Earth System Science Advisory Committee (ESSAC) Terms of Reference
Space Utilization Development
The ESSAC 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 the scientific discipline known as the Earth system sciences, a multidisciplinary approach to studying Earth as a system. This approach involves studying the processes and interactions among the atmosphere, hydrosphere, cryosphere, biosphere, and geosphere.
The co-Chairs of the ESSAC will coordinate with the co-Chairs of the Atmospheric Science and the Solar-Terrestrial Science Advisory Committees in the interest of ensuring adequate communications about topics of mutual interest.
The ESSAC provides advice on discipline priorities, solicitations to the scientific community, and opportunities arising from national and international programs and infrastructure.Footnote 1
The ESSAC supports the planning, validation, and updating of long-term roadmaps and program strategies related to the discipline, as requested by the CSA Director of Space Utilization Development.Footnote 2
The ESSAC monitors the impact and efficacy of CSA programs and initiatives as they relate to the discipline and provides feedback to the CSA.
The ESSAC reports to the CSA Director of Space Utilization Development.
The committee is formulated to obtain broad representation from the Canadian Earth system science community. It acts as a liaison between the community and the CSA. 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 and appointed by the CSA on the basis of their expertise, experience, and interest. There are six (6) External members.
- Additional members:
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:
Nominated by the committee and appointed by the CSA to provide representation of stakeholder programs, committees, and working groups. The CSA Director of Space Utilization Development reserves the right to limit the number of Ex Officio members for budgetary reasons.Footnote 3
Nominated by the committee and appointed by the CSA to provide specific expertise and experience not otherwise available to the committee.
- CSA members:
Appointed by the CSA. All CSA members are considered as Observers unless they serve on the executive of the committee.
External and Additional members are eligible to vote while Ex Officio members, Observers, and CSA members are not eligible to vote.
Subsequent to initial establishment of the committee by the CSA, external members will be nominated by the committee 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 the Earth system sciences as is feasible.
All members are required to pass 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 Utilization Development appoints all members.
External members serve for a three (3) year term. Membership may be renewed, however, renewal for more than two consecutive terms is discouraged. 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.
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. The External co-Chair may be asked to represent the committee on advisory committees that address the broader space science community.
- CSA co-Chair:
Appointed by the CSA Director of Space Utilization 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 Utilization Development from the CSA members. Records the meeting attendance, prepares the minutes of the meetings, and maintains permanent records of the committee's activities.
Meetings normally take place two (2) times per year. The dates are selected to align with the CSA's annual planning cycle. If the need arises, additional meetings may be organized.
Communications are carried out by email, teleconferences, and WebEx. Face-to-face meetings with teleconference/videoconference support may be scheduled if required. The co-Chairs are responsible for the logistical arrangements.
The meeting agendas are developed jointly by the External and CSA co-Chairs. The draft agenda is made publicly available no later than twenty (20) business days prior to the meeting. Members of the Earth system sciences community are invited to suggest items to be added to the agenda.
The minutes of the meetings are prepared by the Executive Secretary. The minutes are made available to committee members no later than ten (10) business days after the meeting.
No compensation is provided for the committee's work. External, Additional members, and Ex Officio members may request travel support for face-to-face meetings. For budgetary reasons, Observers and government employees are not eligible for travel support.
6. Reporting and Communications
Results of the meetings will include:
- 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 publically shared without mutual consent of the CSA and the committee.
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.
The terms of reference are approved by the undersigned:
- Footnote 1
The infrastructure may be space-based, airborne, or ground-based.
- Footnote 2
These activities may include the organization of and participation in topical teams, working groups, or workshops for the purpose of developing community consensus.
- Footnote 3
Examples of potential Ex Officio members include the following: NSERC representative, CFI representative, Topical Team chair, etc.
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