Sandbox Call For Applications


    1.1.         The Innovation for Defence Excellence and Security Program (IDEaS), on behalf of the Department of National Defence and Canadian Armed Forces (DND/CAF), is releasing this Call For Applications (CFA) in order to invite Innovators to demonstrate their solutions to the Counter Unmanned Aerial Systems (CUAS) challenge at a Sandbox being held 9 September to 4 October 2019 at the Defence Research and Development Canada Experimental Proving Ground (EPG) at Canadian Forces Base Suffield, Alberta. 

    1.2.         The Counter Unmanned Aerial Systems (CUAS) challenge for this Sandbox is:

    “How might we detect and/or defeat (kinetically or non-kinetically) Micro and Mini Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS)?” 

    1.3.         The EPG in Suffield is a wide open prairie landscape suitable for a range of demonstration scenarios.  DND/CAF will provide a variety of target UASs for selected Participants to detect and/or defeat, and will also provide scientific subject matter experts and Canadian Army operators to provide observational feedback to each Participant.

    1.4.         As described in this Call for Applications, all received applications will be evaluated in order for DND/CAF to select the actual Participants to attend the Sandbox.


    2.1.         The general information and processes that are applicable to all IDEaS Sandboxes is contained in the main body of this Call For Applications (CFA) document, and Annexes A, B, and C.

    2.2.         The specific information unique to the CUAS Challenge is described in Annex D.


    3.1.         Innovators:  The innovation community at large.

    3.2.         Applicants:  Those Innovators that actually complete and submit an Application to a specific Sandbox when it is offered.

    3.3.         Applications:  The information form(s) submitted by an Applicant for a specific Sandbox.

    3.4.         Qualified Applicants:  The subset of Applicants who’s Applications have met all of the mandatory criteria for a specific Sandbox.

    3.5.         Participants:  The subset of Qualified Applicants who have received and accepted a confirmed invitation to attend an actual Sandbox.  Note that a Participant is the organization, and may send multiple personnel to a Sandbox.

    3.6.         Test Environment:  The physical or virtual environment in which demonstrations are conducted. 


    4.1.         In response to the release of the June 2017 Defence Policy Strong, Secure, Engaged, DND/CAF has created the Innovation for Defence Excellence and Security Program (IDEaS). IDEaS will transform the way innovation solutions to complex defence and security challenges are generated.  A more detailed description of the full IDEaS Program can be seen at

    4.2.         Within the IDEaS Program, Sandboxes are an opportunity for selected Participants to demonstrate their solutions to published Sandbox Challenges in a DND/CAF provided test environment and test scenario, receiving observational feedback from DND/CAF experts and potential users.  As a collateral effect, such gatherings of experts and innovators can generate additional networks of knowledge and connections to enhance the area of study and concept development beyond the sandbox itself.

    4.3.         In general, the design of the Sandbox, and in particular the timing of when it will be conducted, is an optimized approach based on the level of interest in each Sandbox, the availability of DND/CAF resources, the DND/CAF priority for the Sandbox, and assorted other planning factors.  For reasons of resource efficiency, the guiding desire is to conduct a single Sandbox at a single time for multiple Participants, rather than repeating similar Sandboxes throughout the year for different Participants.

    4.4.         From the Innovators perspective, the general sequence of events for a Sandbox are as follows:

    • Call For Applications (CFA) to advertise the Sandbox.
    • Submission of Applications.
    • Evaluation and selection.
    • Confirmation of acceptance by invited Participants.
    • Pre-Sandbox administration and preparation.
    • Arrival, demonstration, and departure from the Sandbox.
    • Post-Sandbox administration and distribution of reports and observations.

    4.5.         As a mandatory minimum, all solutions for all Sandboxes must have already completed the work and testing associated with Solution Readiness Level 4 (SRL 4) at the time of application.  This ensures that solutions are ready for the integrated SRL 5 or higher testing that DND/CAF expects in a Sandbox.  The full list of SRLs and their definitions is included at Annex A.

    4.6.         On a cost sharing basis, Participants will receive limited travel and logistics funding for attending the Sandbox as detailed in Section 12 to this CFA.

    4.7.         Attendance at a Sandbox, or even successful demonstrations within the Sandbox, does not imply any intent or commitment that DND/CAF will undertake any further activity with any solution or organization.  It is a one-time Sandbox event only.  It is completely up to the Participant what they do with the information learned during the Sandbox.

