Government of Canada addresses healthcare challenges in remote communities and beyond
The Canadian Space Agency mobilizes Canadian innovators to bolster the development of new remote health technologies
December 2, 2021 – Longueuil, Quebec
The Canadian Space Agency (CSA) created the Health Beyond initiative to leverage our country's expertise in healthcare, medical research and emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence. The initiative is designed to identify and develop innovative, relevant, and sustainable solutions to healthcare challenges experienced by astronauts on deep-space missions. The information gathered as part of this initiative will also help Canadians living in remote or isolated locations.
To help guide these efforts, the CSA invited some of Canada's prominent medical minds to form an Advisory Council on Deep-Space Healthcare. The Council produced a detailed report which outlines possibilities for a comprehensive program that could benefit both deep-space and terrestrial healthcare.
In alignment with one of the Advisory Council's recommendations, the Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, announced the Deep Space Healthcare Challenge. Through this Challenge, participants will design new diagnostic and detection solutions to support frontline health workers in remote communities now, and crews on long-duration space missions in the future. Canadian innovators are asked to submit a concept of their healthcare technology by February 1, 2022. The CSA is running the challenge in collaboration with the Privy Council Office's Impact Canada.
"Canadians living in remote or isolated communities share some of the same healthcare challenges as astronauts on missions to distant destinations. With the Deep Space Healthcare Challenge, the Government of Canada wants to find solutions that will benefit both astronauts and those living in medically isolated locations here on Earth."
—The Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry
"The Deep Space Healthcare Challenge is achieving success here at home through the creation of new healthcare technologies for Canadians in remote areas, all while supporting the dream of deep space exploration. Investing in Canadian innovation will improve remote healthcare for all Canadians, whether they are living in a medically-isolated area or aboard a ship in the depths of space."
— The Honourable Bill Blair, President of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Emergency Preparedness
Throughout the three stages of the Deep Space Healthcare Challenge, the CSA will distribute a maximum of $2.85 million to Canadian winners:
- Stage 1: Teams will submit a concept of a new detection or diagnostic technology. Up to 20 semi-finalists will receive $30,000 and move on to Stage 2.
- Stage 2: Semi-finalists will develop a proof-of-concept that they will test independently in a lab environment. Up to five finalists will receive $350,000 and move on to Stage 3.
- Stage 3: Finalists will test their prototypes in a simulated environment with the CSA. The grand prize winner will receive $500,000.
The Deep Space Healthcare Challenge is open to all Canadians, including commercial and non-commercial organizations and individuals incorporated and located in Canada.
Impact Canada is a Government of Canada-wide effort to help accelerate the adoption of innovative funding approaches to deliver meaningful results to Canadians.
Indigenous Services Canada and the Coordinated Accessible National (CAN) Health Network are supporting partners on the Deep Space Healthcare Challenge.
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