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Building robust safety and security capabilities through science and technology

The 2022 CSSP Call for Proposals is now live!

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2022 CSSP Call for Proposals
Building robust safety and security capabilities through science and technology

The public safety and security environment is highly complex, volatile and rapidly evolving. The intent of the 2022 CSSP Call for Proposals (CFP) science and technology (S&T) challenge set is to leverage the innovative application of science and technology across the spectrum of safety and security.

 

Theme 1: Beyond the future – Building resilience and responder capabilities

Hand holding a cell phone with icons representing technology floating above. Text on image: Beyond the future: Building resilience and responder capabilities.
Problem statement:

New threats and emerging hazards in operating environments from infectious diseases, toxic materials, responder injuries and deaths in/near vehicles, particulates/gases and critical incidents affecting mass populations underscore the need for enhanced situational awareness, advanced decision support technologies and analytic tools with improved linkages among front-line operators and with command and control systems. In addition, climate change is becoming increasingly inseparable from safety and security, and extreme weather events, such as floods, wildfires and hurricanes, continue to have an impact on local communities and infrastructure. For emergency management and responder communities, climate change has created new or amplified existing challenges in the operating environment, with extreme risks from natural hazard (e.g., wildfires, floods) behaviour, frequency and interplay with municipalities/local communities, affecting sustainability of frontline operators while simultaneously testing community resilience.

S&T challenge #1: Collect, store, analyze and visualize – Decision support and advanced analytics

This challenge accepts the following project types:
- Technology demonstration
- Technology pilot / feasibility studies
- Research and development (R&D)

The challenge:

Frontline public safety service delivery in Canadian communities requires myriad stable, advanced S&T capabilities. In today’s world, data is being created at a blistering pace, everything from sensors, Internet of Things (IoT) devices, and responder generated data sets. The ability to collect, securely store and analyze disparate data sources will not only improve situational awareness and resource allocations but will provide invaluable decision support for first responders/emergency managers and support remote response operations.

Specific technologies or capabilities of interest:

Proposals are sought for innovative S&T projects that go beyond current offerings involving, but not limited to new devices, novel sensor integration work, advanced decision support systems, and technology solution architectures, to address emergency management and responder community capability gaps and requirements.

To address this challenge, proposals are being sought that tackle one or more of these specific technologies or capabilities of interest:

  1. Efficient time sequencing/workflow: This CFP is interested in advancing Next Generation 9-1-1 (NG9-1-1) data usability to situate time sequencing for emergency responders. Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs) and first responders require the ability to rapidly aggregate, fuse, analyze, transmit, and share vast amounts of information in near-real time to support operational decision making. This includes addressing the information sharing requirements and gaps of providing relevant, accurate, consistent, and manageable data for NG9-1-1.

    Possible technologies of interest include, but are not limited to:

    1. data integration, advanced data analytics,
    2. natural language processing (NLP),
    3. artificial intelligence,
    4. machine learning (AI/ML); and,
    5. location-based technologies (e.g., Geographic Information System).

  2. Incident characterization: This CFP is interested in projects that lead to an improved situational understanding of dynamic calls for service and complex and contested first responder and emergency management rural and urban operating environments, including the ability to obtain critical information remotely about the extent, perimeter, or interior of the incident.

    Possible technologies of interest include, but are not limited to:

    1. IoT / IoT security,
    2. digital twins,
    3. social media and exploitation of open-source information sources; and,
    4. edge computing.

  3. Incident command: This CFP is interested in leveraging the power of data / big data, data analytics and business intelligence, including the ability to incorporate information from multiple and non-traditional sources into incident command operations (an incident could be local, municipal, first responder level, regional, national or a combination of these).

    Possible technologies of interest include, but are not limited to:

    1. data integration;
    2. secure and protected data storage;
    3. data sharing; as well as,
    4. data and integration standards and policy work.

  4. Actionable intelligence: This CFP is interested in improving the capabilities of first responders / law enforcement practitioners, including the ability to create actionable intelligence based on data and information from multiple sources.

    Possible technologies of interest include, but are not limited to:

    1. exploiting and applying AI/ML and natural language processing;
    2. decision support tools,
    3. real-time analytics;
    4. resource deployment models; and,
    5. dashboards for better situational awareness.

  5. Human-machine collaboration: This CFP is interested in research around robotics / autonomous systems, and improving overall performance, including the ability to conduct on-scene operations remotely without endangering responders.

    Possible technologies of interest include, but are not limited to:

    1. uncrewed aerial systems (UAS);
    2. automated alerts/notification/responses;
    3. remote sensor deployment; and,
    4. remote physiological monitoring of operators.
S&T challenge #2: Interoperable emergency management systems and resilient emergency communications

This challenge accepts the following project types:
- Technology demonstration
- Technology pilot / feasibility studies
- Research and development (R&D)

The challenge:

Resilient and standards-based communication systems are required to enable and ensure efficient and effective communications among first responders, emergency management and the broader public safety community, and with the public during emergencies (anywhere and at any time).

