We are seeking pre-commercial innovative prototypes that can be tested in real life settings and address a variety of priorities within the Government of Canada..
June 15, 2022
July 13, 2022, 14:00 Eastern Time
Quantum technologies are at the cutting edge of science and innovation, both in Canada and worldwide. As an enabling platform, quantum is leading to a new suite of technologies in computing, sensors, secure communications and advanced materials. These technologies will support the growth of key sectors such as computing, communications, health care, transportation logistics, navigation and cybersecurity.
While Quantum computing is still in its infancy as a field and awaiting readiness for practical applications, Quantum hardware companies are currently trying to scale up their quantum computers and include enough qubits to reach quantum advantage. The Government of Canada (GoC) faces a challenge in being “quantum ready” to leverage technologies as they are developed to commercial readiness. ISC is soliciting proposals calling for a variety of quantum computing hardware and software solutions that can help improve departments’ existing quantum computing stack and better prepare the GoC for the eventual integration of quantum computing solutions into its operations.
Quantum computing stack: The quantum computing stack is everything that lies between a user and the physical qubits. The stack needs to perform essential functions; for instance, it must facilitate user interaction, turn inputs into hardware manipulation, and correct for numerous error sources.
Quantum Computer: A quantum computer is any device for computation that makes direct use of distinctively quantum mechanical phenomena, such as superposition and entanglement, to perform operations on data. A functional quantum computer requires the holding of an object in a superposition state long enough to carry out various processes on it.
Quantum Software: Any programs or applications capable of running on a quantum computer.
Innovations must meet at least ONE outcome to qualify under SC4 and up to FOUR to score full points under PR7
- Quantum Technologies or components with the potential for eventual application in any one or all of the following fields: defence, energy, pharmaceutical, chemical, advanced industries (automotive, aerospace, electronics, superconductors), finance, or transport and logistics.
- Quantum computing hardware, software, or supporting equipment that is in the prototype stage and ready for operational testing using commercially available infrastructure.
- Hardware solutions including but not limited to Qubit hardware and gating technology; Quantum firmware; Hardware-aware quantum compilers / transpilers; Multi-quantum computing hardware platforms; and Logical-level compilation and circuit optimization technologies.
- Software solutions including but not limited to Quantum algorithms and quantum error correction applications; User interface solutions; QAAS; and operating systems.
- Quantum Resource Estimation (QRE) solutions to assess the size and type of a quantum computer that would be needed with specified performance criteria (run-time). QRE solutions must be configurable to accommodate a range of quantum computing architectures and other assumptions to optimize quantum stacks.
- Solutions that account for part or all of the quantum computing stack.
- Quantum enabling technologies such as quantum random number generators and components to support in the deployment of quantum technologies.
ISC will NOT accept (out of scope):
- Quantum Key Distribution solutions
Eligibility and evaluation
Mandatory Criteria (MC)
MC1: Canadian Bidder
The Bidder must meet the definition of a Canadian Bidder. A Canadian Bidder is defined as a Canadian person or entity submitting a proposal on its own behalf and having a place of business in Canada where the person or entity conducts activities on a permanent basis that is clearly identified by name and accessible during normal working hours.
MC2: Canadian Content
80% of the financial proposal costs, the total proposal price to Canada stated in "Section –G Financial Proposal", must be Canadian goods or Canadian services. For the complete Canadian content definition please refer to the Canadian Content Definition A3050T (2020-07-01) at Part 1, General Information, Article 1.5 of the solicitation documents:
- Solicitation for small or medium enterprises
- Solicitation for large business, not-for-profit or academic institution
The Bidder must be the owner of the Intellectual Property (IP) for the proposed innovation, or have a licence to the IP rights from a Canadian licensor for the proposed innovation and not be infringing on any IP rights.
MC4: Subject Area and Component
The Bidder's proposed innovation, as described and in its intended application, must be within the scope of one (1) of the relevant Military or Standard Component Subject Area(s) identified, as selected by the Bidder.
