Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)


  1. What is the Innovation for Defence Excellence and Security (IDEaS) program?

    IDEaS mobilizes innovators to improve Canada’s defence and security capabilities. Our focus is to improve access to the creative potential of Canadian innovators in order to build an innovation ecosystem.

  2. How does it work?

    IDEaS is seeking potential solutions to the challenges faced by the Department of National Defence (DND) and the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF). We seek multiple solutions for each challenge, test and refine to best fit the needs of DND/CAF.

  3. How does IDEaS support innovators?

    IDEaS supports innovators at all stages of development, from early R&D to prototype development, testing and commercialization. The program incentivizes collaboration and fosters networks of innovators to tackle complex problems. We provide practical feedback and the opportunity for innovators to demonstrate their solutions to national defence experts.

  4. Who can apply?

    By its nature, IDEaS is an access to innovation program and does not have a preference for any particular industry, region, or domain. From an innovator working out of their garage to a large defence contractor, anyone can apply. Our philosophy is, may the best idea (or ideas) win.

  5. How does IDEaS funding work?

    IDEaS offers a variety of funding elements to ensure innovators have the opportunity and resources they need to help shape defence and security capability. Funding does not have to be repaid even if the project does not return the intended results. Even efforts that do not deliver the anticipated results will provide key insight that informs future decisions.

  6. What are the Intellectual Property (IP) considerations?

    A unique feature of IDEaS is that all IP rights that arise as a result of program funding will remain with the recipient. DND requires the recipient grant the Crown a non-exclusive, non-transferable, irrevocable, royalty-free and world-wide license to use, reproduce, sublicense, translate, and distribute the resulting IP. The Crown will not exploit the resulting IP commercially and may exercise the above license in order to make the IP available, in whole or in part, to the broader Canadian defence and security communities and the private and academic sectors, for information and evaluation purposes only, and to assess funding options for further development of the resulting IP.

    Please refer to the specific relevant Call for Proposal document for more detailed information to ensure compliance and understanding.

  7. What are Technology Readiness Levels?

    Short description of technology readiness levels (TRLs): Stages of component(s)/subsystem(s) development, or overall system maturity description at each level, and benchmark measures of system performance capability. technology readiness levels (TRLs) describe the different stages of pre-commercial development. Find TRL 1 to 9 definitions, descriptions and examples below.

    The IDEaS program uses nine technology readiness levels to assess the maturity of project submissions.

    • TRL 1: Identification and observation of basic principles and properties.
    • TRL 2: Definitions of practical applications. Formulation of concepts.
    • TRL 3: Observation and analysis through analytical research, laboratory research or experiments.
    • TRL 4: Proof of concept that is based upon the integration of applications and concepts to demonstrate viability.
    • TRL 5: Validation defined as the refined integration of applications or concepts to confirm validity.
    • TRL 6: Simulated demonstration of a near-end state solution and testing in a simulated environment.
    • TRL 7: Real-world demonstration of a near-end state solution and testing in an appropriate real-world environment.
    • TRL 8: Qualified solution which is the completion of end state solution and refinement through testing.
    • TRL 9: Proven solution that is based upon final solution implementation and success.

    More information can be found on the technology readiness levels

  8. What about innovators outside of Canada?

    Everyone is invited to participate in the IDEaS program – from small and large companies, academia, non-profit organizations, and individuals with no preference for any specific industry, region, or domain. IDEaS will favour innovation that is developed in Canada, but is seeking the best solutions wherever they exist. Each Call for Proposal will describe the minimum Canadian Content desired; typically between 50-80%.

  9. How can I apply to a challenge?

    Each IDEaS element has its own criteria and specific web-based application process. Visit our IDEaS Opportunities Page for more details. Please note that innovators are welcome to apply to multiple challenges.

  10. How will I receive feedback on my proposal?

    In the initial phase of evaluations, subject matter experts will conduct an evaluation of you proposal. Applicants will be notified if their proposal is considered for funding. Depending on the funding element, innovators may have the opportunity to interact directly with DND/CAF personnel and experts, or watch their product being tested.

  11. How will DND proceed to acquisition once a matured proposal is accepted and proven?

    The IDEaS program will seek innovative solutions and help in their development through to their evaluations at near commercial readiness. Limited quantities of a solution will be procured for the purposes of operational evaluations; acquisition of these solutions in larger quantities to equip DND would be addressed by a separate procurement process.

  12. How is IDEaS different from other government innovation programs that are involved in the defence sector such as Innovative Solutions Canada (ISC)?

    IDEaS works closely with other innovation programs within the Government of Canada, but what makes it unique is that IDEaS exclusively seeks to resolve defence and security challenges. We invite you to visit the web site of ISC to see if any challenges are a fit for your technology.

  13. What kind of solutions are IDEaS looking to fund?

    IDEaS looks to fund both tech and non-tech solutions to their respective challenges.

  14. I have a non-tech solution, can I still apply to an IDEaS challenge?

    Although in most cases solutions involve development of new technologies, IDEaS will fund non-tech solutions when appropriate for the challenge launched (for example, solutions proposing new methods for the diagnosis and treatment of PTSD, or informing new programs to educate, inform, and train CAF members).

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