In its first two years of the program, IDEaS focused on growth, bringing innovators into the ecosystem, and casting a wide net to bring new thinking to the table. In its third year, the program assessed, recalibrated, made adjustments to its program structure, took advantage of lessons learned, and we are now in a position to offer solutions to DND/CAF. This was evident in the first Test Drive coming from our Competitive Projects stream. We also learned from the COVID-19 response that we could quickly pivot if needed, and get funding out the door quickly.
In addition, during the course of the last year, IDEaS transitioned from an in-person to a virtual workplace. We remained flexible, taking on new challenges, all while pushing technologies forward in a number of domains critical to defence and security.
With 58 challenges issued to date, over $185 million issued in funding, and our first Test Drive underway, we are turning defence challenges into solutions through a thorough and evolving innovation ecosystem. We have progressed new challenges, adapted our processes and become agile in order to adjust to change. All this has left us better prepared to move forward on our journey.
Next steps for the program includes more Test Drives and investments in evolving projects designed to meet the needs of DND/CAF. We will continue developing partnerships to strengthen our innovation community. In the next fiscal year, we will work on designing a Marketplace to connect IDEaS-funded solutions with opportunities beyond the program. This science fair platform will provide innovators with higher SRL technologies the opportunity to showcase the solutions they developed through IDEaS to potential end-users within DND/CAF, as well as potential users in other government departments and private industry.
The program will continue exploring the exploitation and commercialization of IDEaS solutions into meaningful and useful capabilities of DND/CAF. We look forward to our next program enhancements that will continue building on the innovation continuum and create positive outcomes for Canadian innovators and the Defence Team.
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