MC5: Pre-Commercial Status
The proposed innovation must not be openly available in the marketplace, and must not have been previously sold on a commercial basis as of the date of this bid submission. Refer to the definitions of "Pre-Commercial Innovation and Commercial Sales" at Appendix 2 of the solicitation documents:
- Solicitation for small or medium enterprises
- Solicitation for large business, not-for-profit or academic institution
MC6: Previously Pre-qualified Innovation
The proposed innovation or any other versions of the proposed innovation must not have been previously awarded a contract in the Build in Canada Innovation Program (BCIP) or its predecessor, the Canadian Innovation Commercialization Program (CICP), nor under the Innovative Solutions Canada (ISC) Testing Stream.
The proposed innovation or any other versions of the proposed innovation must not currently be active in a pool of pre-qualified innovations in any of the above. A proposed innovation that is currently active in a pool will be accepted only once the bid validity period for that proposal has expired or the Bidder has withdrawn their innovation from the relevant pool, prior to solicitation closing date.
Bidders can submit more than one proposal, as long as the proposed innovations are sufficiently different. The same or similar proposals may not be submitted twice for different problem statements. If the proposed innovation is similar or identical to an innovation previously submitted by the Bidder that is currently active in a pool and has not been withdrawn prior to solicitation closing, the following assessment will be used to determine sufficient difference to proceed.
|Not Sufficiently Different
MC7: Maximum Funding
The Bidder's Financial Proposal must not exceed $550,000 CAD in the Standard Component, or $1,150,000 CAD in the Military Component, not including applicable taxes, shipping costs, and travel and living expenses, where applicable. Refer to Section G – Financial Proposal.
MC8: Program Eligibility
The Bidder's proposal must be aligned with the mandate of the ISC Testing Stream where Canada procures, through a Contract, the Bidder's Innovation with the purpose of testing it in an operational environment.
The following criteria only apply to small or medium enterprises
MC9: Small Business
The Bidder must be a for-profit person or entity, with 499 or fewer full-time equivalent (FTE) employees. This calculation must take into account and include affiliated businesses, such as parent companies and subsidiaries that are either in or outside of Canada.
MC10: Bidder Presence in Canada
The Bidder must meet the following minimum requirements: 50% or more of the Bidder's FTE employees have Canada as their ordinary place of work; 50% or more of the Bidder's annual wages, salaries and fees must be paid to employees and contractors who spend the majority of their time working in Canada; and 50% or more of the Bidder's senior executives (Vice President and above) have Canada as their principal residence. These calculations must take into account and include affiliated businesses, such as parent companies and subsidiaries that are either in or outside of Canada.
Stage 1 Technical Evaluation – Screening Criteria (SC)
The proposed innovation must meet one or more of the ISC definitions of innovation below:
- An inventionFootnote 2, 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.
|The proposed innovation meet one or more of the ISC definitions of innovation.
SC2: Operational Readiness Validation
The Bidder must demonstrate that at the time of proposal submission, the proposed innovation is ready for testing in an operational environment, i.e. at minimum TRL 7 per the ISC Technology Readiness Level Scale.
SC3: Safety Considerations
The Bidder must demonstrate that they have obtained or possess, at the time of proposal submission, the certifications, licences, and approvals required to safely deploy the proposed innovation, and that it poses no risks to individuals or Government of Canada organizations involved in an operational demonstration.
This is to ensure that a Government of Canada organization and personnel are not exposed to safety or privacy risks during the conduct of the operational demonstration.
|At the time of proposal submission:
|At the time of proposal submission:
SC4: Scope – Outcomes
The Bidder must demonstrate that the proposed innovation provides a solution to the Problem Statement, and meets one or more of the Outcomes identified in the Problem Statement.