    4.8.         DND/CAF will internally consider the observations of all Sandboxes in order to monitor any progression towards solving the specific challenges and how that may or may not influence further force development planning, considerations, and priorities internal to IDEaS and across DND/CAF.  Any such follow-on decisions are independent of the IDEaS Sandbox, are internal to DND/CAF, and will not be published as part of the Sandbox process.  If a Sandbox leads DND/CAF to further pursue the challenge, such decisions would be announced via other DND/CAF processes.


    5.1.         This CFA is open to individuals, academia, not for profit organizations, and industry of any size, as well as provincial, territorial, and municipal organizations.

    5.2.         Federal government departments/agencies, and federal Crown Corporations are not eligible to submit applications to this CFA.


    6.1.         Sandboxes are not exclusively restricted to made in Canada products/solutions; however, the level of Canadian content within each application will be given consideration during the evaluation process.

    6.2.         As attendance at a Sandbox is not a contractual relationship and DND/CAF is not funding the development or procurement of the solution at this Sandbox, the normal approach of defining Canadian Content as a percentage of the contract value will not be used.  Instead, the evaluation of the Canadian Content in any solution will simply look at what proportion of the solution at the time of application consists of Canadian goods and/or services.  For example, was the research and development conducted in Canada, was the prototype built in Canada, are you using materiels from Canadian suppliers, are you partnering with any Canadian companies on this solution, etc.


    7.1.         Responses to this CFA will only be accepted via the completion and submission of the Application forms via Epost until 27 May 2019, 14:00 EST (Extended from 23 May).  Late submissions will not be reviewed. 

    7.2.          Method of Submission.  Applications and all attached forms must be submitted via the Epost system as follows:

    7.2.1               Obtain an Epost account.  If you intend to apply to a Sandbox, send an email to the Sandbox Team to request a Sandbox Epost account.  Do this in advance of 23 May to ensure your account is created well before the submission deadline.

    7.2.2               Complete the Application forms.  The following forms are required and are available for download via the IDEaS website “Current Opportunities” page:           Sandbox Application and Participant’s Agreement form (mandatory).  By submitting this form, the Applicant is not only proposing their solution for inclusion in the Sandbox, but is also formally agreeing to accept and undertake the terms and conditions contained within the form if they are selected as a Participant to attend the Sandbox.           Test Plan template (mandatory).           Any additional forms as may be required for specific Sandboxes.

    7.2.3               Submit your application to your Epost account.  


    As the capacity for any one Sandbox may be limited, a fair, open, and transparent evaluation and selection process will be used via this CFA to determine which Applicants receive a confirmed invitation to attend.

    8.1.         Evaluation.  Applications will be evaluated against a set of mandatory and rated evaluation criteria: 

    8.1.1               The full criteria that will be used in the mandatory and rated evaluations is described in Appendix 1 to the Annex for that challenge.

    8.1.2               Those that do not meet all mandatory criteria and all other requirements of the application process will not receive an invitation to attend the Sandbox.

    8.1.3               Those that do meet the mandatory criteria will be placed in the pool of Qualified Applicants.

    8.2.         Selection. The primary purpose of the selection process is not to eliminate applications but rather to prioritize the applications so that the best solutions are accepted first.  Additionally, where possible it is desirable to achieve a diversity of approaches to the challenge so that we examine more than one way to solve it, as opposed to having a Sandbox with only one solution type.

    8.2.1               Using the results of the mandatory and rated evaluations, invitations to Qualified Applicants will be issued until a limiting factor such as the maximum number of participants for each Sandbox is reached.  This may mean that although qualified, some Applicants may not receive an invitation to attend the Sandbox.  Selections from the list of Qualified Applicants will be made using the following principles:

    8.2.2               Applications may be subdivided into categories of solution types.  The Annex for each challenge will indicate any such categories and any impacts on the selection of Participants for that specific Sandbox.  For the CUAS Sandbox there will be three such categories, with the Integrated category being of the most interest:         Solutions that can only detect UAS threats in a broad area manner;         Solutions that can only defeat a specific UAS threat once it is detected and cued;         Integrated solutions that can both detect and defeat UAS threats.

    8.2.3               Within the pool of Qualified Applicants, and within such solution categories, Applications will be ranked in order from highest to lowest points scored. 

    8.2.4               Selections will commence with the highest scoring solutions within each category and continue downwards until a limiting factor is reached.  That limiting factor will generally be the number of spots available in a Sandbox; however, that cannot be precisely pre-defined as the complexity or simplicity of any one application will influence how quickly a limiting factor is collectively reached.   If there is a tie in Total Score amongst solutions once ranked in descending order within each category, Canada will use the following distinguishing factors to break the tie.         Canadian Content (see section 6.2); and         Government of Canada and departmental priorities.

