Feds launch tech demo program for aerospace and defence industries

Monday September 09, 2013
Written by Manufacturing AUTOMATION
The Canadian government has announced the launch of a new Technology Demonstration Program that will fund large-scale technology demonstration projects in aerospace and defence that typically require the integration of several different technologies and the co-ordination of activities of many partners.

"Canada's aerospace and defence industries make important contributions to our economy, support high-skilled jobs across the country, and are leading investors in research and development," said James Moore, Minister of Industry. "Our government is proud to launch this new program that will support large-scale technology demonstration projects with strong commercialization potential, and that will promote cross-industry collaboration."

"Technology demonstration is a vital part of bringing innovation to market, but it is very complex and involves high levels of risk," said Jim Quick, president and CEO of the Aerospace Industries Association of Canada. "The program…will help our companies to develop and produce the kinds of cutting-edge products that are at the heart of what makes Canadian aerospace companies the best in the world. We are very pleased with this announcement and thank Minister Moore and the government for their ongoing support of this important industry."

Demonstration activities involve moving new technologies out of the laboratory and testing them in real-world settings to ensure they fulfill their intended use in a safe and efficient manner. Companies often find it difficult to finance this step in the technology development process, limiting the speed and scale with which innovation is advanced.

"We believe that this program will help to create knowledge-based jobs in the defence and security sector, and strengthen the ability of Canadian industry to support Canada's Armed Forces with world-class capability across the land, sea and air domains," said Tim Page, president of the Canadian Association of Defence and Security Industries. "It will also contribute to greater Canadian success in export markets around the world."

The announcement kicked off the initial call for project proposals, with statements of interest for the first intake into this new program due by December 6, 2013. Approved projects will be announced by fall 2014. There will be yearly calls for applications.

Projects must be led by an original equipment manufacturer or a Tier 1 integrator. Lead companies will bring together small and medium-sized Canadian-based companies to promote the development of supply chains, as well as accredited Canadian universities and colleges or their affiliated research institutes to promote knowledge transfer.

Minister Moore noted that the government is continuing to study the findings and recommendations of the Review of Aerospace and Space Programs and Policies, which were released last fall. Among the proposed recommendations were improvements to the Strategic Aerospace and Defence Initiative, which is receiving an injection of close to $1 billion over five years as announced in Economic Action Plan 2013.

The Technology Demonstration Program will cover up to 50 per cent of eligible project costs, including equipment located in broadly accessible hubs to fuel innovation. The maximum funding that may be allocated in each application cycle is $54 million. For more information on the Technology Demonstration Program, visit the Industrial Technologies Office website.

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