Specific technologies or capabilities of interest:

This challenge seeks proposals achieving tangible and specific solutions to generate new knowledge, technology or capabilities. In addressing the identified S&T challenges, it is expected that proposed solutions will improve abilities that are critical to support time-sensitive life-saving applications and services.

To address this challenge, proposals are being sought that tackle one or more of these specific technologies or capabilities of interest:

  1. Mobile broadband communications: This CFP is interested in understanding, characterizing and conducting research around how the public safety community is making use of commercial technologies such as 4G, 5G and WiFi for their communication needs due to their pervasiveness and very high levels of performance. As the number of such technologies and network instances continues to grow and add to the already vast mobile communications landscape, inter-working and interoperability challenges exist that need to be resolved. Many of these challenges pertain primarily to the public safety community’s use of broadband technologies, and much less for commercial use. At the forefront of such challenges is uninterrupted connectivity and session persistence as devices seamlessly move from, or are handed off from one network to another, thereby delivering the required mobile communications interoperability. This CFP is specifically seeking technical solutions to include technology demonstrations, technology pilots, and research and development proposals in the following areas of network inter-working and interoperability:

    • Among distinct 4G and 5G networks;
    • Among distinct 4G and private (non-commercial) 5G networks;
    • Among distinct 5G and private (non-commercial) 5G networks;
    • Among ground-based 4G and 5G networks and low-earth orbit (LEO)-based 5G networks;
    • Among 4G/5G networks and WiFi; and
    • Among IoT machine-type communications and 5G.
     

    Ultimately, responses to this challenge will deliver solutions that solve uninterrupted connectivity, and service and session continuity in the inter-working and interoperability scenarios listed above.


  2. Emergency alerting: This CFP is interested in leveraging next generation alerting technologies to improve emergency alerting capabilities by funding proposals that:

    1. empower and enable authorized alert issuers to deliver reliable, relevant, and accurate emergency and life-saving information to the public in real-time; and,
    2. expand the reach of emergency alerts to the general public and/or intended recipients, regardless of their geographical locations (and demographic group).
     

    Possible technologies of interest include, but are not limited to:

    1. IoT technologies;
    2. Internet technologies;
    3. location techniques; and,
    4. wireless technologies and security techniques.
S&T challenge #3: Enhanced community resilience

This challenge accepts the following project types:
- Technology demonstration
- Technology pilot / feasibility studies
- Research and development (R&D)
- Studies and analysis

The challenge:

Climate science predicts that there will be an increase in the frequency of climate-change induced natural disasters (wildfires, floods, landslides, and other extreme weather events) in the coming decades in Canada. This will pose many challenges to the well-being and even the survival of vulnerable communities in remote Canadian areas. Damage to infrastructure (e.g., roads degraded by melting permafrost and less predictable ice roads, damaged dwellings, damaged electrical transformer substations, etc.), coupled with the effects of high-impact, low-frequency threats, such as pandemics, place vulnerable communities at even greater risk. A high degree of resilience in rural and remote communities is therefore of utmost importance. The uniqueness of each community requires that public safety and security solutions must be tailored and derived from both scientific innovation and the community contexts, leveraging existing strengths to enable resilience to the threats and hazards relevant to the local environment.

Specific technologies or capabilities of interest:

This challenge seeks proposals, aimed at achieving tangible and specific solutions to generate new knowledge, technology or capabilities that align with the identified S&T challenge. To address this challenge, proposals are being sought that tackle one or more of these specific technologies or capabilities of interest:

  1. Rural/remote community resilience: This CFP is interested in proposals that advance our understanding of the readiness of rural and remote community emergency response capability through the use of evidence-based tools, methods and approaches, including:

    1. validation or enhancement of emergency response plans,
    2. the pragmatic integration of new capabilities (i.e. communication tools); and,
    3. local, context-driven innovative approaches to emergency response readiness.

  2. Rural/remote protection tools for adaptation, including critical infrastructure: This CFP is interested in proposals that further development of next-generation or emerging rural/remote infrastructure protection tools deployable at a single-dwelling, critical infrastructure facility, or community scale with a small, non-permanent environmental footprint which could be quickly deployed to mitigate the damage caused by natural disasters. An example of such a tool would be a flood barrier or wildfire barrier and a strategy for their deployment in a municipality, local community, or critical infrastructure facility setting.


