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Stringent and result-oriented training requirements at the heart of research funding opportunities: the case of the CSA FAST funding activity and the HiCIBaS project

Paper Abstract

Funding opportunities in science are essential to the research and development ecosystem. Numerous and competitive, the vast majority focus on scientific accomplishment. While the advancement of science remains a top priority, some funding agencies started to reshape their programs to include strict training requirements, from training plans included in proposals to regular evaluations of training progress. At the centre of this change is the recognition of the universities and colleges educational mission through research, and the need for a highly qualified workforce serving industry, science, and research. It is this need for applied research training, expressed by the Canadian aerospace community, that led to the creation of the Canadian Space Agency’s FAST (Flights and Fieldwork for the Advancement of Science and Technology) funding activity in 2011. Among the three main objectives of the 2017 opportunity, two target training the next and current generations of scientists and engineers for space-related areas in Canada by (1) developing and maintaining a critical mass of researchers, and (2) increasing the level of student employability by exposing them to practical experiences. In this paper, we report about the context behind CSA FAST’s creation, the funding opportunity model, and the impact of the funding activity. Concrete results are also shown for the HiCIBaS project, funded by CSA FAST 2015, an ambitious balloon-borne mission with an optical payload for wavefront sensing and exoplanet imaging that was led by 5 graduate students as part of their master’s program, and that culminated with a stratospheric balloon flight in August 2018.

Paper Details

Date Published: 2 July 2019
PDF: 8 pages
Proc. SPIE 11143, Fifteenth Conference on Education and Training in Optics and Photonics: ETOP 2019, 1114304 (2 July 2019); doi: 10.1117/12.2523855
Show Author Affiliations
Simon Thibault, Univ. Laval (Canada)
Guillaume Allain, Univ. Laval (Canada)
Olivier Côté, Univ. Laval (Canada)
Mireille Ouellet, Univ. Laval (Canada)
Deven Patel, Univ. Laval (Canada)
Cédric Vallée, Univ. Laval (Canada)
Denis Brousseau, Univ. Laval (Canada)
Anne-Sophie Poulin-Girard, Univ. Laval (Canada)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 11143:
Fifteenth Conference on Education and Training in Optics and Photonics: ETOP 2019
Anne-Sophie Poulin-Girard; Joseph A. Shaw, Editor(s)

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