COVID-19 Challenge: An intelligent digital clearing house

From: Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada

The National Research Council of Canada (NRC) in collaboration with Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) is seeking a smart digital exchange platform solution that will connect researchers, health providers, and solution providers with the appropriate expertise, materials, devices, and information to respond to COVID-19.

Challenge sponsor: National Research Council of Canada (NRC) in collaboration with Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC)

Funding mechanism: Grant

Opening date: May 26, 2020
Closing date: June 2, 2020, 14:00 Eastern Daylight Time

Prospective applicants should refer to the Innovative Solutions Canada Grant Instructions and Procedures document.

Pha­­se 1 award recipients

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Challenge

Problem statement

The National Research Council of Canada (NRC) in collaboration Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) is seeking a digital solution to enable Canadian industry and global communities of researchers, health providers and funders to exchange, share and procure expertise and materials in response to COVID-19. This platform must be adaptable to future emergencies and crises and expandable to other jurisdictions.

This digital platform will be used to address scenarios such as:

  1. I want something you might have:  Allow health providers and regulators to post needs for equipment, services, and expertise.
  2. I have something you might need: Allow solution providers to offer existing products, services and information.
  3. I'm researching something you might be able to help me with: Allow government researchers and policy makers to share ideas and procure expertise across all levels of government.
  4. I need a material, product, part or service:  Allow firms to connect with appropriate government departments or other firms in the supply chain.

The intent is to provide a scalable, robust infrastructure that can integrate multiple emerging platform initiatives, for use by public, private, and non-profit organizations across multiple sectors to share information, expertise in response to a global crisis such as COVID-19.

Desired outcomes and Considerations

Essential (mandatory) outcomes

The solution must:

Phase 1
  1. Aggregate publicly available content such as:
    • A database of real-time demand and consumption of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), hand sanitizers, and testing kits across health care providers (hospitals, nursing homes, health clinics, etc.).
    • A database of all biosafety level 2 and biosafety level 3 labs in Canada (academic universities, private testing labs, national labs, etc.) with contact information)
    • A database of domestic suppliers for specific parts or reagents for personal protective equipment manufacture, medical devices (such as ventilators) and chemical feedstocks for testing reagents and hand sanitizers.
    • A database of important regulation information and approvals for the manufacture of critical equipment and hand sanitizers in response to COVID-19.
  2. Have basic functions such as post, respond, search, and match-make across providers (personal protective equipment manufacturers, reagent producers, etc.), facilitators (industry organizations, regional organizations, government, etc.), and consumers (hospitals, long-term care homes, etc.)
  3. Exhibit a simple intuitive user-friendly interface with common experience across roles (allow for use in both official languages)
  4. Provide internet accessibility from anywhere in Canada using mobile devices, tablets, etc.
  5. Provide administration features such as authentication, curation, and subscription (i.e. to allow moderators to delete posts with incorrect/outdated information).
  6. Be fully accessible for individuals who may have learning, reading, perceptual, physical or visual disability that impacts their ability to read conventional digitally displayed materials.  
Phase 2
  1. Be expandable and scalable to include multiple public and private sector organizations and other independent platforms.
  2. Support multiple security modes: ability to limit access based on use, encryption, administrative control, etc.
  3. Include a user feedback mechanism to support iterative development
  4. Use machine-learning or artificial intelligence to automatically update content. The data should be accessible by both humans and computers. Machine-readable data are essential for data mining and analytics.
  5. Support automated tagging and sorting of responses to a challenge or request.
  6. Flag and track responses for curation/moderation/action by subject matter experts.
  7. Provide the ability for users to define their own categories of needs and capabilities with a flexible development
  8. Be interoperable with existing databases or networks with crucial information through the use of application programing interfaces (API)s.
  9. Provide the ability to forecast demand for specific healthcare materials such as:
    • Personal protective equipment
    • Medical devices and testing kits
    • Hand sanitizers
Note

Applicants are reminded that under Question 1a (Scope) proposals must describe how solutions clearly meet all 15 of the Essential (Mandatory) Outcomes listed in this section. Applicants should focus their Phase 1 project plan on demonstrating the feasibility of Essential Criteria 1-6. Applicants can focus on Essential Criteria 7 to 15 during Phase 2 work.

Additional outcomes

Not identified for this challenge.

Background and context

The response to COVID-19 has been incredible but overwhelming, with many hours spent searching for material and expertise, tracking requests and offers to help. For example, ISED and the NRC have received thousands of requests or inquiries regarding the COVID19 response. Government, industry, and service providers have leveraged their formal and informal networks to inform their actions and response.