  3. Knowledge generation of resilience: This CFP is interested in proposals that conduct a context-appropriate systematic analysis of the people, processes and tools that exist in a rural/remote region (or regions) to define what techniques, resources and relationships could be leveraged collaboratively for improved public safety and security efforts across multiple communities. This includes methodologies for understanding how scientific, local and traditional knowledge can be fused together and incorporated into decision structures at local, regional and national levels, and to enable risk assessment.

 

Theme 2: Who are you? Enhancing identity management capabilities

A motherboard and digital fingerprint. Text on image: Who are you? Enhancing identity management capabilities.
S&T challenge #4: Identity management

This challenge accepts the following project types:
- Technology demonstration
- Technology pilot / feasibility studies
- Research and development (R&D)
- Studies and analysis

The challenge:

Governments and their representatives are required to authenticate, verify, and establish the identity of individuals for a multitude of reasons, from verifying the identity of persons entering the country or applying for official documents such as passports and driver’s licences, to identifying suspects in the course of conducting criminal and national security-related investigations, among other purposes. The technologies that governments rely on to assist with these tasks are known to exhibit a range of potential vulnerabilities/weaknesses, including being susceptible to adversarial attack, data security breaches, and algorithmic bias. Governments at all levels (federal, provincial, and municipal) are seeking ways to improve their identity management capabilities, while simultaneously maintaining security, protecting Canadians’ privacy, and delivering programs and services that do not discriminate against any demographic group.

Specific technologies or capabilities of interest:

This CFP is seeking innovative S&T solutions to enhance the government’s identity management capabilities, with a particular emphasis on capabilities, including forensic capabilities that support:

  1. border control/security and immigration,
  2. law enforcement / policing,
  3. intelligence / national security operations, or
  4. physical and/or logical access control.

Projects that explicitly address or incorporate work to better understand any attendant vulnerabilities/weaknesses in the proposed solution or that focus on how the solution will interact with other elements in the overarching system, including the human element, are of particular interest.

 

Theme 3: Upholding Canada’s sovereignty – Border security and domain awareness

A topographic map of Canada with country borders, rivers and longitude and latitude lines. Text on image: Upholding Canada’s sovereignty: Border security and domain awareness.
S&T Challenge #5 Border security and domain awareness

This challenge accepts the following project types:
- Technology demonstration
- Technology pilot / feasibility studies
- Research and development (R&D)
- Studies and analysis

The challenge:

Canada’s extensive perimeter, including its maritime regions and remote points of entry, presents the Government of Canada with daunting border security and domain awareness challenges, including the need to secure the long Canadian land border with the United States, perform surveillance of maritime and Arctic approaches, and ensure the efficient and secure flow of people, goods, and materials at border Ports of Entry.

Specific technologies or capabilities of interest:

This CFP is seeking innovative S&T solutions to enhance Canada's ability to protect and secure its land and/or maritime borders, with a particular emphasis on any technologies or solutions that can address one or more of the following:

  1. enhancing Canada’s border services and search and rescue capabilities in the North/Arctic;
  2. combatting organized crime and the trade in firearms and illegal narcotics;
  3. illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing;
  4. addressing irregular migration; and,
  5. ensuring the effective screening of cargo and travellers.
 

Theme 4: Prepare, prevent, respond and recover – Enhancing CBRNE capability in Canada

Five hazard symbols. Chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, and explosives. Text on image: Prepare, prevent, respond and recover Enhancing CBRNE capability in Canada.
Problem statement:

The risk posed by chemical, biological, radiological nuclear and explosives (CBRNE) events have become more prevalent in recent years due to increasingly interconnected societies, emerging technologies and political unrest. The COVID-19 pandemic (a high-impact biological threat) has been a reminder that CBRNE incidents have the potential to overwhelm response capacities. Whether they result from natural events, accidental release or hostile uses, the consequences of CBRNE incidents could have implications on national security, public safety, public confidence, the economy, the environment, and international relations. To prepare for such situations, Canada must have robust tools to anticipate, prevent, protect, and respond to CBRNE-crisis situations in a timely and effective manner.

Innovative solutions are being sought for these S&T challenges that enable the development of CBRNE knowledge and capabilities to support emergency management preparedness and strengthen whole-of-society resilience against threats, hazards, and crises.

S&T challenge #6: Situational awareness and decision support for CBRNE response

This challenge accepts the following project types:
- Technology demonstration
- Technology pilot / feasibility studies
- Research and development (R&D)
- Studies and analysis

The challenge:

There is a need for enhanced tools and technologies to manage information around CBRNE events, including improved modelling, data fusion and analysis capabilities for hazard characterization, vulnerability and risk assessment, as well as, strategic foresight. Information that feeds early warning, situational awareness, and decision support to a CBRNE incident must be effectively and efficiently managed in order to serve an effective risk reduction function.

