Advanced Materials for Defence & Security: Seeking Innovation in Detection Avoidance and Physical Protection

Innovation Networks

Up to $3.0M to stimulate the free flow of ideas critical for innovation.

The Department of National Defence is seeking to stimulate the development of revolutionary advances in materials science for defence & security applications, with a focus on emerging and advanced materials, including advanced manufacturing methods.


Project Title Innovator Amount

Flexible, Stretchable and Self-Healable Optoelectronic Materials for Detection Avoidance and Physical Protection

Polytechnique Montréal
McGill University
Politecnico di Milano, Italy
Concordia University
Northwestern University, USA
Biomomentum Inc.


The Comfort-Optimized Materials for Operational Resilience, Thermal-transport, and Survivability (COMFORTS)

University of British Columbia
Lululemon Athletica
Apparel Innovation Centre
University of Alberta
University of Victoria


Composites multifonctionnels pour la fibre du futur

Université de Sherbrooke
Université Laval
CEGEP de Thetford Mines


Development of Advanced Materials for Improved Protection Against Ballistic Impact, Wear and Corrosion Damage with Additive Manufacturing and Cold Spraying

University of Manitoba
Red River College
Precision ADM
University of Saskatchewan


Terahertz to Mid-Infrared Compact Photonic Platform on Scalable Semiconductor Technology

Polytechnique Montreal
McGill University
Université de Sherbrooke
McMaster University
University of Alberta


Artificially Intelligent Biomimetic Metasurfaces for Electromagnetic Camouflage

Carleton University
Polytechnique Montreal
University of Ottawa


Challenge: Advanced Materials for Defence & Security: Seeking Innovation in Detection Avoidance and Physical Protection

The Challenge

In response to the recognized need to increase Canadian knowledge capacity, DND is seeking to stimulate the development of revolutionary advances in materials science for defence & security applications, with a focus on emerging and advanced materials, including advanced manufacturing methods. As a first step to creating a national Innovation Network, we are calling on the innovation community to form multidisciplinary teams, or Micro-nets, of five or more investigators. These investigators must be from at least three distinct organizations, each of which will propose a research project which addresses one or several aspects of the two priority areas identified below. These areas have deliberately been left broad to encourage a wide range of proposals covering as many aspects of the domain as possible.

Background and Context

Injury or damage to personnel and military platforms (e.g., penetration, overpressure and impulsive loading, and blunt impact) is a persistent challenge for the Canadian Armed Forces and Canada’s Public Security sector. Future challenges will arise from emerging battlefield technologies such as high-energy lasers and other directed energy weapons. Thus, there is an ongoing need to understand and exploit advances in materials science, specifically to increase protection against current and future threats, reduce protection system weight, and improve mission effectiveness.

When considering the potential beneficial applications of research on advanced materials, two broad areas are of critical importance in the defence and security context: Detection Avoidance and Physical Protection.

Detection Avoidance: signature management for personnel and platforms

Advanced materials which would enable personnel and military platforms (aircraft, land vehicles, and naval vessels) to be hidden or concealed in their respective background of operation, are of great interest. By managing, or reducing the contrast between the signature of the personnel or platforms and the background, detection and hence targeting can be more difficult. The signatures to be managed cover a wide range of the electromagnetic (EM) spectrum including the electro-optic, ultraviolet, visible, and infra-red regions. We are particularly interested in developments in signature management via advanced and emerging materials which function for wide-bandwidths, function across multiple discrete bands of the EM spectrum simultaneously, or can be adaptable for different bands of the EM spectrum.

Physical Protection: personnel and platform protection against kinetic and non-kinetic threats

With the increasing lethality of both kinetic (e.g. ballistics, energetic materials, and blasts) and non-kinetic (e.g. electromagnetic, and directed energy) threats, has come increased weight and bulk of armour both for personnel and platforms. This increase in weight comes at the cost of mobility, maneuverability, and endurance. By exploring emerging and existing advanced materials with superior mechanical properties as compared to their traditional counter-parts, there is an expectation of considerable weight savings and increased protection performance. Other areas of interest include improved flexibility, durability, and thermal and moisture management, for a given level of protection.

Formation of Innovation Networks

IDEaS seeks to foster the development of Canada’s innovation talent and capacity in the academic, for-profit and not-for-profit sectors by creating national Innovation Networks. As a first step, we are calling for the creation of Micro-nets to address challenges related to the study and development of advanced materials for Detection Avoidance and Physical Protection in the defence and security context.

We are seeking proposals from Micro-nets to develop and/or study emerging and advanced materials, relevant to future defence and security applications of signature management in the EM spectrum, and/or physical protection against kinetic and non-kinetic threats.

Example areas of development and/or study may include, but are not limited to:

  • Metamaterials;
  • Nanomaterials;
  • Reactive materials;
  • Multifunctional materials;
  • Adaptive materials;
  • Auxetic materials;
  • Advanced composites;
  • Advanced coatings;
  • Printed electronics/periodic elements;
  • Novel applications of existing advanced materials; and
  • Advanced manufacturing methods.

Proposed research is expected to be focused at Technology Readiness Levels (TRLs) typically ranging from 1 (Identification – observation of basic principles and/or properties) to 6 (Simulated Demonstration – demonstration and testing of near-end state solutions in a simulated environment). (Learn more about TRLs)

Expected outputs

The research activities of the Micro-nets are expected to demonstrate an interdisciplinary advantage with the following outputs:

  • Advancement of knowledge within the fields of advanced and emerging materials;
  • Development and training of highly qualified personnel within the field of materials science;
  • Publication of peer-reviewed literature; and
  • Participation in relevant scientific conferences, including an annual workshop to be organized by the IDEaS Program Office.

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