    8.2.5               Diversity of Solutions.         It is expected that solutions that take a similar technical approach are likely to achieve a similar score, and by consequence that may block out alternate styles of solution and result in a Sandbox in which only one path of development is seen.         Consequently, while DND/CAF will rely on points scored as the primary selection means;if it becomes apparent that interesting solutions of alternate methods are being blocked because of the scoring system the selection committee may deviate from the ranked list(s) to ensure a diversity of approaches and methods to solving the challenge are present in the Sandbox.

    8.2.6.         Multiple Submissions. Multiple submissions from one applicant are permitted, provided the solutions are thoroughly different from each other and not simply a variation of the same method or technology. Each solution must be submitted with its own complete application package. The determination of the degree of difference and acceptability of each additional submission shall be at the sole discretion of DND.

    8.3.         Invitation and Acceptance. 

    8.3.1               The selected Applicants will receive a formal letter of invitation to participate in the Sandbox and will then have five business days to accept the invitation and any supplemental terms and conditions it may include.  Note that:         The basic terms and conditions for attending each Sandbox are specified in the Application Form and include such items as the timely completion of pre-sandbox preparations including participation in virtual planning meetings, as well as safety and security during testing, descriptions of what services DND/CAF will or will not provide, what the Participant will be responsible for, and so forth.         Additional supplemental terms and conditions may be imposed as a result of the evaluation of an individual application.  For example, there may be a special safety protocol imposed due to the nature of an Applicant’s solution and the desired testing/demonstration.

    8.3.2               Should a selected Applicant not accept their invitation, or withdraws their acceptance, or is removed from the Sandbox(see section 11.1.4), additional offers to other Applicants may be made under the same selection process at DND/CAF’s discretion and providing sufficient time is available before the Sandbox commences.


    For each announced Sandbox a specific description will be provided as an Annex to each CFA as each Sandbox will be quite different.  Setting aside those specifics, the following generalities can be expected for each Sandbox that is conducted:

    9.1.         Test Environment.  DND/CAF will provide a specific challenge and a corresponding test environment and scenario with appropriate experts and/or users in which Participants can test and/or demonstrate their mid to high level prototypes in a controlled setting.  As part of the test environment, DND/CAF may provide some test equipment, targets, test subjects, role players, or other applicable components, but only when applicable to all attendees.  Test equipment or supplies unique to a specific solution would be provided by that Participant.

    9.2.         Test Plan and Conduct.  As part of their application and with the provided template, Applicants will propose their desired test plan which DND/CAF will evaluate and approve to ensure alignment with the intent and scenario, as well as other factors such as but not limited to safety, security, and capability of the test environment.  The Participant will then conduct the approved testing and DND/CAF will provide limited observational feedback to the Participant.  DND/CAF will not do the testing for the Participant.

    9.3.         Support Concept.  The precise support concept for each Sandbox may vary and is detailed in the applicable challenge Annex for each Challenge for which a CFA is issued.  The following general intent can be expected for most Sandboxes:

    9.3.1               The Participant is responsible for providing all resources and services required for the successful conduct of their test plan unless explicitly provided by DND/CAF as detailed in the applicable challenge Annex.

    9.3.2               The Participant is responsible for arranging all transportation, shipping, food, and lodging of all of their equipment and personnel to, during, and from the Sandbox unless explicitly provided by DND/CAF.  The costs for such activities will be partially funded by DND/CAF as described in Section 12, Cost Sharing. 

    9.3.3               The Participant is responsible for the operation, maintenance, and repair of their solution during the Sandbox. 

    9.3.4               When the location and existing facilities permit, DND/CAF will usually provide appropriate gathering and preparation areas including protection from inclement weather, temporary storage of the Participant’s equipment, limited business facilities such as meeting spaces, briefing areas, communication and computer access, printing and photocopying, etc.

    9.3.5               There is no responsibility by DND/CAF for the solution being tested at any time, as detailed in the Insurance Section 16 and Liabilities Section 17.


    10.1.      Attendance at a Sandbox, or even successful testing within the Sandbox, does not imply any intent or commitment that DND/CAF will undertake any further activity with any solution or organization.  It is a one-time Sandbox event only.  It is completely up to the Participant what they do with the information learned during the Sandbox. 

    10.2.      DND/CAF will internally consider the observations of all Sandboxes in order to monitor any progression towards solving the specific challenges and how that may or may not influence further force development planning, considerations, and priorities internal to IDEaS and across DND/CAF.  Any such follow-on decisions are independent of the IDEaS Sandbox, are internal to DND/CAF, and will not be published as part of the Sandbox process.  If a Sandbox leads DND/CAF to further pursue the challenge, such decisions would be announced via the other DND/CAF processes.


