Program Overview

Understanding IDEaS 

IDEaS was announced in Canada’s new defence policy, Strong, Secure, Engaged, and commits to $1.6 billion of investment in innovations for defence and security over the next 20 years.

The program is looking for your solutions to support the development of defence and security capabilities.

IDEaS fosters open innovation to provide creative thinkers with the structure and support to encourage solutions, which will assist in solving some of Canada’s toughest defence and security challenges.

IDEaS will support the development of solutions from their conceptual stage, through prototype testing and capability development. The program includes several elements that promote collaboration between innovators, provides developmental resources and provides opportunities to interact with DND’s science and military members. Through which all innovators are on an even playing field to solve specific defence and security challenges.

Program Overview:

IDEaS Elements

Competitive Projects

Competitive Projects are project proposals sought to address S&TChallenges through regular calls for proposals. The IDEaS Program will provide financial support through contracts and contribution agreements where phased development allow continual progress as milestones are achieved for quick project implementation as well as quick termination if warranted. Proposals will be reviewed and evaluated according to predetermined criteria.

Innovation Networks

The IDEaS Program supports the establishment of new Innovation Networks and, where appropriate, existing networks, to stimulate collaboration and the free flow of ideas critical to innovation. Academics, industry and other partners are encouraged to come together to form collaborative Innovation Networks.  Areas for support of advanced research and development (R&D) will vary over time depending on Canada’s current and future defence and security Innovation Challenges.


Sandboxes are an opportunity for innovators to test and demonstrate their solutions to published challenges. The scenario and environment are provided by the Department of National Defence (DND)/the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF), and participants will receive observational feedback from DND/CAF experts and potential users.


Contests are a competitive means of finding innovative solutions and awarding prizes to the best solutions. Each contest focuses on one of the defence and security challenges identified by the program. Each contest is held independently; the number of winners, as well as the type and/or value of the prizes, will vary. IDEaS will hold approximately four contests per year.

Test Drive

Test Drive is an opportunity for innovators to offer their solutions to DND/CAF in response to published Test Drive Challenges. If selected, innovators can observe while DND/CAF test and evaluate their solutions in a realistic test environment as part of a DND/CAF-designed test plan. DND/CAF will acquire use of the solutions for the test/evaluation via a purchase, lease, rent, loan or other arrangement with the innovator.

Annual Report: