COVID-19 Challenges

COVID-19 Challenges

The current COVID-19 challenge call for proposals will close on July 30, 2020 at 14:00 EDT.

What is the Challenge?

Moral Trauma on the Frontline – See, Prevent and Treat – deadline to apply is July 30, 2020 at 14:00 EDT.

Challenge Statement

Defence Research and Development Canada (DRDC) in collaboration with Canada’s defence, security and public safety communities are looking for state-of-the-art research on “moral injury” and cutting edge prevention models and treatment strategies, in support of DND/CAF personnel, healthcare workers and First Responders at the front lines of the current pandemic, in order to provide for the long-term mental health of these populations.

Background and Context

Canadian Armed Forces members operate in extremely difficult and dangerous operational contexts and situations, in which they routinely face complex moral and ethical dilemmas. All military members are trained to make quick moral-ethical decisions, at times, with only limited information. Still, some operational experiences can be profoundly distressing. These experiences can give rise to feelings of guilt and shame, which can be morally injurious and result in long-lasting mental health challenges and impairment if left unresolved.

While the risk of “moral injury” is typically associated with warfare and conflict, evidence from the front-line of the COVID-19 pandemic suggests that healthcare workers and First Responders are also suffering extreme psychological, cognitive, and emotional responses, including guilt and shame. This state of anxiety and distress is often described as burnout. However, the cluster of features and symptoms of moral injury is not adequately captured by interventions and treatments associated with burnout [1]. Nor is moral injury being well captured by existing diagnostic tools.

The psychological trauma associated with moral injuries can lead to insomnia, depression, physical and psychological pain, and maladaptive behaviours, including isolation from friends and family, self-medication with alcohol and drugs, etc. While these symptoms are often ascribed to operational stress injuries, notably, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), moral injuries produce “scars” that are not well captured by these current conceptualizations. [2].

The purpose of this challenge is to stimulate empirical research on “moral injury” among healthcare workers and First Responders. It is hoped results will also act as a proxy for understanding the ways military personnel are likely to respond when faced with similar morally injurious circumstances during combat, peacekeeping operations or when responding to a future pandemic. The goal is to understand the circumstances and events that can give rise to “moral injury,” diagnostic criteria, prevention models, and treatment strategies (e.g., psychological, neurological and endocrine interventions for prolonged stress-related response treatment).

Desired Outcomes

Proposals are sought that address, but are not limited, to one or more of these outcomes:

  • Evidence-based methods for the prevention of moral injuries and/or treatment therapies;
  • Research and strategies for helping individuals to make difficult, stressful and emotive decisions in complex moral contexts and emergencies, including but not limited to COVID-19, in order to reduce the potential impact of moral dilemmas on their mental health;
  • Identification of factors that are proven to moderate and mediate the potential for long-term psychological trauma and impairment associated with ethical conflicts and moral violations;
  • Means to identify events and circumstances that have the potential to cause “moral injury,” and to measure its severity, in First Responders and primary healthcare workers;
  • Diagnostic criteria reflecting the cluster of features and symptoms of “moral injury” that may be linked to but separate from PTSD that can be used to accurately identify those affected;
  • Empirical research methods and proposals for measuring stress-related physiological response (e.g., inflammation) that will characterize the effects of population-level prolonged stress exposure on brain structure and function and on patterns of physiological response;
  • Development of models that would assist in predicting and responding to risks associated with “moral injury” during the next Phase of the pandemic or in the future, including, but not limited to development of critical models of disease prevention and psychological, neurological, and endocrine intervention models for responding to risks.

Supplementary Information

Proposals or other solutions that involve prevention or treatment of PTSD will not be considered.

Proposals that consider socio-cultural and gender-based differences are preferred.

Innovators are encouraged to form interdisciplinary teams to address this challenge. Perspectives are encouraged from the following backgrounds and/or disciplines: First Responders, military, biological, philosophical, sociological, psychological, legal, religious, mental health, etc.

Definitions

Moral Injury: “…[T]he lasting psychological, biological, spiritual, behavioral, and social impact of perpetrating, failing to prevent, or bearing witness to acts that transgress deeply held moral beliefs and expectations, that is, moral injury” [3].

Works Cited

[1] Talbot, S. G., ∓ Dean, W. (2018, July 26). Physicians aren't 'burning out.' They're suffering from moral injury. Retrieved May 22, 2020, from https://www.statnews.com/2018/07/26/physicians-not-burning-out-they-are-suffering-moral-injury/

[2] Litz, Brett T., et al. “Moral Injury and Moral Repair in War Veterans: A Preliminary Model and Intervention Strategy.” Clinical Psychology Review, vol. 29, no. 8, 2009, pp. 695–706., doi:10.1016/j.cpr.2009.07.003.

