Innovation for Defence Excellence and Security (IDEaS) Opportunities

IDEaS Defence Procurement Funding Opportunities

The Innovation for Defence Excellence and Security (IDEaS) program offers government contracts from the Department of National Defence and Canadian Air Force to develop, test, and deploy military technologies. During targeted calls for projects, specific types of technologies and applicants are sought to identify or establish a solution. Opportunities are released throughout the year; this makes it important to keep track of those that are currently available or upcoming.

 Many new calls for IDEaS projects are expected to be released in January 2020. Posted opportunities will be covered in this article.

While each opportunity maintains a unique application intake and deadline, potential applicants are encouraged to start identifying eligible projects now. Opportunities tend to last for approximately four weeks before the application period closes; this is a small application window that should be addressed as soon as possible.

What is the Innovation for Defence Excellence and Security Program?

Established in 2017, the Innovation for Defence Excellence and Security (IDEaS) program is a permanent procurement used by Canada’s federal government to solicit proposals for advanced technologies. It seeks to build an innovation ecosystem that supports military and defence technologies from early concept definition to prototype development. Proposed technologies need to relate to one of the program’s currently posted opportunities.

Canada’s Department of National Defence (DND) and Armed Forces (CAF) will invest $1.6 billion over 20 years, including $313 million in the first five years (2017-2021) to the IDEaS program.

DND and CAF will launch many types of IDEaS opportunities that foster a vibrant innovation system, including individual and collaborative research and development projects. This is an important aspect of IDEaS to consider; many opportunities require a specific applicant or technology focus in order to be competitive and qualify for funding consideration.

IDEaS Elements

The program includes several elements that foster collaboration between innovators and provides developmental resources and opportunities to interact with federal government’s Department of National Defence science and military members. These include:

  • Competitive Projects: Project proposals sought to address science and technology challenges through regular calls for proposals.
  • Innovation Networks: Supports the establishment of new Innovation Networks and existing networks, to stimulate collaboration and the free flow of ideas critical to innovation.
  • Sandboxes: Opportunity to test and demonstrate innovators solutions to published challenges.
  • Contests: Competitive means of finding innovative solutions and awarding prizes to the best solutions.
  • Innovation Assessment and Implementation (IA&I): Opportunity for innovators to offer their solutions to Department of National Defence (DND) and Armed Forces (CAF) in response to published (IA&I) Challenges.

Current IDEaS Federal Procurement Opportunities


The Sandboxes stream presents an opportunity for innovators to test and demonstrate solutions. Scenarios and test environments are provided by the Department of National Defence or Canadian Armed Forces, and participants receive observational feedback from potential users.

The following sandbox opportunity is accepting applications until February 19, 2020:

  • Corrosion Detection in Ships (CDIS): This challenge will take place at the Centre for Ocean Ventures & Entrepreneurship (COVE) facility in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia and will focus on corrosion detection on naval vessels. Some of the operational scenarios include:
    • Detecting corrosion on the hull in the water
    • Detecting corrosion on the hull out of the water
    • Detecting corrosion in tanks
    • Detecting corrosion on/in pipes
    • Detecting corrosion on/in structure
    • Detecting corrosion on the deck

Apply for the Innovation for Defence Excellence and Security Program

Each IDEaS challenge type has a unique application process; therefore, it’s important to understand each challenge fully before proceeding with a proposal. While some applications place more focus on how technologies could be developed to solve a challenge, others focus on how an already fully-developed solution can be used to address department needs. As the project focus changes, so does the application process.

The most critical aspect of applying to IDEaS is to keep an eye on current and upcoming challenges. Applications are generally accepted for approximately four weeks, then close for application review. To be considered, your organization or innovative partnership needs to apply on or before the challenge deadline.

To discuss upcoming innovation challenges and optimize the application process with our team of Government Funding Planners, please contact Mentor Works.

Funding Funding Now, Contact Mentor Works

Updated: January 22, 2020

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