Executive summary: Moving IDEaS forward

Eric Fournier and Chris Brosinsky, side by side, arms folded.

Eric Fournier, Director General, S&T Strategic Decision Support, Lead for IDEaS (L), Chris Brosinsky, Acting Director - Science & Technology Innovation Strategies ADM(S&T) (R)

It has been a genuine privilege to work with all those individuals who have helped make this first year of IDEaS such a success. To the Canadian innovator community, our DND/CAF stakeholders, our Defence evaluators/integrators and supporters, and our engagement champions: thank you very much for embarking on this journey with us and giving so much of your time, energy, expertise, and valuable feedback.

This report is being delivered on the one-year anniversary of the launch of IDEaS to highlight the accomplishments of the past year, and present our current and future activities. This first year has been critical to future program success. In the next year, IDEaS will launch its remaining three (of eight) elements to more fully engage the innovators, and increase overall annual investment to a steady level of $84 million per year.

DND’s investment in IDEaS serves to bolster Defence S&T research programs, and seeks to improve access to and for traditional and non-traditional innovators so they can offer their solutions towards the toughest defence and security challenges. IDEaS will continue to increase the level of awareness about, and influence of the Canadian innovation ecosystem on, defence and security challenges. IDEaS will do this by encouraging innovators to apply their knowledge and expertise to these challenges. The program will also provide innovators with the opportunity to demonstrate how their ideas can enhance defence capabilities.

Highlights from the first year of activities include:

Competitive Projects element: 25 defence and security challenges were issued through two calls for proposals (CFPs).

More than 750 proposals were received. One hundred and sixty contracts were awarded across a broad spectrum of innovators. Initial investment in potential solutions to improve defence capability totaled more than $26 million. Each of these initial efforts will be followed closely for potential additional investment or integration into ongoing programs.

Innovation Networks element: Two CFPs were issued to foster research capabilities in two critical areas: Advanced Materials, and Autonomous Systems.

More than 100 letters of interest, and 43 full proposals, were received. Early collaboration among supporters across 12 micro-networks was initiated. IDEaS will be investing $18 million during a three-year period in these efforts.

Sandboxes element: Innovators with independently developed prototypes ready for demonstration were asked to respond to five requests for information (RFIs). Submissions led to this year’s first Sandbox event:

A Sandbox will be conducted on the Counter Unmanned Aerial Systems
challenge in the fall of 2019 in Suffield, Alberta.

The 27 challenges - 25 in Competitive Projects and two in Innovation Networks - that have been released cover many critical themes for CAF/DND. These include:

  • Operating in austere environments,
  • Defending space missions,
  • Building cyber capability,
  • Accelerating next-generation technologies,
  • Enhancing command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (C41SR),
  • Putting our people first, and
  • Protecting our forces.

Planned CFPs across several program elements will introduce challenges covering the themes of:

  • Increasing combat power,
  • Sustaining operations, and
  • Greening defence.

Outreach and promotion have also comprised a major endeavor in our first year of operations:

IDEaS has built a network of more than 3,000 stakeholders. More than 170 contracts/contribution agreements have been signed and initiated with Canadian innovators. The program will commit even more resources to these important activities in the upcoming months.

Thank you for taking part in this journey. IDEaS is truly a dynamic collaboration. The program has achieved many milestones in its first year of operation, and we look forward to many more in the next 19 years.

Eric Fournier
Director General, S&T Strategic Decision Support Lead,
Innovation for Defence Excellence and Security (IDEaS)

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