Stage 2 Technical Evaluation – Point-Rated Screening Criteria (PS)
PS1: Advance on State of the Art
The Bidder must demonstrate that the proposed innovation improves upon current approaches and state of the art, or current practices relevant to its purpose or application, in a manner that yields competitive advantages.
|24 points Minimum
PS2: Intellectual Property (IP) Strategy
The Bidder must demonstrate a suitable Intellectual Property (IP) strategy, relevant to protect IP generated by the proposed innovation and to protect the Bidder. This criteria also assesses the degree to which the strategy is appropriate to support successful commercialization.
|The Intellectual Property (IP) strategy is insufficiently rationalized or substantiated, and is poorly suited for background IP or generated IP as they pertain to the proposed innovation.
|8 points Minimum
PS3: Management Team
The Bidder must demonstrate that they have filled the key roles in the management team with individuals possessing relevant background or skill setFootnote 3, who can support the successful commercialization of the proposed innovation.
- Role A: Company leadership (e.g. CEO, or equivalent)
- Role B: Technology development (e.g. CTO, or equivalent)
- Role C: Commercialization strategy (e.g. Business Manager, or equivalent)
- Role D: Financial management (e.g. CFO, or equivalent)
|All roles are identified and possess a background or skill set (education and/or experience) that is relevant to the company's activities or their respective fields, however gaps remain that are unmitigated and have the potential to impede commercial launch and commercial success.
|8 points Minimum
|All roles are identified and possess, or are supported by, a background or skill set (education and/or experience) that is relevant to the company's activities or their respective fields, and will likely enable them to reach commercial launch.
|All roles are identified and possess, or are supported by, a strong background or skill set (education and/or experience) that would serve well in commercializing the proposed innovation, is clearly relevant to their respective industry, and increases the likelihood of commercial success.
PS4: Financial Capacity
The Bidder must demonstrate that they have sufficient financial resources and a credible financial strategy in order to execute their commercial launch plan, without a potential ISC Testing Stream contract.
In determining the credibility of a financial strategy, evaluators consider: funding sources, the amount of secured and unsecured funds, the degree of risk, and whether these risks are reasonable or sufficiently mitigated based on the context of the sector. Credibility, potential risks, and applicability to support launch costs should also be considered.
Financial resources must demonstrate ability to commercialize the proposed innovation.
|8 points Minimum
|The Bidder has demonstrated they have sufficient secured funds and have a credible financial strategy to successfully commercialize the proposed innovation.
Stage 3 Technical Evaluation – Point Rated Criteria (PR)
PR1: Innovation Benefits
This criterion is intended to assess the degree to which the proposed innovation could contribute to the positive economic development of the innovation ecosystem in Canada.
|Economic benefits are not identified or are insufficient.
|Economic benefits to the innovation ecosystem in Canada are limited.
|Economic benefits to the innovation ecosystem in Canada are significant.
PR2: Operational Demonstration Risk Mitigation Strategies
This criterion is intended to assess the degree to which the Bidder has identified all important risks in the demonstration scenario, and degree to which those risks are addressed with appropriate mitigation strategies.
PR3: Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) Benefits
This criterion is intended to assess the degree to which the Bidder has sufficient measures to effectively achieve and maintain gender balance and diversity within; their business, supply chain, or business ecosystem.
Score levels reflect the number of the following elements the Bidder addressed in their answer:
- Anti-discrimination policies;
- Recruitment strategy and hiring process;
- Training available to educate the Bidder's workforce on diversity and inclusion;
- How diversity and inclusion are factored into Bidder's supplier selection methods.
|Policies regarding gender balance and diversity are not identified, are insufficient, or do not appear genuine.
|Information provided clearly demonstrates that the Bidder is implementing some measures (up to two (2) elements) to achieve and maintain gender balance and increase diversity.
|Information provided clearly demonstrates that the Bidder is implementing most measures (two (2) or more elements) to achieve and maintain gender balance and increase diversity.
|Information provided clearly demonstrates that the Bidder is implementing all measures (all four (4) elements) to achieve and maintain gender balance and increase diversity.
