Solar-Terrestrial Science Advisory Committee (STSAC) Terms of Reference

Space Utilization Development

1. Introduction

The STSAC 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 solar-terrestrial sciences, the study the Earth's space environment, how it is affected by the Sun, and its interaction with the Earth and its atmosphere.

The co-Chairs of the STSAC will coordinate with the co-Chairs of the Atmospheric Science and the Earth System Science Advisory Committees in the interest of ensuring adequate communications about topics of mutual interest.

2. Mandate

The STSAC provides advice on discipline priorities, solicitations to the scientific community, and opportunities arising from national and international programs and infrastructure.Footnote 1

The STSAC 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 STSAC monitors the impact and efficacy of CSA programs and initiatives as they relate to the discipline and provides feedback to the CSA and the Division of Atmospheric and Space Physics (DASP) of the Canadian Association of Physicists.

The STSAC acts as the Canadian National Committee (CNC) to the Scientific Committee on Solar Terrestrial Physics (SCOSTEP).

The STSAC reports to the CSA Director of Space Utilization Development.

3. Membership

3.1 Composition

The committee is formulated to obtain broad representation from the Canadian solar-terrestrial science community. It acts as a liaison between DASP 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 DASP and appointed by the CSA on the basis of their expertise, experience, and interest. There are six (6) External members, one of whom serves as the Canadian National Representative (CNR) to SCOSTEP.

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

Observers:

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.

3.2 Appointment

Subsequent to initial establishment of the committee by the CSA, external members will be nominated by DASP 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 solar-terrestrial 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.

3.3 Tenure

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. The term of the CNR to SCOSTEP is synchronized with the election of SCOSTEP's Executive Officers and may exceed three years.

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.

3.4 Executive

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.

4. Meetings

Meetings normally take place two (2) times per year. The dates are selected to align with the CSA's annual planning cycle and the DASP Annual Meeting. 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 solar-terrestrial 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.

5. Compensation

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:

  1. the final agenda, attendance list, and minutes of the meeting;
  2. a record of opinions or recommendations submitted to the CSA Director of Space Utilization Development, if requested;
  3. a review of CSA planning documents and solicitations related to the solar-terrestrial sciences, if requested; and
  4. 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.

7. SCOSTEP

Under the terms and conditions of Canada's membership in international scientific organizations under the umbrella of the International Council for Science (ICSU) managed by the National Research Council (NRC), each such organization must have a CNC in order to coordinate national interests. In the case of SCOSTEP, the CSA is the Canadian agency supporting the affiliation with NRC being the Canadian adhering member and paying the annual membership dues. The STSAC will thus also act as the CNC for SCOSTEP. Specifically, the committee will work with the CNR to:

  • collect and reconcile the views of the Canadian solar-terrestrial science community on relevant issues associated with SCOSTEP;
  • identify, represent and promote the capabilities and distinctive competencies of the Canadian solar-terrestrial science community within the framework of SCOSTEP;
  • enhance the depth and breadth of the participation of the Canadian solar-terrestrial science community in the activities and events of SCOSTEP;
  • establish the mechanisms for communicating to the Canadian solar-terrestrial science community the views of SCOSTEP and information about the activities of SCOSTEP;
  • propose international events related to SCOSTEP that are of value to the Canadian solar-terrestrial science community;
  • recommend to the CSA Director General, Space Utilization and to the NRC International Relations Office the nomination of the Canadian Delegate to the General Assembly/Council Meeting of SCOSTEP (normally the CNR); and
  • recommend to the CSA Director General, Space Utilization one person (normally the CNR) to attend the workshop of CNC Officers organized by the NRC International Relations Office on a regular basis.

Each committee meeting will therefore include an agenda item discussing SCOSTEP activities. Each year, a report will be required from the committee highlighting activities in relation to SCOSTEP that will be included in an annual report to NRC.

8. Records

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.

9. Approval

The terms of reference are approved by the undersigned:

The original version was signed by Éric Laliberté, Director General, Space Utilization, Canadian Space Agency, on December 2, 2016

Footnotes

Footnote 1

The infrastructure may be space-based, airborne, or ground-based.

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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.

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Footnote 3

Examples of potential Ex Officio members include the following: NSERC representative, CFI representative, Topical Team chair, etc.

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