[3] Litz, Brett T., et al. “Moral Injury and Moral Repair in War Veterans: A Preliminary Model and Intervention Strategy.” Clinical Psychology Review, vol. 29, no. 8, 2009, pp. 695–706., doi:10.1016/j.cpr.2009.07.003.

Past Opportunities:

Rapid response: Real-time insights for pandemic decision-making

Challenge Statement

Defence Research and Development Canada (DRDC) in collaboration with Canada’s defence, security and public safety communities are looking for innovative epidemiological and healthcare solutions involving data gathering and data analytics technologies to support the early detection and community-based surveillance of outbreaks of contagious diseases. The goal is to provide actionable insights and to permit rapid decision-making with respect to the full emergency preparedness spectrum.

Background and Context

Within a few short months, the novel Coronavirus COVID-19 has evolved from less than 100 cases in a single country[1] into a global, public health emergency affecting nearly five million people in 188 countries[2]. As of May 20, 2020, there were 81,194 confirmed cases and 6,106 reported deaths in Canada[3].

Government officials need to be able to make rapid and informed decisions at different stages of the emergency management spectrum when managing all aspects of a highly contagious disease of the magnitude of COVID-19. For instance, it is of the utmost importance that officials be able to detect the outbreak as soon as possible, and make rapid decisions for adapting to, eliminating or reducing the risks to Canadians (i.e., prevention and mitigation); be ready to respond to the emergency and manage its consequences through measures prior to and following the outbreak within Canada (i.e., preparedness and response); and be able to quickly restore conditions to an acceptable level (i.e., recovery). Healthcare officials and First Response organizations need a near real-time, accurate picture of the extent and patterns of disease transmission at the community-level, in order to better understand current and evolving healthcare demands, in order to be able to make informed, time-sensitive decisions about how to allocate limited and/or secure additional resources; and be able to relax mitigation efforts.

This challenge represents a call to action to Canadian innovators to encourage partnering across different sectors and among individuals within different fields to work together to mitigate the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic as well as future outbreaks of contagious diseases. The goal is to support the development of new and innovative ways of collecting, sharing and analyzing real-world data (open source, social media, licensed proprietary, etc.) at the community-level in order to support improved prediction, situational awareness and enable better management of such outbreaks.

Outcomes

DRDC is looking for innovative research, design concepts and technologies solutions that will help Canada to improve its management of the Coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic and similar public health emergencies in the future. Solutions are sought that address, but are not limited to, one or more of the following:

Essential Outcomes

  • Improve Canada’s response to the pandemic by use of data gathering and data analytics to, identify patterns and make critical community-based healthcare decisions at different stages of the emergency management spectrum;
  • Develop real-time indicators of community-level disease transmission, and other indicators that would assist officials to detect an emerging threat to public health, and provide actionable intelligence for use by local first responders in local operational contexts;
  • Innovative ways of automatically gathering, extracting, sharing and analyzing real-world data to improve Canada’s response to the pandemic. Data sources must be reliable and be of sufficient quality for analysis. Proposed solutions will be evaluated based on their creativity in using or collecting data to accurately estimate rates of disease transmission, including in difficult to reach locations;

Desired Outcomes

Ability to do community-level geo-spatial mapping of patterns and clusters of symptoms, and of suspected or confirmed COVID-19 cases, in near real-time in order to support decision-making;

Data analytic capabilities and algorithms, tools and methods for data mining, statistical analysis, artificial intelligence, machine learning, data visualization, predictive and inferential analysis for short- and medium-term projections. Supplementary Information Proposals involving individual-level contact tracing will not be considered for this challenge.

Supplementary Information

Innovators are encouraged to form multidisciplinary teams to address this challenge.

Proposals involving individual-level contact tracing will not be considered for this challenge

Definitions

Community-Level Indicators. Community-level indicators (CLI’s) are measures that refer to population groups rather than individual community members. They provide a “big picture” perspective by helping to indicate what is happening at the community- rather than individual-level and are derived from observations of different aspects of the community. These indicators help officials to derive a better understanding of how communities are affected by a disease.

[1] Source : https://ipac-canada.org/coronavirus-resources.php

[2] Source: COVID-19 Dashboard by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University (JHU).” ArcGIS Dashboards, 20 May 2020, gisanddata.maps.arcgis.com/apps/opsdashboard/index.html#/bda7594740fd40299423467b48e9ecf6

[3] Source: Ibid.

Scrubbing your scrubs: Finding ways to re-use COVID-19 protective gear

Challenge Statement

Defence Research and Development Canada (DRDC) in collaboration with Canada’s defence, security and public safety communities is looking for innovative material and design solutions, as well as rapid and effective decontamination strategies and solutions, for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), operational clothing and equipment for personnel responding to events involving biological hazards.

Background and Context

The current COVID-19 pandemic has revealed shortcomings in the availability and type of PPE to protect against biological agents used by military personnel and First Responders as well as the ability of PPE and operational clothing and equipment to sustain repeated and rapid disinfection.

