Makerspace deserves this award. We have done a lot of work promoting science and techology and have inspired many young people. http://www.nserc-crsng.gc.ca/Prizes-Prix/SciencePromotion-PromotionScience/About-Apropos_eng.asp
@arasbm, I agree that the Makerspace deserves some NSERC funding, but I am not sure if this is the one to target. This is a capstone award that only goes to one organization each year, and hence is EXTREMELY competitive. Looking at the past winners I honestly do not feel that we could put forth a strong enough application to be in the running. They are looking for measurable impacts, and tracking metrics isn’t something that we are doing very well currently. If we want our organization to ever be eligible for this type of honour, we need to do better administratively.
In my opinion, we have a much greater chance at accessing the PromoScience funding from NSERC. This will also require a decent amount of administrative burden, but we would be competing for a piece of a $5 million budget, which is carved up to many people, versus competing for a single $25,000 pie given out to only one group.
There is another thread about PromoScience here, and I would love to talk to anyone interested in helping with an application. By getting involved with programs like this we will be forced to step up our admin, which will involve tracking the outcomes that we are seeking to achieve, and position us to put forward a strong application for the type of award that you mention in the future.
As far as I can tell applying for the award would not mean we do not qualify for other NSERC grants.
In general I do not think we should ever limit ourselve or stop members from trying to persue a grant or other positive projects (unless we need to coordinate our effort to prevent applying for mutually exclusive things). I have learnt that lesson over and over again. In the year prior to finding a home for our makerspace I talked to thousands of people about our plan to start a makerspace and most of the responses where in some form or another discouraging; expressing how it was impossible in theory to start a self funded organization without external help. On top of my head here are the most common criticisms I would receive:
- You need someone who knows how to pull strings
- It is impossible to do without funding, you need governement funding
- You need a concrete plan
- It will not work as a non profit in kamloops, you need to do it as a for profit
- You do not have proper business plan
- You will get shut down shortly for X or Y reason
- Yeah, I dont think it is possible, but good luck
The reason I share that, is that it was so hard to stay positive and push forward with that constant wave of negative feedback from “experts”. I pushed along anyways even though it seemed irrational at the time. I found a small group of dedicated people who believed in the core idea and we were able to create something out of nothing.
I hope our members will always feel empowered to reach high and try for what seems impossible. The worst is that you learn some valuable lessens from your efforts.
We are not very organized because we are not a pyramid shaped corporation. We are a group of autonomous talented individuals who want to play, learn and do great things together. We should strive to do better tracking, but lack of information should not stop us from trying to reach high. Not having hard data does not change the fact that we are making a huge positve impact on the lives of our community members.
Anyway, I shared this here in case someone feels inspired to persue this grant. It is not wasted effort if someone passionate tries to apply for this grant and we go not get it. Like @kile mentioned, there are a lot of organizations applying.
My favourite qoute about wikipedia is that it does not work in theory, only in practice. That reminds me of our community