Specific technologies or capabilities of interest:

Proposals are sought for S&T projects that enhance systems for sharing intelligence and integrating data from various sources to provide better early warning, situational awareness, and decision support for CBRNE events, specifically;

  1. refine consolidated risk and threat profile analysis to include impacts of advancing technologies;
  2. explore next generation modelling and analysis techniques to enhance pre- and post-event understanding and awareness; and,
  3. develop tools for fusion and visualization of CBRNE field data for situational awareness and decision support.
S&T challenge #7: Detection and identification of CBRNE threat materials

This challenge accepts the following project types:
- Technology demonstration
- Technology pilot / feasibility studies
- Research and development (R&D)
- Studies and analysis

The challenge:

In pursuit of response preparedness to continually expanding and evolving CBRNE materials with increasingly sophisticated delivery methods, there must be improvements made to the tools and technologies to detect and identify hazards earlier, at greater speed, and at increased distance.

Specific technologies or capabilities of interest:

Proposals are sought for S&T projects whose aim is to develop enhanced tools and methods for detection and identification of CBRNE threats, including for early warning and pre-event detection, specifically;

  1. develop further forensic capabilities in response to CBRNE events and non-intrusive technologies for safeguarding inspection and disarmament verification,
  2. create field deployable systems capable of identifying CBRNE threat materials in an operational setting, with particular interest in identification of volatile chemicals (VCs) related to CBRNE threat materials; and,
  3. develop sensor technology to identify/warn against precursors to substances that may pose a risk (e.g. fentanyl, carfentanyl, explosive material, etc.).
 

Theme 5: Taking control – Countering uncrewed aerial systems (c-UAS)

A drone flying surrounded by symbols for technology data and artificial intelligence. Text on image: Taking control Countering uncrewed aerial systems (UAS).
S&T challenge #8: Detection and mitigation of cellular UAS control and video transmissions

This challenge accepts the following project types:
- Technology demonstration
- Technology pilot / feasibility studies
- Research and development (R&D)
- Studies and analysis

The challenge:

Uncrewed Aerial Systems (UAS, or Drones) may be used maliciously to threaten the safety of commercial aircraft, conduct clandestine surveillance, harass VIPs or citizens at work or home, or deliver explosives or other dangerous materials to disrupt critical infrastructure, and the inadvertent illegal or dangerous operation of drones cause other threats. There have been several high-profile examples in recent years, and the monitoring of UAS activity near airports or in large cities shows how prevalent the threat can be. Technologies and protocols have been developed to detect and counter UAS, with various degrees of success; however, UAS are now being developed which use LTE/5G control and video downlink, such that the UAS may be operated from extremely long distances over the cellular network. A further complication is that a UAS operated by cell signals would electronically appear to be just another cell phone. Preliminary investigation has been done on detecting these signals, differentiating them from cell phone signals, and locating the transmitter and/or drone; however, S&T is required to confirm suitable detection and identification methodologies and to develop prototype technology.

Specific technologies or capabilities of interest:

Proposals are sought for S&T projects whose aim is to identify, assess, develop and/or demonstrate technologies and procedures for detecting, identifying, and countering UAS controlled by LTE/5G signals. The proposed solution may be at any solution readiness level (SRL), and cover any part of the detect/identify/counter response chain. Preference may be given to capabilities which can be demonstrated experimentally against real UAS, and which cover more than one aspect of the response chain. Ideally, the solution would include a means of identifying the locations of both the UAS and controller.

For further clarification, suitable proposals might, as examples only:

  • Identify and theoretically assess a novel methodology of identifying which cellular signals are being used to control or transmit video from a UAS;
  • Create a prototype detector which identifies a specific signal and localizes UAS (single or multiple) in space;
  • Provide for experimental assessment an existing detector system which identifies and/or localizes the UAS or control station;
  • Develop or demonstrate a means of selecting and blocking the LTE/5G signal to a UAS; or
  • Any other SRL-level possible solution to the S&T challenge.
 

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About the application process

Call for Proposals are launched by Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC). Science and technology challenges are posted on CanadaBuys.

   

Proposals are developed and submitted by partners with an identified lead government department (LGD).

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About the selection process

Projects that best meet the objectives of the program are selected. For more details on how projects are assessed, consult the assessment criteria of the Canadian Safety and Security Program application guide. Approved projects are initiated through the lead government department.

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Project implementation

The charter and quad chart are developed. Charter signatories include those receiving CSSP funds or offering in-kind support.

CSSP either transfers funds to a lead government department who manages contractual work following PSPC procurement guidelines or Defence Research and Development Canada Centre for Security Science may lead the project.

The lead government department is responsible for financial status reporting and hosts an annual project review committee meeting to track deliverables. The lead government department also hosts a project completion committee meeting and coordinates a final report on research and development deliverables as outlined in the charter.

CSSP shares results and outputs.

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