) to apply. If your summary (abstract) has been accepted for presentation or if you simply want to develop your knowledge, the CSA will consider awarding you a grant. These awards will be allocated in accordance with the priority criteria outlined hereinafter.

2. Eligibility criteria

To apply for the Student Participation Initiative, you must meet the following eligibility criteria:

  1. You must be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident;
  2. You must be enrolled in a full-time program in a Canadian University.
  3. You must be a student (bachelor's, master's, doctoral), or a postdoctoral researcher, in Sciences or Engineering at the time of the proposed conferences.

3. How to apply

Follow these steps to submit your application for funding to the CSA's Student Participation Initiative.

  1. Download and complete the grant application form (Word - 34 KB or PDF - 237 KB templates).
  2. Applications must contain the following:
    • duly completed application form;
    • copy of your proof of citizenship (such as a Canadian passport) or permanent resident card;
    • attestation of student enrolment in spring 2017;
    • a copy of your summary (abstract), as submitted to the conference, if applicable;
    • a reference letter from a professor.
    • a motivation letter of 500 to 1000 words on what you expect to gain from attending the conference (can be part of the application form or a separate document).
    • The printout of a quote for an economy class airfare, if applicable
  3. Applications must be mailed to the CSA at this address:

Student Participation Initiative
c/o Isabelle Lamoureux
Canadian Space Agency
6767 Route de l'Aéroport
Saint-Hubert, Quebec J3Y 8Y9

  • Applications must be received by the CSA no later than January 27, 2017.
  • Applications sent by email will not be accepted.
  • Incomplete applications will be rejected.

4. Criteria and selection process

Because of the limited funding available, the eligible proposals will be scored by members of a committee according to the following table and will be funded in decreasing order of the average scores:

None/Poor Good Outstanding Max Score
Abstract 0 1 2 2
Reference Letter 0 4 8 8
Motivation Letter 0 3 6 6
Budget 0 2 4 4
Education factor See table below 5
Total       25

In the context of this evaluation, the evaluation scale language ladder is defined as following:

None/Poor: applies to an element that is either absent or that is not adequate, while leaving the application eligible. A letter that does not express the scientific/academic value of attending the event would be rated as poor. A budget that is not realistic would produce a "Poor" evaluation of an application form.

Good: Describes an element that is present and meets its goal of confirming that the candidate has a genuine interest in the conference, at least for considering career options.

Outstanding: The element states strongly the exceptional capacity or interest of the candidate.

Further, to encourage the participation of students who consider graduate studies in the fields supported by those missions, and to enable them to meet scientists in those domains during the conference, the following bonus will be added to the score:

Current level Education factor
Masters 5
Undergraduate (last year) 4
Undergraduate 2
Ph. D. 1
Postdoctoral researcher 1

Please note that the decisions of the Student Participation Initiative selection panel regarding grant applications are final.

5. Service standards

Applicants will be informed by email concerning their grant application. The names of successful applicants will be posted on the CSA website. The CSA has drawn up service standards regarding deadlines for processing applications, in particular for acknowledgement, funding decisions and payment arrangements.

Acknowledgement: The CSA's objective is to acknowledge applications within 5 working days of the initiative closing date.

Decisions: The CSA's objective is to email replies within 15 working days of the application deadline and to email funding agreements for signing.

Payment: The CSA's objective is to issue payments within 20 working days of receiving the funding agreement signed by the student.

Adherence to these service standards is a shared responsibility. Applicants must provide all the required documents at the right time.

6. Funding available and eligible costs

The maximum value per grant is $4000. The maximum allowable cost for airfare ($4,000) is much higher than required for persons living in most urban centers to accommodate persons who may need to travel from remote locations. You must be traveling to and from a single Canadian location. Ten (10) grants will be issued from this Announcement of Opportunity (AO). There is no registration fee for these conferences. The grant will cover a maximum of $175 per day for food and lodging expenses, and will support the air or road transportation, as required. Each applicant is required to produce a budget including an amount for the transportation, based on estimates for economy class tickets. Ground transportation from the Calgary airport is provided by the conference.