Multiple coordination platforms have emerged through various organizations in the public, private, and academic sectors. Each are unique and address different needs. Some examples are given in the list below:

Platform Purpose Target Audience

https://covid19resources.ca/

Exchange of R&D materials

Academic and clinicians

https://www.rrpcanada.org/#/

Exchange of PPE

Industry and health care providers

https://technationportal.ca/

Industry response procurement

Industry and technology providers

https://cancovid.ca/

Network of R&D expertise

Academic and clinicians

There lacks a coordinated and uniform system that aggregates all of these platforms and provides a digital clearinghouse to match and there are none which are purpose built for local, national and global crisis management. This challenge is open to existing or new platforms that meet the above requirements.

Maximum grant value and travel

Multiple grants could result from this Challenge.

The maximum funding available for any Phase 1 Grant resulting from this Challenge is $300,000.00 CAD for up to 3 months.

Estimated number of Phase 1 grants: 2

The maximum funding available for any Phase 2 Grant resulting from this Challenge is $1,000,000.00 CAD for up to 12 months. Only eligible businesses that have completed Phase 1 could be considered for Phase 2.

Estimated number of Phase 2 grants: 1

This disclosure is made in good faith and does not commit Canada to award any grant for the total approximate funding. Final decisions on the number of Phase 1 and Phase 2 awards will be made by Canada on the basis of factors such as evaluation results, departmental priorities and availability of funds. Canada reserves the right to make partial awards and to negotiate project scope changes.

Travel

No anticipated travel is expected in light of COVID-19 restrictions. Communications and stakeholder engagement is expected to occur virtually.

Kick-off meeting

Ottawa, ON (virtual)

Progress review meeting(s)

Any progress review meetings will be conducted by videoconference or teleconference. 

Final review meeting

Ottawa, ON (virtual)

All other communication can take place by telephone, videoconference, and WebEx.

Eligibility

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 *

Evaluation criteria

The applicant must complete the Challenge Stream Electronic Submission Form with a degree of information sufficient to enable Canada's assessment of the proposal against the criteria and the Evaluation Schema. The information must demonstrate how the proposal meets the criterion.

Part 1: Mandatory Criteria

Proposals must meet all mandatory criteria identified by achieving a "Pass" in order to proceed to Part 2. Proposals that do not meet all mandatory criteria will be deemed non-responsive and given no further consideration.

Mandatory Criteria

(Applicant's proposal must address)

Question 1 a: Scope

Describe the proposed solution and demonstrate how it responds to the challenge. Include in your description the scientific and technological basis upon which the solution is proposed and clearly demonstrate how the solution meets all of the Essential (Mandatory) Outcomes (if identified) in the Desired Outcomes section in the Challenge Notice.

Evaluation Schema (Mandatory - Pass/Fail)

Pass

The Applicant's proposed solution is clearly articulated, within the scope for the challenge and addresses all Essential (Mandatory) Outcomes (if identified) in the Challenge Notice.

Fail

The proposed solution is articulated as out of scope for the challenge.
OR
The proposal does not clearly demonstrate how the proposed solution addresses all Essential Outcomes listed in the challenge.
OR
The proposed solution is poorly described and does not permit concrete analysis.
OR
There is little to no scientific and/or technological evidence that the proposed solution is likely to meet the challenge.

Question 2: Current Technology Readiness Level (TRL)
  • Indicate the current TRL of the proposed solution. (Drop Down Menu of the Challenge Stream Electronic Submission Form)
  • Describe the research and development activities that have taken place to bring the proposed solution to the stated TRL.
Evaluation Schema (Mandatory - Pass/Fail)

Pass: The Applicant has demonstrated that the proposed solution is currently between TRLs 1 and 6 (inclusive), and provided justification by explaining the research and development (R&D) that has taken place to bring the solution to the stated TRL.

Fail: The Applicant has not provided sufficient evidence to demonstrate that the current TRL is between 1 to 6 (inclusive) including:

  • There is insufficient/no evidence provided for TRL judgment.
  • The solution involves the development of basic or fundamental research.
  • The solution is demonstrated at TRL 7 or higher.
  • Insufficient/unclear/no justification explaining the R&D that took place to bring the solution to the stated TRL.
  • The explanation simply paraphrases the description of a given TRL level.
Question 3a: Innovation

Demonstrate how the proposed solution meets one or more of the ISC definitions of innovation below:

  • An inventionFootnote *, 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.
Evaluation Schema (Mandatory – Pass/Fail)

Pass:

The Applicant has demonstrated that the proposed solution meets one or more of the ISC definitions of innovation.

Fail:

  • Applicant has not provided sufficient evidence to demonstrate that the proposed solution meets any of the ISC definitions of innovation; OR
  • Applicant has demonstrated that the proposed solution is an incremental improvement, "good engineering", or a technology that would go ahead in the normal course of product development (i.e. the next version or release).
Question 3b: Advance on State of the Art

Describe in detail the competitive advantages and level of advancement over existing technologies. Where appropriate, name existing technologies as well as potential substitutes or competitors.