Most PPE is made to be disposable after a single-use however, during the current crisis, the personnel involved in responding to events must continuously wear their protective equipment and supply pressures are such that reuse of PPE is highly desirable. For example, current disposable medical PPE are typically designed for hospital settings, and do not have the appropriate attributes (e.g. strength, material, design) to guarantee protection for First Responders and military personnel operating in austere and remote operational environments (e.g. fighting fires, combating floods, conducting search and rescue operations, piloting aircraft, operating maritime platforms with the associated dust, dirt and varying climactic conditions). A single-use strategy also creates a significant logistical burden. Organizations must maintain adequate stockpiles and secure resupply to meet a high operational demand, which is all the more challenging when First Responders and military personnel are operating in remote or austere environments.

Additionally, the current pandemic has exposed the need to be able to disinfect specialized operational gear and equipment used by First Responders and CAF personnel. Whereas some current rapid decontamination methodologies have been shown to be effective, repeated application of disinfectants associated with rapid decontamination have been shown to degrade some materials used in specialized operational equipment reducing durability and functional performance. For example, polymers and some metals can be incompatible with the chemicals that are commonly considered to provide rapid and effective sporicidal, bacterial and virucidal disinfection. Exposure to UV light has been put forward as an alternative to washing and chemical decontamination, but again, degradation of materials (e.g. some polymers) is a concern. Exposure to intense UV requires an enclosed treatment area to protect the operator from negative health impacts due to exposure.

There are two objectives of the innovation challenge. The first involves the development of innovative material and design solutions for medical PPE, operational clothing and equipment that meets or exceeds all current functional and performance requirements while being adapted to frequent and rapid decontamination procedures and reuse. Additionally, consideration must be given to employment of these items by personnel who are sleep deprived and under stress and conducting highly dynamic tasks in austere and remote environments.

The second, are solutions for rapid and effective decontamination of PPE and operational clothing and equipment that will not degrade the performance of these items and the protection they afford to biological hazards.

Essential Outcomes

DRDC is looking for innovative research, design concepts and technologies:

  • For Objective 1: A rapid and effective decontamination protocol and technologies that: (a) will not degrade medical PPE or operational clothing and equipment when applied repeatedly over the course of days, weeks, or months; (b) allow the PPE or clothing and equipment to be re-worn after a short period of time following decontamination protocols; and (c) minimize the amount of time required of a single operator to process multiple items of clothing and equipment;
  • For Objective 2: Availability of material and design solutions for PPE and operational clothing and equipment that meet or exceed the current functional performance requirements which also permit repeated and/or easier disinfection without compromising functionality, performance or lifecycle and ensure continued compliance with performance standards after an established number of cycles

Desired Outcomes

In addition to the above essential outcomes, solutions are sought that address, but are not limited to, one or more of the following desired outcomes associated with decontamination:

For Objective 1

  • Decontamination solutions for operational gear and equipment having a small physical footprint for ease of deployment using standard transportation equipment;
  • Decontamination solutions for medical PPE that have not been designed for re-use that will allow the PPE to be reused while ensuring compliance with the originally designed protection standards.

For Objective 1 and 2

  • Solutions that are suited to operations in remote or austere locations and harsh operations that minimize the use of expendables; are safe to use, store and dispose of; minimize the need for external connections (e.g. power, water).
  • Solutions that are suited to protecting users operating in close quarters, including living and training quarters.

Supplementary Information

For Objective 1 solutions will not be considered that require either a centralized cleaning facility or the transport of items of PPE and operational clothing to another location or base of operations for cleaning and decontamination.

Definitions:

Decontamination: A cleaning process that decreases antimicrobial elements on surfaces. Types of decontamination are disinfection, antisepsis, and sterilization. General decontamination kills some bacteria and fungi while deactivating viruses.

Sanitizing: A process that is meant to reduce, not kill, the occurrence and growth of bacteria, viruses and fungi by 99.9 percent (3 log 10)

Disinfecting: A process that will “kill” a defined set of microscopic organisms. The minimum level of effectiveness in a modern-day disinfectant is 100 percent kill of 6 log10 of an organism.

Medical PPE: Masks, face shields, goggles, coveralls, gowns, gloves, booties etc. designed as barriers for biological contaminants and typically used in a medical environment.

Operational clothing and equipment: Operational uniform (e.g. combats, flight suit), belts, boots, gloves, eyewear, berets, jackets, backpacks and other load carriage) and specialized operational equipment (e.g. Aviator Life Support Equipment (ALSE), G-suit, Life Preserver Survival Vest (LPSV), other flotation devices, etc.).