The CSA reserves the right to reject applications or to reduce the amount of a grant at its sole discretion. All costs over and above the amount granted by the CSA must be assumed by the student.

7. Grant agreements

The CSA and the successful applicants (beneficiaries) will sign a grant agreement. This condition must be met for the CSA to issue payment.


Payment will be made as indicated in the signed grant agreement. Beneficiaries undertake to inform the CSA in writing of any change in the conditions used to establish their eligibility for the grant (i.e. student status, citizenship status).

Final report

The CSA will require beneficiaries to produce a report on their return from the conference, using the template provided by the Agency.

8. Confidentiality

The collected information will be used to evaluate and select applications. The CSA will comply with the federal government's Access to Information Act and Privacy Act in processing applications received. By submitting your personal information, you consent to its collection, use and disclosure in accordance with the following Confidentiality Statement, which explains how information on applicants is handled.

All necessary measures will be taken to protect the confidentiality of information provided by applicants. This information is gathered under the terms of the CSA's Class Grant and Contribution Program to Support Research, Awareness and Learning in Space Science and Technology (PPU040). Personal information will be kept in a CSA personal information bank for five years according to the retention schedule.

Applicants must acknowledge that for any agreement exceeding $25,000, details of the funding agreement (amount, whether grant or contribution, name of beneficiary and site of project) will be publicly accessible on the CSA's Internet site.

For more information on the Privacy Act or to access your personal information contact:

Access to Information and Privacy Office
Canadian Space Agency
Telephone: 450-926-4866

9. Additional information

  1. The conference, its activities and its workshops will mostly take place at Banff Park Lodge Resort Hotel and Conference Centre, located near Banff National Park.
  2. You are responsible for your lodging. As the conference is located at a lodging centre, this will likely be a good place to start, the conference website offers a block booking option.
  3. Please go to the conference website for more information on the technical program.

10. Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

Should the need arise; it is up to applicants to obtain clarification of the requirements contained in this initiative before applying.

For all questions, applicants must use this generic email address: Questions and their answers will be posted on the CSA website under "Frequently asked questions." The CSA will answer questions received by 5 p.m. (EST) on January 18, 2017.

Applicants are invited to submit comments or suggestions to the CSA on this funding opportunity, the initiative or the process. Applicants may either use for their comments the generic email address or the generic web-based comments and suggestions box.

Question 1: Do you accept email submissions?

Answer 1: No, as mentionned in section 3 of the AO.

Question 2: Are Canadian student studying abroad eligible?

Answer 2: As stated in section 6 of the AO, the flights are limited to the Canadian territory.

Question 3: How should the reference letter be sent?

Answer 3: A signed reference letter must be sent in the same envelope as the application form.

Question 4: Do postdoctoral scholars need to submit documentation as proof of their status? If so, can you provide a description of the appropriate documentation?

Answer 4: Postdoctoral scholars must submit a letter from the university stating their status.

Question 5: To be eligible, must I simply be enrolled in the spring academic term, or do I need to be enrolled in classes during the time of the conferences?

Answer 5: As stated in section 2, you have to show you are enrolled in a full time program in a canadian university. The number of classes you are enrolled in is not important.

Question 6: The group room booking has to be done by January 19, but as a student I won't find out if I get funding until much later than that.

Answer 6: Please verify with the hotel if they have a cancellation policy. You should be able to book the hotel at no charge before the deadline.

Question 7: Are international student enrolled in canadian universities eligible?

Answer 7: As stated in section 2, this AO is reserved for canadian citizens, or permanent residents.

Question 8: In section 3, it says you need a copy of my summary or abstract but I'm not sure what that means.

Answer 8: Participants to the conference that wanted to make a presentation had to submit an abstract to the organizers. Please include that abstract in your application if you submitted one to the conference. You are still eligible if you do not have an abstract.