Advanced Coatings and Materials for Personal Protective Ensembles

Identify and develop innovative solutions and technologies for materials and coatings to enhance Personal Protective Ensembles to counter Chemical/Biological/Radiological threats.

Sponsoring Department: Department of National Defence

Funding Mechanism: Contract

Opening date: February 19, 2018
Closing date: April 20, 2018, 14:00 Eastern Daylight Time (EDT)

Please refer to the tender notice for this challenge on Buy and Sell

Phase 1 award recipients

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Problem statement

Personal Protective Ensembles (PPE) must be worn by Canadian Armed Force (CAF) personnel when they operate in Chemical/Biological/Radiological (CBR) permissive threat environments to minimise the adverse physiological health effects that may result from possible exposure to toxic chemicals and materials. Effective PPE requires a balance between functionality (ability to stay on task and complete a mission), protection and burden (physiological, physical and psychological).

The challenge is to identify and develop innovative solutions and technologies for materials and coatings to enhance PPE to counter CBR threats. These solutions could include “smart” materials that alter their state in response to an external trigger, either driven by the environment or activated by the user, which would, through a change in physical properties or wear characteristics, significantly enhance the functionality/ease of wear, protection or reduction in burden for users in a CBR hazard environment. Associated technologies could include coatings or materials which have selective permeability to enhance evaporative heat transfer from the body whilst preventing penetration of toxic chemicals to the skin; reactive constituents that neutralise toxic chemicals on contact; super-adsorbents/absorbents that trap and isolate chemicals to minimise exposure; super-repellant (super-amphiphobic) coatings that will resist wetting by very low surface tension chemicals; or, other solutions that disclose the physical presence of CBR contamination in the environment on surfaces of military relevance, thereby enhancing hazard mitigation and management.

Desired outcomes & considerations

Soldier's tasks and missions will continue to become ever more complex and the need for PPE to integrate seamlessly with the myriad of sophisticated equipment fielded during operations more pressing. DND/CAF need to continue the development and advancement of its suite of PPE to ensure that systems will provide the functionality necessary to meet a continuum of mission requirements whilst maintaining a balanced approach to protection based on the threat and expected hazards, and burden when worn in high threat state. There is a spectrum of agents that can be looked at for example, chemicals with surface tensions less than 25 mN/m and chemicals with very low vapour pressures (more than 1000 times less than water). Materials that will keep aerosols (particles) from depositing on the skin but continue to allow evaporative heat transfer may be of interest. It is expected that smart coatings or materials that enhance functionality, protection or reduce burden, which also may include such technologies as selective permeability, reactive constituents, super-absorbency/absorbency, super-repellency or disclosure will have been explored as solutions. Materials must reduce infrared (IR) signature and must be flame resistant. Typical colours of military relevance and clear coatings (not-shiny) are of interest.

Background & context

Military operations involving nonconventional warfare are demanding new approaches to providing the soldier protection against possible exposure to toxic chemicals and biological pathogens. Asymmetric attacks are expected to be less severe in magnitude and shorter in duration, but their occurrence almost impossible to predict. In effect, some limited level of protection would be of benefit all of the time during asymmetric operations, rather than the current situation which finds soldiers with no immediately available protection most of the time. To capably interdict or respond to emerging asymmetric threats and operate in the face of the many hazards that may arise from these, the Canadian Armed Forces has a need for specialised clothing and equipment for the soldier that will ensure operational tempo is maintained whilst providing balanced protection from harm and mitigation of the physiological impact from burden. Technologically advanced coatings and materials that lead to lighter weight, thinner and highly robust fabrics will be the foundation for the next generation of protective systems.

Please refer to the tender notice for this challenge on Buy and Sell.

Maximum value and travel

Maximum contract value:

Multiple contracts could result from this Challenge.

The maximum funding available for any Phase 1 Contract resulting from this Challenge is $150,000.00 CAD (plus tax) including shipping, travel and living expenses, as applicable.

The maximum funding available for any Phase 2 Contract resulting from this Challenge is $1,000,000.00 CAD (plus tax) including shipping, travel and living expenses, as applicable. Only eligible businesses that have completed Phase 1 could be considered for Phase 2.

This disclosure is made in good faith and does not commit Canada to contract for the total approximate funding.

Travel:  No travel anticipated.