PR4: Commercialization Strategy and Market Risks
This criterion is intended for the Bidder to demonstrate that they have a credible strategy to commercialize the proposed innovation, identifying market risks and providing suitable mitigation strategies for these risks.
PR5: Adoption Potential – Features & Benefits, Target Market
This criterion is intended to assess to what degree the proposed innovation's features and benefits are attractive to the relevant target market.
PR6: Adoption Potential – Cost to End User
This criterion is intended to assess to what degree the cost of the proposed innovation and the efforts required to adopt it are attractive and relevant for the target market.
The acquisition costs of the proposed innovation include the intended market price, the organizational impact, time and resources required for training and installation, and other direct costs for target market end-user (the customer) to acquire the proposed innovation.
|In relation to the acquisition cost and key features and benefits, an unacceptable amount of time and resources are required for the end user to adopt the proposed innovation.
|In relation to the acquisition cost and key features and benefits, a significant amount of time and resources are required for the end user to adopt the proposed innovation.
|In relation to the acquisition cost and key features and benefits, a reasonable amount of time and resources are required for the end user to adopt the proposed innovation.
|In relation to the acquisition cost and key features and benefits, virtually no time and resources are required for the end user to adopt the proposed innovation.
PR7: Scope – Outcomes
This criterion is intended to assess the degree to which the Bidder meets the Outcomes identified in the Problem Statement.
Insufficient or no information was provided to clearly demonstrate that the proposed innovation addresses more than one of the Outcomes identified in the Problem Statement.
Information provided clearly demonstrates that the proposed innovation addresses 2 of the Outcomes.
Information provided clearly demonstrates that the proposed innovation addresses 3 of the Outcomes.
Information provided clearly demonstrates that the proposed innovation addresses 4 or more of the Outcomes.
Maximum available points from Stage 2 & Stage 3 : 192 points
Minimum Total ScoreFootnote 4 from Stage 2 & Stage 3 to pre-qualify: 115 points
Pathway to commercialization
Enabling the Government of Canada to buy what it tries – a Pathway to Commercialization for eligible Canadian SMEs
Our new pilot project gives small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) the opportunity to sell your innovation directly to the Government of Canada without competing.
Through the Pathway to Commercialization under ISC's Testing Stream, eligible SMEs can receive commercial contracts based on the successful testing and market-readiness of your pre-commercial prototype. It is important to note that this pathway will only be available to eligible Canadian SMEs, which represent over 97% of all businesses in Canada, a percentage that mirrors past participation in the program.
How will it work?
- Once your initial ISC testing contract is completed, you may be eligible for the Pathway to Commercialization if your innovation is market-ready at technology readiness level (TRL) 9 or above (see other eligibility criteria)
- You will have up to 12 months to be assessed against eligibility criteria to determine if you will be placed on a Pathway to Commercialization source list where government departments can browse and purchase your successfully-tested innovations for up to three years
- Contracts under this initiative will each have a limit of up to $8M
- You must be selling the same innovation from your initial Testing Stream contract
- If you participate in the Pathway to Commercialization, your innovation will no longer be admissible for further testing nor any subsequent purchases contracts under EN578-22ISC5 of the Testing Stream.
- The requirements for commercial contracts will reflect the operational needs of client departments, the nature of the innovation, and will be put in place by Public Services and Procurement Canada, the program's Contracting Authority
How will SMEs be assessed?
A number of criteria will be used as part of the assessment process, including:
- Financial capacity
- Technology readiness
- IP strategy
- Company size
- Innovation test performance
Please read the call for proposals (CFP) for more information on the Pathway to Commercialization.
Frequently asked questions
All incoming questions regarding this specific call for proposals should be addressed to TPSGC.PASICVoletessai-APISCTestingStream.PWGSC@tpsgc-pwgsc.gc.ca.
You can also consult the Frequently asked questions about the Innovative Solutions Canada Program.
A glossary is also available.