Super sanitize: Cleaning sensitive equipment and workspaces

Challenge Statement

Defence Research and Development Canada (DRDC) in collaboration with Canada’s defence, security and public safety communities are looking for viable and effective processes and methods for safely and rapidly decontaminating enclosed work environments (e.g., buildings and modes of transportation) containing sensitive equipment.

Background and Context

Properly and rapidly sanitizing and disinfecting of spaces, surfaces and equipment that are likely to harbour pathogens within different work environments and locations (e.g., hospital rooms, patient triage areas, operation centres, Navy vessels etc.), different modes of transportation (e.g., rail, land, air and sea transport), and especially those involved in transporting patients with highly infectious diseases (e.g., land, fixed-wing and rotary wing aircraft ambulance vehicles) is critical for ensuring the health and safety of workers, patients and the public.

Presently, all surfaces must be cleaned of visible debris, medical waste, soiling, contaminants, dirt, and dust before being manually decontaminated with chemical sanitizers, which very often, also require several minutes of wet contact time to decrease antimicrobial elements on surfaces (e.g., kill bacteria, fungi and deactivate viruses). This is very labour intensive and often requires a lot of time that results in unnecessary delays in access to that work environment or vehicle. In the case of an ambulance, time spent cleaning removes a front line responder from their ability to prepare for the next medical/trauma response call, which has direct impact on the provision of care.

This challenge does not necessarily seek to eliminate the need for manual cleaning, but rather to elicit effective solutions including potentially automated approaches that will (a) meet Health Canada assurance standards[1]; and (b) help to significantly reduce the time that is needed for cleaning, sanitizing and disinfecting and associated idling of that capability. The work environments are diverse - ranging from enclosed spaces in operational centres and Navy vessels with integrated air ducts and circulation systems to ambulances and airplanes. In addition the work environment surfaces and materials are varied—everything from square, flat, solid surfaces, to soft, porous surfaces and materials. For example, certain environments (e.g., air and vehicle transport ambulances) will also contain sensitive medical equipment and supplies, and in the case of a transportation vehicles (e.g. cockpits, Navigation decks) sensitive electronic and specialized equipment. Thus, it is expected that proposed solutions will need to account for the range of surfaces and materials that exist.

Outcomes

DRDC is looking for innovative cleaning and decontamination solutions, at all stages of Research and Development (R&D), that are suited to work environments and/or specific modes of transportation, including rail, land, air and sea transport, and especially in instances where patients are being transported with infectious diseases, including COVID-19.

Research, design concepts and technologies are sought that will address the following:

Essential Outcomes

  • Viable and effective solutions for decontaminating surfaces and spaces that are proven to kill/reduce the number of bacteria and viruses present on those surfaces by 99.9 percent (3 log 10), which must include coronaviruses; specifically, the virus SARS-CoV-2 that causes COVID-19.
  • Quick solutions that will greatly reduce the time that is necessary to sanitize and disinfect a work environment, specific indoor location and/or mode of transportation; and
  • Be safe to use with no harmful residues or toxic off-gassing that might affect human health.

Desired Outcomes

In addition to the above essential outcomes, solutions are sought that address, but are not limited to, one or more of the following desired outcomes associated with decontamination:

  • Mobile solutions for the decontamination of the types of surfaces that exist within different modes of transportation (e.g., land, air, rail and sea) that will not interfere with (e.g., cause corrosion or degradation) or have a negative impact on medical, electronic, or operational and navigation equipment;
  • Ability to decontaminate varied surfaces by type, e.g., solid (e.g., square, flat), soft and porous, as well as hard-to-reach surfaces, including the underside of exposed surfaces, etc. Examples can include, but are not limited to, stretchers, medical and flight equipment;
  • Mobile, aviation-approved solutions for decontaminating the cockpit and rear compartment of an air ambulance that will not damage or have a negative impact on the aircraft’s electronic equipment, and that will not require that the aircraft return to its home base of operations;
  • Ability to easily decontaminate surfaces while meeting quality assurance standards;
  • Automated solutions for easily decontaminating surfaces within modes of transportation;Solutions for different modes of transportation will not be considered that require either a centralized cleaning facility or the transport of items to another location or base of operations.

Supplementary Information

Solutions for different modes of transportation will not be considered that require either a centralized cleaning facility or the transport of items to another location or base of operations.

Solutions are favoured that have undergone functional testing for: a) levels of effectiveness for single and multiple processing of varied surfaces; b) risk of corrosion and degradation of performance in materials and systems; and/or c) impact on medical or electronic equipment.

Definitions:

Decontamination: A cleaning process that decreases antimicrobial elements on surfaces. Types of decontamination are disinfection, antisepsis, and sterilization. General decontamination kills some bacteria and fungi while deactivating viruses.

Sanitizing: A process that is meant to reduce, not kill, the occurrence and growth of bacteria, viruses and fungi by 99.9 percent (3 log 10)

Disinfecting: A process that will “kill” a defined set of microscopic organisms. The minimum level of effectiveness in a modern-day disinfectant is 100 percent kill of 6 log 10 of an organism.

