Notice – Potential announcements of opportunity for science investigations relating to human health risks in space
Health and Life Sciences (HLS) Data and Sample Mining, HLS Research Models and Human Analog Studies
To achieve the goal of enabling future human long space missions on the International Space Station (ISS) and beyond Low Earth Orbit (LEO), research initiatives are needed to better understand the health risks associated with spaceflight and to develop countermeasures that mitigate these risks. The purpose of this Advanced Notice (AN) is to inform the Canadian academic community that the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) intends to proceed with the posting of three Announcements of Opportunity (AOs) as part of its Grants and Contributions (G&C) Program.
In line with the vision and priorities stated in the new Space Strategy for Canada - to realize the full potential of the Canadian space sector to be a leader in exploration, science excellence and innovation and deliver socio-economic benefits to improve life for all Canadians, to enable scientific opportunities and global partnerships, and to harness space to solve everyday challenges for Canadians - the intent of these AOs will be to provide financial support to researchers in Canadian Universities and post-secondary institutions to conduct science investigations that will lead to a better understanding of human spaceflight risks while contributing to improve remote medicine and health care benefits here on Earth.
More specifically, the CSA seeks to:
- Create an opportunity for new space life science experiments to generate new knowledge and insight into the risks of human space flight to keep astronauts healthy in space;
- Expand the range of research expertise that is applied to research on human spaceflight health risks;
- Advance understanding of similar health issues or applications on Earth, that could contribute to improving health care for Canadians;
- Foster training of highly qualified personnel in space HLS.
The following three AOs are considered:
- Health and Life Sciences (HLS) Data and Sample Mining: Scientific analysis using existing data sets or biological samples generated from previous studies
- Maximum amount per project: up to $70,000
- Maximum duration of the project: up to one (1) year
- HLS Research Models: Non-human research models (examples: organoids, organ-on-a-chip, model organisms) for investigations of space-related health risks (e.g. radiation, medical countermeasures) to expand research approaches.
- Maximum amount per project: up to $150,000
- Maximum duration of the project: up to two (2) years
- Human Analog Studies: Human-subject space analog studies that reproduce one or more aspects of the space environment, such as variable gravity, inactivity, physiological fluid shifts, isolation, or confinement.
- Maximum amount per project: up to $200,000
- Maximum duration of the project: up to two (2) years
It is foreseen that the funding opportunities will support research initiatives taking place in Canada but may also support participation of Canadian researchers in international research activities such as European Space Agency (ESA) and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Human Analog initiatives, or access data or samples from national or international databases.
The AN is published to alert researchers of these potential AOs and encourage them to seek agreements with sources of data or samples, identify relevant model organisms or organoids for human space flight research, or look for opportunities to join human analog projects.
The CSA intends to publish these AOs in the late spring of .
Interested researchers are invited to visit CSA's website to find out more about HLS activities.
3. Planned eligibility and evaluation criteria
Planned eligibility criteria for these potential AOs are:
- Eligible participants:
- Canadian universities and post-secondary institutions
- Eligible projects:
- The project must be aligned with CSA priority outcomes as stated in the - Departmental Plan: Space research and development advances science and technology. Consideration will be given to activities that are aligned with the mandate to identify, understand, mitigate or eliminate health risks associated with human space flight, and to understand and address the needs of humans during those missions.
- The project should foster the continuing development of a critical mass of researchers and highly qualified people in Canada in areas relevant to the priorities of the CSA, as stated above.
The standard evaluation process from the CSA's G&C Program will be used, including assessment of Scientific Merit, Benefits to Canada, Feasibility, Resources and Risks. Additional criteria specific to these solicitations may be added.
Under this evaluation, the following factors (among others) will be considered:
- Demonstration that steps have been taken to secure access to data and samples, or participate in Human Analog projects or other relevant research campaigns;
- Letters of agreement or support from relevant institutions, agencies, or co-investigators that would demonstrate solidity and maturity of the project;
- Proposals including co-funding plans are encouraged;
- Involvement of HQP and training of new HQPs and students;
- Data management plan, and plan to disseminate knowledge and data to relevant data archives and open-access publications.
Some evaluation criteria will be specific to each AO. For example, a sample and/or analysis management plan aligned with research best practices is expected and would be evaluated for HLS data and sample mining project proposals.
The CSA reserves the right to modify these criteria and the content of the AO will supersede information given here.
4. Important notes
This AN is not an AO and it is not to be considered as a commitment to issue a subsequent AO. No grant agreement will be established based on this AN. The issuance of this AN is not to be considered in any way a commitment by the Government of Canada, nor as authority to those interested in participating to undertake any commitments that could be charged to Canada.
The description given at points one to three of the present AN could be changed without notice between now and the date of the publication of the AOs.
This notice is subject to change. If necessary, these changes will be published on the CSA website. It is recommended checking the site regularly. No question will be answered at this stage.
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