    11.1.      The preparation and conduct of a Sandbox requires substantial effort by all Participants and by DND/CAF.  While each Sandbox will have unique tasks, the following general approach can be anticipated:

    11.1.1           By applying to attend a Sandbox, the Applicant is agreeing to undertake the generic tasks described in Annex B.

    11.1.2           The Applicant can plan on DND/CAF undertaking the generic tasks that relate to direct engagement with the Participants as described at Annex C.

    11.1.3           Refinement of these generic tasks for any specific Sandbox will occur collaboratively with each Participant after acceptance into the Sandbox is confirmed.

    11.1.4           Failure by the Participant to complete any task on schedule constitutes grounds for removing the Participant from attendance at the Sandbox.


    12.1.      DND/CAF is providing the test environment at no cost to Participants; however, DND/CAF recognizes there are costs incurred by Participants to attend the Sandbox.

    12.2.      On a cost sharing basis, IDEaS will fund 50 percent of identified eligible expenses as outlined below provided the Participant also pays 50%, up to a maximum combined 100% amount identified as the Cost Sharing Ceiling for that Sandbox.  The Participant is 100% responsible for all costs above the ceiling amount, as well as all costs not covered as described below.  The ceiling may be different for each Sandbox and will be published in the applicable Annex for each sandbox.

    12.3.      Eligible Costs.  All costs claimed must be directly attributable to attending the Sandbox itself and are inclusive of delivered duty paid and applicable taxes.  The types of claimable expenses under this cost-sharing arrangement are limited to:

    12.3.1           Travel, accommodation, and living expenses. The National Joint Council Travel Directive will apply for any travel, accommodation and living expenses.

    12.3.2           Shipping and transportation expenses of equipment to/from the Sandbox environment.

    12.4.      Administration. 

    12.4.1           Each Participant will submit a forecast of such reasonable expenses prior to the Sandbox which will be subject to approval by Canada.

    12.4.2           Upon conclusion of the Sandbox, applicable processes for submitting actual expenses and payments will be administered.

    12.5.      Example Application of the Cost Sharing Model.  The published cost ceiling for eligible expenses is $24,000.  The Participant submits receipts for $30,000 for travel and shipping of their equipment to/from the Sandbox, and $2,000 of travel they made prior to the Sandbox to develop their prototype.

    12.5.1           The $2,000 for their internal sandbox preparations is not an eligible expense.

    12.5.2           The $30,000 for the travel and shipping to the Sandbox is eligible; however, only the amount of $24,000 is claimable within the ceiling limit.

    12.5.3           The IDEaS 50% share of that claimable amount and amount paid to the Participant would be $12,000.  The Participant is responsible for all other costs.


    13.1.      The Participant retains full ownership and control of the solution being demonstrated and its intellectual property.


    14.1.      A formal security clearance to participate in the Sandbox is not required, as Participants will be under appropriate escort at all times while on DND property.

    14.2.      Access to the Sandbox test site may impose certain physical, communication, and electronic restrictions on Participants which will be detailed prior to the Participants arrival at the Sandbox.

    14.3.      Participants will need to provide lists and descriptions of all personnel and equipment being brought to the Sandbox for security screening purposes.

    14.4.      For any Participants whose proposed solution includes controlled good (see section 15), additional security aspects may be imposed if necessary on a case by case basis.


    15.1.      The Participant must identify any Controlled Goods used in its proposed solution to the Department of National Defence.  Controlled Goods are defined in the Defence Production Act and the Controlled Goods List is contained in the Schedule (section 35) of the Act.

    15.2.      If Controlled Goods are used in the proposed solution, Participants must identify and confirm that they are registered in the Controlled Goods Program with Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC), or are excluded or exempt from registration in the Controlled Goods Program with an explanation therefor.

    15.3.      For further information on the Controlled Goods Program, visit the website:


    16.1.      At its expense, the Participant must obtain insurance commensurate with the complexity and magnitude of its planned demonstration; to fulfill its obligations as a Participant in the Sandbox; and to ensure compliance with any applicable law.

    16.2.      The Participant must maintain the required insurance coverage for the duration of the Sandbox.  Compliance with the insurance requirements does not release the Participant from or reduce the liability inherent in becoming a Participant at the Sandbox.

    16.3.      The Participant must forward to the CFA Authority at least two (2) weeks prior to the commencement of the Sandbox, a Certificate of Insurance evidencing the insurance coverage and confirming that the insurance policy complying with the requirements is in force. For Canadian-based Participants, coverage must be placed with an insurer licensed to carry out business in Canada, however, for Foreign-based Participants, coverage must be placed with an insurer with an A.M. Best Rating no less than “A-.” The Participant must, if requested by the CFA Authority, forward to Canada a certified true copy of all applicable insurance policies.