Medical Waste: According to the World Health Organization, different types of medical waste can include: (a) Infectious Waste: anything that’s infectious or contaminated; b) Sharps: waste like needles, scalpels, broken glass and razors; Pathological Waste: human or animal tissue, body parts, blood and fluids; Pharmaceutical Waste: unused and expired drug or medicines, like creams, pills, antibiotics; Genotoxic Waste: cytotoxic drugs and other hazardous toxic waste, that’s carcinogenic, mutagenic or teratogenic; Radioactive Waste: any waste containing potentially radioactive materials; Chemical Waste: liquid waste, typically from machines, batteries and disinfectants; and General/Other Waste: all other non-hazardous waste. Radioactive waste, while considered a form of medical waste, is out of scope for this challenge.

[1] According to Health Canada, sanitizing modalities must kill or reduce the number of bacteria and viruses present on surfaces by 99.9 percent (3 log 10) in order for it to be considered an effective solution.

Background

Background

As part of Strong, Secure, Engaged: Canada’s Defence Policy, the Department of National Defence (DND) has launched the Innovation for Defence Excellence and Security (IDEaS) Program. The IDEaS Program supports, increases and sustains science and technology (S&T) community capacity external to DND that can generate new ideas and formulate solutions to Canada’s current and future defence and security Innovation Challenges. These innovative solutions are critical for Canada and its allies to mitigate new threats and stay ahead of potential adversaries, while generating knowledge and economic benefits for Canada. Innovators willing to develop solutions to emerging problems from their own unique perspectives are encouraged to participate in the IDEaS Program.

IDEaS aims to encourage and progress innovative solutions along the Solution Readiness Level (SRL) maturity scale, as described on the IDEaS website (https://canada-preview.adobecqms.net/en/department-national-defence/programs/defence-ideas/solution-readiness-level.html).

This Call for Proposals (CFP) is an invitation to innovators to submit innovative S&T proposals in support of Canada’s defence, security and public safety. DND is looking for novel ideas and innovative solutions to resolve S&T challenges under the following areas:

  • Rapid response: Real-time insights for pandemic decision-making;
  • Scrubbing your scrubs: Finding ways to re-use COVID-19 protective gear; and
  • Super sanitize: Cleaning sensitive equipment and workplaces.

For the Public Safety community these challenges are in support of the Canadian Safety and Security Program (CSSP). The CSSP mission is to strengthen Canada's ability to anticipate, prevent, mitigate, prepare for, respond to and recover from natural disasters, serious accidents, and crime and terrorism through the convergence of S∓T with policy, operations, and intelligence.

Contributions Overview

Competitive Projects are funded projects sought to address S&T Challenges through regular calls for proposals (CFP). The IDEaS Program will provide financial support through non-repayable contribution agreements where phased development allows quick implementation and continual progress.

For information, non-repayable contributions are a monetary payment that does not result in the acquisition by the Government of Canada of any goods, services or assets. This is different than previous calls under Competitive Projects, where the Department had used a procurement contract. Some requirements set out in the Applicant’s Guide may be different from those you may have seen in the past.

Although projects from this CFP will be funded using non-repayable contributions, DND/CAF may acquire S&T solutions developed from this call through a separate procurement process in the future.

Eligibility and Funding

Eligible Recipients

This CFP is open to individuals, academia, not-for-profit organizations, for-profit organizations, and provincial/territorial/municipal governments.

Applicants with joint ventures may also apply. See section 1.6 of the IDEaS Program Applicant Guide for more information.

Available Funding

Competitive Projects using Contributions is divided into two phases: Phase 1 that awards up to $200,000 for a period of 6 months, and Phase 2 that awards up to $1,000,000 for a period of 1 year. For both Phase 1 and Phase 2 for the S&T Challenges of this CFP, the Department expects to set aside an initial estimated total of $15M (the amount can be modified).

This Call for Proposals is for Phase 1 only.

Phase 1 – award up to $200,000

The objective of Phase 1 is to establish the S&T merit, innovativeness and impact of a solution that addresses a specific S&T Challenge. Applicants propose a solution within SRL 1-6 (inclusive). Proposals are evaluated and solutions that meet the evaluation criteria and all other requirements may be recommended for funding. If selected, applicants are eligible to receive up to $200,000 per agreement for the development of their proposed solution for a maximum performance period of six months.

Phase 2 – award up to $1,000,000

The objective of Phase 2 is to continue the S&T efforts of Phase 1 and progress promising solutions to a higher SRL. Applicants of successful Phase 1 solutions may receive an invitation from DND to further their solution’s SRL continuum and would be requested to submit a proposal (form to be supplied by DND at the appropriate time). Proposals will be evaluated and if selected, applicants are eligible to receive up to $1,000,000 per agreement for the development of their proposed solution for a maximum performance period of one year.