Solution proposals can only be submitted by a small business that meets all of the following criteria:

  • for profit
  • incorporated in Canada (federally or provincially)
  • 499 or fewer full-time equivalent (FTE) employeesFootnote *
  • research and development activities that take place in Canada
  • 50% or more of its annual wages, salaries and fees are currently paid to employees and contractors who spend the majority of their time working in CanadaFootnote *
  • 50% or more of its FTE employees have Canada as their ordinary place of workFootnote *
  • 50% or more of its senior executives (Vice President and above) have Canada as their principal residenceFootnote *

Application guide

All federal departments and agencies that issue ISC challenges, regardless of whether they use a grant or a contract as the financial instrument to support research and development (R&D) in Phases 1 and 2, will assess proposals and bids from small businesses based on standard questions. The online application and bid submission system will contain these standard questions and provide guidance on the length of responses.

Assessment process

Once a complete application or bid is submitted, it will be sent to the department and agency that issued the challenge as well as to the Industrial Research Assistance Program (IRAP) for assessment. It is the prerogative of the challenge sponsoring department or agency to decide which businesses will receive funding for Phase 1. All businesses that submit an application or bid will receive feedback.

In advance of accepting applications and bids from eligible businesses, the following is meant to provide guidance to businesses on what could be asked as part of the application and bid submission process. The information below may be used to evaluate proposals and is subject to change.


  • Please be prepared to identify the starting technology readiness level (TRL) of the solution and the anticipated TRL at the completion of Phase 1. Reminder, Phase 1 is meant for solutions in the TRL range from 1 to 4.
  • Be prepared to describe the novelty of your solution and how it advances the state-of-the-art over existing technologies, including competing solutions. Include in your description the scientific and technological basis upon which your solution is proposed.
  • Be prepared to identify what are the key scientific and technical risks facing your solution and how those risks would be addressed in Phase 1.

Benefits to Canada

  • Please be prepared to provide a brief description of your proposed solution and how it addresses the problem identified by the department or agency that issued the challenge statement.
  • Be prepared to describe the benefits to Canada that could result from the successful development of your solution, with a focus on three types of benefits: Economic Benefits, Innovation Benefits, Public Benefits.

Economic Benefits: Consider the proposed solution's potential impact on the growth of your firm but other firms in Canada more broadly. This could include the development of new clusters and supply chains. Consideration should be given to the number of jobs created, number of high-paying jobs, project-related revenue growth, etc.

Innovation Benefits: Consider the proposed solution's expected contribution towards the enhancement or development of new industrial or technological innovation within your firm. For example, potential spillover benefits, creation of intellectual property, impact on productivity of the new technology, etc.

Public Benefits: Consider the proposed solution's expected contribution to the broader Canadian public, including but not limited to inclusive business and hiring practices (e.g., gender balance), investment in skills and training and the environment.

Management and technological capability

  • Please be prepared to identify the work plan for Phase 1 including key milestones and activities anticipated, the total time foreseen to complete Phase 1 (not more than 6 months), resources required to complete the project and the key success criteria.
  • Be prepared to identify the potential project risks (e.g., financial, project management, human resources, etc.) to the successful development of the solution and how those risks would be managed in Phase 1.
  • Be prepared to provide a brief description of the project implementation team including specific members, partners, their roles and responsibilities, and how their expertise is relevant to the project. The team members must include a Project lead.
  • Be prepared to describe what your business is doing to encourage greater inclusivity in its innovation activities. One of the objectives of the program is to encourage greater participation of under-represented groups (e.g., women, Indigenous people, youth, persons with disabilities, visible minorities) in the innovation economy.

Financial capability

  • Please be prepared to provide a financial proposal for R&D in Phase 1. Be sure to check the details of each challenge posting which will indicate the maximum funding available for Phase 1 as well as any eligible or ineligible costs.
  • In addition, please be prepared to provide information on funding received from other orders of government (i.e., federal, provincial and municipal) for the same work being proposed in your application or submission.
  • Please be prepared to describe the financial controls and oversight that your business has in place to manage public funds if selected to proceed into Phase 1.


  • Please be prepared to describe how you envision the commercialization of your solution and how potential risks or barriers to further commercialization would be mitigated.

Application guide

Questions and answers

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You can also consult the Frequently asked questions about the Innovation Solutions Program.

A glossary is also available.