    17.1.      The Participant is liable for any damage caused by the Participant, its employees, subcontractors, or agents to Canada or any third party. Canada is liable for any damage caused by Canada, its employees or agents to the Participant or any third party. Canada and the Participant agree that no limitation of liability or indemnity provision applies to this CFA unless it is specifically incorporated in full text in this CFA. Damage includes any injury to persons (including injury resulting in death) or loss of or damage to property (including real property) caused as a result of or during the performance of the Sandbox. DND/CAF has no responsibility for maintenance, repair, loss, or damage to any Participant’s materiel or equipment during or as a result of the Sandbox.  Subject to Section 16, Participants are fully responsible for insuring their own personnel, equipment, and activities at their discretion.


    18.1.      Responses and consultations are to be provided in one of the two official languages of Canada (English or French).


    19.1.      Access to Information.  All Applicant consultations are documented and this information is subject to the Access to Information Act.  Applicants should identify any submitted information that is to be considered as either company confidential or proprietary.  DND/CAF will not reveal any designated confidential or proprietary information to public and/or third parties, except for independent consultant(s) who may participate in the CFA process.

    19.2.      IDEaS Program Surveys.  As a condition of the program, Participants are required to respond to short surveys from IDEaS for up to two years following the completion of the Sandbox event. The results of the surveys will feed into the measurement of performance indicators through the reporting requirements of the IDEaS program.

    19.3.      Public Affairs / Communication notification.  The Government of Canada retains the right to make primary Sandbox announcements. Canada and the Participant shall consult with each other, after the Sandbox selection, about all proposed news releases or public announcements relating to the Sandbox. This is to provide all parties sufficient notice of key Sandbox communications, and, where appropriate, the time to determine a course of action (including a mutually agreed date and location), line up representatives and prepare joint material. Notwithstanding the advance notice requirement, consent shall not be unreasonably withheld by either Party if a news release or public announcement must be issued in less than 15 working days as the result of unforeseeable circumstances, including matters of public safety or where an emergency response is required.


    20.1.      All enquiries and other communications related to this CFA must be directed exclusively to the CFA Authority identified in Section 21.


    Tom Hughes

    Manager – Innovation Exploitation

    Department of National Defence

    Defence Research and Development Canada

    Innovation for Defence Excellence and Security Program (IDEaS)


Annex A: The Solution Readiness Level (SRL) definitions for the purposes of IDEaS are identified below:
    • SRL 1: Identification—basic principles and/or properties are observed.
    • SRL 2: Definition—practical applications and/or concepts are formulated.
    • SRL 3: Observation and Analysis—analytical and/or laboratory research and/or experiments are undertaken.
    • SRL 4: Proof of Concept—basic integration of applications and/or concepts to demonstrate viability.
    • SRL 5: Validation—refined integration of applications and/or concepts to confirm validity.
    • SRL 6: Simulated Demonstration—near-end state solution is demonstrated and tested in a simulated environment.
    • SRL 7: Real-World Demonstration—near-end state solution is demonstrated and tested in an appropriate real-world environment.
    • SRL 8: Qualified Solution—end state solution is completed and refined through testing.
    • SRL 9: Proven Solution—final solution is implemented and proven successful.
Annex B: Participant Generic Sandbox Tasks

    Please refer to Section 12 of the Application and Participant Agreement

Annex C: DND/CAF Sandbox Generic Tasks with the Participants

    The following tasks will be completed prior to the Sandbox:

    • Conduct an initial meeting with each Participant via telecon or video conference.
    • Conduct additional meetings via telecon or video conference.
    • Approve Final Test Plans.
    • Receive and process all administrative activities for the Sandbox, such as personnel and equipment lists, security processing, etc.

    The following tasks will be completed during the Sandbox

    • Sandbox Day 1
      • Move all DND/CAF personnel and equipment to the designated areas and prepare to receive the Participants.
      • Provide in-briefs to all personnel in the Sandbox.
      • Commence demonstration operations if scheduled.
    • Provide a Daily Briefing to confirm coordination of activities by all personnel (DND and Participant)
    • Operate the test environment to enable the Participant demonstrations.
    • Conduct the observations and applicable data management of each demonstration.
    • After the last demonstration for that solution is concluded, conduct an out-brief with each Participant and ensure the site cleanup is completed.

    The following tasks will be completed after the Sandbox:

    • Observational reports and data collected are provided to the Participant, subject to security classifications.
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