Participation in Phase 2 is not guaranteed and is not mandatory. Application information for Phase 2 will be made available to applicants that have successfully completed Phase 1 projects and are invited to submit a Phase 2 proposal. It is at the sole discretion of Canada to exercise Phase 2.

All proposals must be in Canadian dollars.

How to apply

Application and evaluation process overview

This Call for proposals (CFP) invites proposals for Phase 1 only and involves a three-stage funding process. The steps of for each stage are summarized below to better illustrate the overall process. For more information, please visit the IDEaS Program Applicant Guide

Stage 1

Stage 2

Stage 3

Proposal Submission

Proposal Evaluation & Selection

Contribution Agreement Awarded

Applicant is to complete and submit a proposal form.

DND will evaluate the submitted proposals and select.

Those selected are awarded a contribution agreement.

Stage 1: Proposal Submission

The Applicant is to complete the following:

  1. Read the Applicant Guide and determine eligibility.
  2. Review the S&T Challenges and determine if they can address any of them with an innovation.
  3. Complete the Proposal Form and submit on or before the closing date for the CFP.

For this CFP, proposals must be received by the Program by July 30, 2020 at 14:00 EDT.

Stage 2: Proposal Evaluation and Selection

  1. DND will convene an evaluation committee to assess, score, and rank each Proposal based on the evaluation criteria.
  2. Proposal(s) that have passed the evaluation criteria and other requirements of the CFP will be considered compliant and will be placed in a pool of pre-qualified proposals for consideration.
  3. All pre-qualified proposals will be ranked and other factors may be considered prior to funding recommendation such as:
  • Similar S&T initiatives being funded by DND’s partners and allies;
  • Industrial and social benefits to Canada; and
  • Alignment with Government of Canada priorities.

DND may select one, multiple, or no proposals per S&T Challenge for final funding approval.

Stage 3: Contribution Agreement Award

  1. Applicants of the selected proposals will be invited to enter into a contribution agreement with DND (a draft contribution agreement can be provided if requested).
  2. The ranking and selection of proposals for funding does not constitute a guarantee on the part of Canada that a contribution agreement will be awarded.

Applicant guide and proposal form

IDEaS Program Applicant’s Guide

IDEaS Program Applicant’s Guide

Proposal Form

Steps to Access and Use the Proposal Form:

  1. Open the IDEaS Proposal Form [PDF - 1.15MB].
  2. Save the blank proposal form on your computer.
  3. Enter the information into the form.
  4. Save the form again using an appropriate file name.

To submit, please refer to the IDEaS Applicant Guide: 2 Submission Process. Proposals must be submitted by using the epost Connect service provided by Canada Post Corporation. The applicant must send as early as possible, and in any case, at least five business days prior to the Call For Proposals closing date and time, a request to DND.IDEaS-IDEeS.MDN@forces.gc.ca to open an epost Connect conversation.

FAQ

About the Funding

Who can apply?

This call for proposals is open to individuals, academia, not-for-profit organizations, for-profit organizations, and provincial/territorial/municipal governments.

How much money is available in total?

An initial allocation of $15 million is available to this set of COVID-19 related challenges.

How much money will each recipient receive?

Successful applicants to Phase 1 will receive up to $200,000 for a period of 6 months, and Phase 2 recipients will receive up to $1,000,000 for a period of 1 year.

What type of funding is this?

This funding is a non-repayable contribution. The money does not need to be repaid to Canada. A non-repayable contribution is a monetary payment that does not result in the acquisition by the Government of Canada of any goods, services or assets. This is different than previous calls for proposals under Competitive Projects, where the Department had used a procurement contract. As a result, some of the requirements set out in the IDEaS Program Applicant’s Guide may be different from those you may have seen in the past.

Although projects from this call for proposals (CFP) will be funded using non-repayable contributions, the Department of National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces (DND /CAF) may acquire science and technology (S&T) solutions developed from this call through a separate procurement process in the future.

Do I need to repay the money if my solution isn’t selected to move on to the second round of funding?

No. This is a non-repayable contribution so no repayment is expected, even if you only receive funding from Phase 1.

How will IDEaS distribute funds?

Successful applicants will be asked to complete a direct deposit form.

Once the contribution agreement has been signed by the applicant and DND, payments will be made based on measurable, pre-defined project milestones, as well as upon receipt of the documentation as defined in the contribution agreements.

Submitting your Proposal

Can I submit multiple proposals under a Challenge?

Yes. Applicants may submit more than one proposal per Challenge, however the proposals must have no dependencies on other proposals. Each proposal will be evaluated separately on its own merit.

I have a proposal to submit, but it does not fit any current Challenges. Can I submit it without selecting a Challenge?

