Public Speaker Program

Revised 2015 April 29

Program Description

The goal of the Public Speaker Program (PSP) is to encourage our Centres to organize and host public talks and presentations, by speakers from outside their local area, about astronomical and related topics. The Society recognizes the value of sharing the knowledge and experience of RASC members and others more widely than may be otherwise possible, by providing funding to help pay for a speaker’s travel and accommodation expenses.

  • Applications are invited from any Centre (or group of Centres) proposing, on behalf of a speaker, to organize, host, and promote a public talk (or speaking tour that includes more than one Centre). The application and approval for funding must take place before the speaker’s travel occurs.
  • Applications may be submitted at any time, for events that are to occur up to one year in advance of the date of application.  Within a given calendar year, the available funds are allocated in the order in which successful applications were received.
  • The sponsoring Centre(s) must agree to host the talk at a suitable venue and make the talk open to the public at no charge. The Centre must also agree to promote the event locally. The public talk may be a stand-alone event, in conjunction with a Centre meeting, or part of a larger event (e.g. an annual star party).
  • The RASC must be acknowledged as a sponsor, both at the talk and in any appropriate promotion (posters, website, etc.).
  • Where possible, the talk should be recorded (audio/video) and made available afterwards via the Web for others to enjoy.


The program is funded from the Public Speaker Program to an amount not exceeding $5,000.00 annually. Applications will be evaluated and approved by the PSP Administrator and two other Trustees, appointed from time to time by the Board. All contact regarding the program shall be through the Administrator (, who shall promote the program through email announcements at least twice annually. Maximum allowable per application is $500.00 per calendar year.

Amount of Grants

The maximum amount of any grant under PSP shall be 100 percent of the eligible transportation and accommodation expenses, and 50% of eligible professional speakers’ fees up to a maximum of $500.

Eligible expenses

If a speaker normally charges a professional fee for appearances, 50% of that fee or $500 (whichever is less) is eligible for reimbursement.  Otherwise, only those expenses which meet the criteria listed in Policy G19 for transportation and accommodation are eligible. Expenses for food, local transportation, honoraria and gifts, are not eligible for reimbursement and must be borne by the applicable Centre(s), the speaker, or both.  Billeting of the speaker by the local Centre is encouraged.

How to Apply

All applications for grants under PSP must be made on the form provided on the Society website (link below). All applications must be submitted at least one month, and not more than one year, in advance of the proposed event, by email to the PSP Administrator ( or if by Canada Post, send to the Society Office for forwarding.

The application must include:

  • Date of application
  • The sponsoring Centre contact;
  • The proposed speaker and their home location;
  • The talk title and abstract, if available;
  • The planned date of the talk;
  • The city and venue for the talk;
  • The intended audience for the talk (mostly RASC members, mostly general public, young people, etc.);
  • How attendance at the talk by non-Centre members will be promoted;
  • The expected attendance;
  • A budget estimate for the travel and accommodation expenses being requested;
  • The amount of the speaker’s professional fee, if any
  • An estimate of local costs, if any, being provided by the Centre; and
  • Any other information the Centre believes will support the application.

Application Evaluation by the Trustees

As soon as is practicable after receiving an application, the Trustees shall evaluate the proposal according to the following guidelines:

  • Applications will be evaluated and granted on the basis of available funding, completeness of the proposal, and the proposal’s likelihood to best meet the Society’s charitable goals.
  • Particular consideration shall be given to applications for which:
    • the talk is to take place in a location astronomically under-served;
    • the target audience for the talk is an under-served group (inner city, rural area, minority group, etc.); or
    • the Centre has not received a grant under the program in the previous three years.

A Trustee shall recuse himself/herself from evaluating a proposal from his or her home Centre.

After the Trustees have rendered their decision, the PSP Administrator shall inform the applicant of the disposition of the application. For those whose application was not funded, an explanation shall be provided.

PDF icon PSP Application (pdf)206.07 KB
PDF icon PSP Expense Form (pdf)79.65 KB
Last modified: 
Thursday, March 14, 2019 - 11:27am