No. Unsolicited proposals will not be accepted. You may want to consult other programs such as Innovation Canada (https://innovation.ised-isde.canada.ca/s/?language=en&lang=eng) or NRC COVID-19 community support (https://nrc.canada.ca/en/research-development/research-collaboration/nrc-covid-19-community-support) platforms for other opportunities to provide your solution.

How does the IDEaS Program define innovation?

For this Call for Proposals, we are looking for innovations that meets one or more of the following criteria:

  • An invention*, new technology or new process that is not currently available in the marketplace
  • Significant modifications to the application of existing technologies/components/processes that are applied in a setting or condition for which current applications are not possible or feasible.
  • An improvement in functionality, cost or performance over an existing technology/process that is considered state-of-the-art or the current industry best practice.

* An “invention” is defined for the purposes of this proposal as: “A manufacturing design or any other new and useful improvement that is new or novel, that is, not commonly known or not an obvious derivative of an existing way of doing things.”

How do I submit my proposal?

All proposals need to be submitted via Canada Post’s epost Connect(https://www.canadapost.ca/cpc/en/business/postal-services/digital-mail/epost-connect.page) account. Instructions on how to submit your application can be found in the IDEaS Program Applicant’s Guide

Can I edit my proposal after submitting?

Yes. You can edit your proposal up until the deadline date for the Challenge via your epost Connect

Proposal Evaluations and Feedback

How will my proposal be assessed?

Representatives of Canada will evaluate the proposals.

Will I receive feedback on my proposal?

Yes, all applicants will receive their feedback via email.

When will I receive my evaluation results?

This is dependent on a number of factors including complexity of the Challenge and number of submissions received, but typically you should receive a response within two months of the Call for Proposals closing date.

How will I be notified if my solution is successful on being selected by IDEaS?

You will be notified via email.

Successful Solutions

If I am selected, when can I expect to start the work?

In order to start work, a contribution agreement needs to be signed between you and Canada.

Who owns the Intellectual Property?

You do. Recipients retain the IP rights with a licence granted to Canada for IP rights, which would include the right to use and have used the IP for Canada’s activities.

All intellectual property (IP) rights that arise as a result of this Program shall vest in the Recipient. The Crown may, at its sole discretion, include a provision in the Contribution Agreement requiring that the Recipient grant the Crown, in perpetuity, a non-exclusive, irrevocable, royalty-free and world-wide licence, to use or have used, the intellectual property for government purposes. This licence allows the Crown to do anything that it would be able to do if it were the owner of the IP, other than exploit it commercially, or transfer or assign ownership of it.

How can I move on to Phase 2?

Successful Phase 1 recipients will be contacted by IDEaS to submit another proposal form for Phase 2 if their solution shows promise. It is solely at the discretion of Canada whether applicants move on to Phase 2.

How do I contact the IDEaS Program if I have more questions?

Send any questions to the IDEaS Program mailbox (DND.IDEaS-IDEeS.MDN@forces.gc.ca). We try to turn around any responses within 48 hours. Please note that questions received less than five (5) calendar days before the application deadline may not be answered.

Questions from Webinar

I would like to speak with someone from your program in order to determine if the solution matches your Challenge requirements.

The IDEaS Challenge Statements define each Challenge and provide essential and desired outcomes to allow applicants to outline and submit proposed solutions. These provide applicants with the required details in order to determine if their proposed work falls within the Challenge requirement.

Should I consider spaces and punctuation towards the total character count? Due to the current restrictions I cannot enter my full proposal.

Character limits include spaces, punctuation, letters, numbers or symbols; additionally, blank line spaces between paragraphs count toward character count and should not be used. The allocated space is sufficient for applicants to provide a relevant and high level description.

We are a foreign based company and we are conducting similar research with international organizations. Can we apply for funding under this challenge?

This Call for Proposals is open to eligible recipients outlined in the Applicant Guide, Section 1.6 Eligible Recipients: individuals, academia, not-for-profit organizations, for-profit organizations, and provincial/territorial/municipal governments that can be located outside of Canada. However, please also refer to Section 1.12 Canadian Content that generally, eligible costs are to be incurred in Canada. The IDEaS Program may support eligible activities and associated costs incurred outside of Canada when necessary to ensure project success. In no case can more than 50% of eligible costs be incurred outside of Canada.

The proposal form asks only basic information about the applicant. Is there additional module where CV should be attached to evaluate applicant's expertise?

It is not necessary to provide a CV with the proposal submission. If you would like to provide a CV you may do so by attaching it with the proposal in the epost Connect conversation. Applicants of selected proposals may be requested to provide additional information to support the final funding selection decisions. Additional project analysis may be required, including Financial Risk and Technical Assessments.

We are encountering issue when attempting to save date in the Proposal Form. We have tried various PDF editor applications and 3 different computers all with the same result.

Please try the steps below:

  1. Access the IDEaS website, Proposal Form [PDF - 636KB]
  2. Prior to entering information, do a file save as and save the blank proposal form on your computer.
  3. Enter the information into the form. (You can test by entering a few data fields).
  4. Save the form again using an appropriate file name.

Will there be any delays in IDEaS processing Epost Connect conversation requests due to COVID?

Requests for epost Connect will be processed in the order they are received. As outlined in the Applicant Guide, Section 2 Submission Process, proposals must be submitted by using the epost Connect service provided by Canada Post Corporation (CPC). The applicant must send as early as possible, and in any case, at least five business days prior to the Call For Proposals closing date and time, an email requesting to open an epost Connect conversation. Requests to open an epost Connect conversation received after that time may not be answered or may result in the late submission of the proposal.

Applicants are solely responsible for ensuring their proposal is submitted properly in its entirety by the application deadline.

I have a solution that does not align with your current Challenges. It is an important innovation and I would like to find a means to market it. I would like to speak with someone about procuring this innovation.

Unsolicited proposals will not be accepted. You may want to consult other programs such as Innovation Canada or NRC COVID-19 community support platforms for other opportunities to provide your solution.

You are looking for solutions SRL 1-6 only.  What if there is a fully developed, commercialized solution already available in the marketplace with will meet your needs?

As outlined in the Applicant Guide, IDEaS aims to encourage and progress innovative solutions along the Solution Readiness Level (SRL) maturity scale, as described on the IDEaS website. The current SRL of the proposed solution must be within 1 and 6 (inclusive).

Applicants may also wish to consult other programs such as Innovation Canada or NRC COVID-19 community support platforms for other opportunities to provide your solution. Applicants with fully available solutions are also encouraged to monitor current opportunities for tenders on Buy and Sell.

Our organization has submitted a solution to another funding agency but have not yet received a response. Can we also submit the same solution to the IDEaS this call for proposals?

Applicants may leverage funding from other sources and are required to include this information within Table 1 - Project Activities & Budget (maximum of 5 activities) of the proposal form. Applicants must identify all sources of funding in their proposals and confirm this information in a Contribution Agreement if the proposal is selected for funding. The differences between the projects must be clearly identified within the proposal form as federal government funding cannot be provided for the same project. For additional information, please refer to the Applicant Guide, 1.8 Stacking Provisions and Other Government Assistance.

I am a Federal employee and I have a research proposal for the COVID-19 Challenge Program. I would be working in collaboration with academian and other government organizations. Would I qualify as an applicant?

A federal employee is not an eligible recipient through the IDEaS Program. The intent of this process is to fund innovators external to the federal government. As a result, a DND employee would not be eligible.

We are interested in submitting a proposal to the IDEaS Program's Call for Proposal. We already have an Innovation Contract with DND under a different Program. Are there any limitations to how many projects we can be awarded funding for and will this submission affect future onsiderations for our current contracts.

There is no limitation on the number of IDEaS projects with a specific recipient. Applicants may submit more than one proposal per Challenge, but one proposal can only address one Challenge. Proposals should be standalone and have no interdependencies. If proposals are identified as dependent, they will be declared as inadmissible and not be considered further. Each proposal will be evaluated separately on its own merit.

The differences between your projects must be clearly identified within the proposal form as federal government funding cannot be provided for the same project. For additional information, please refer to the Applicant Guide, 1.8 Stacking Provisions and Other Government Assistance.

I would like to know if a joint application between a business (for-profit organization) and a business incubator (not-for-profit organization) is eligible.

Thank you for your interest in the IDEaS programme. This call for proposals is open to individuals, academics, not-for-profit organizations, for-profit organizations and provincial/territorial/municipal governments. For more information on joint ventures, please refer to the Applicant's Guide, Section 1.6 Recipients.

Will I have access to relevant data and personnel during my contribution agreement work period?

Innovators will need to obtain and make use of their own data sets or submit proposals that support data gathering activities. Government furnished property (GFP) will not be provided by the Department during the 1st phase of work. Innovators are encouraged to plan fo the use of available resources, data sets, and personnel within their proposals.

The Intellectual Property clauses mentions that the IP rights arising out of this will remain with Recipient but that the Crown may ask the Recipient to grant ownership of the IP. In what instances/scenarios does the Crown ask for these rights?

It is difficult to provide an example of a specific situation; however, if the IP is of interest to the Crown, it may ask for a licence. The licence will allow Canada to do anything that it would be able to do if it were the owner of the Foreground Information, other than exploit it commercially and transfer or assign ownership of it.

Contact us

Send any questions to the IDEaS Program mailbox (DND.IDEaS-IDEeS.MDN@forces.gc.ca). We try to turn around any responses within 48 hours. Please note that questions received less than five (5) calendar days before the application deadline may not be answered.

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