To demonstrate this, proposals should include the following information:

  • Improvements (minor or major) over existing technologies or substitutes. Use direct comparison.
  • How the proposed innovation will create competitive advantages in existing market niches or market spaces.
Evaluation Schema (Mandatory Criteria – Pass/Fail + Points)

0 points/Fail:

  • The Applicant has not demonstrated that the proposed solution advances the state-of-the-art over existing technologies, including available competing solutions; OR
  • The proposed solution improves minimally upon the current state of the art, though not sufficiently enough to create competitive advantages in existing market niches; OR
  • The stated advancements are described in general terms but are not substantiated with specific, measurable evidence.

5 points/Pass:

  • The Applicant has demonstrated that the proposed solution offers one or two minor improvements to existing technologies, including available competing solutions, that have potential to create competitive advantages in existing market niches.

12 points/Pass:

  • The Applicant has demonstrated that the proposed solution offers three or more minor improvements to existing technologies, including available competing solutions, that together are likely to create competitive advantages in existing market niches; OR
  • The Applicant has demonstrated that the proposed solution offers one significant improvement to existing technologies that is likely to create competitive advantages in existing market niches

20 points/Pass:

  • The Applicant has demonstrated that the proposed solution offers two or more significant improvements to existing technologies, including available competing solutions that are likely to create competitive advantages in existing market niches and could define new market spaces; OR
  • The Applicant has demonstrated that the proposed solution can be considered a new benchmark of state of the art that is clearly ahead of competitors and that is likely to define new market spaces

Part 2: Point-Rated Criteria

Proposals must meet the overall minimum pass mark of 50% to be deemed responsive. Proposals that do not achieve the minimum pass mark will be declared non-responsive and given no further consideration.

Point-Rated Criteria

(Applicant's proposal to address)

Question 1b: Scope

Demonstrate the scientific and technological basis of how the proposed solution addresses the Additional Outcomes (if identified) in the Desired Outcomes section in the Challenge Notice. If no Additional Outcomes are identified in the Challenge Notice, text entered in this section will not be considered.

If no Additional Outcomes are identified in the Challenge Notice, Applicants will receive 10 points.

Evaluation Schema (Point-Rated)
  1. Insufficient or no information provided to demonstrate that the solution will address any of the Additional Outcomes. 0 points
  2. Information provided clearly demonstrates that the solution will address some (<50%) of the Additional Outcomes. 3 points
  3. Information provided clearly demonstrates that the solution will address most (50% or more) of the Additional Outcomes. 6 points
  4. Information provided clearly demonstrates that the solution will address all (100%) of the Additional Outcomes. 10 points
Question 4: Phase 1 Science and Technology (S&T) Risks

Describe potential scientific and/or technological risks to the successful development of the proof of feasibility and how they will be mitigated in Phase 1.

Evaluation Schema (Point-Rated)
  1. Insufficient or no information provided to demonstrate that the Applicant has considered potential risks and mitigation strategies and/or information provided contains significant gaps. 0 points
  2. Information provided demonstrates that the Applicant has considered some potential risks and associated mitigation strategies but there are minor gaps in risks and/or associated mitigation strategies. 5 points
  3. Information provided clearly demonstrates that the Applicant has sufficiently considered the risks and defined associated mitigation strategies. 10 points
Question 5: Phase 1 Project Plan

Demonstrate a feasible Phase 1 project plan by completing the table.

  • Indicate if any milestones and activities will be completed concurrently
  • Indicate the estimated exit TRL at the completion of Phase 1. (Drop Down Menu of the Challenge Stream Electronic Submission Form)
Evaluation Schema (Point-Rated)
  1. Insufficient or no information provided to demonstrate a feasible project plan for Phase 1 and/or the project plan exceeds the maximum duration indicated in the Challenge Notice. 0 points
  2. Project plan for Phase 1 is conceivably feasible but not clearly demonstrated and/or includes gaps. 10 points
  3. Information provided clearly demonstrates a feasible project plan for Phase 1. 20 points
Question 6: Phase 1 Project Risks

Describe potential project risks to the successful development of the proof of feasibility and how they will be mitigated in Phase 1.

Applicants should address the following risks, as applicable:

  • Human Resources
  • Financial
  • Project Management
  • Intellectual Property
  • Other project-related risks

Note to Applicants: S&T risks should not be included in this section. Question 4 addresses S&T risks.

Evaluation Schema (Point-Rated)
  1. Insufficient or no information provided to demonstrate that the Applicant has considered potential risks and mitigation strategies and/or information provided contains significant gaps. 0 points
  2. Information provided demonstrates that the Applicant has considered some potential risks and associated mitigation strategies but there are minor gaps in risks and/or associated mitigation strategies. 5 points
  3. Information provided clearly demonstrates that the Applicant has sufficiently considered the risks and defined associated mitigation strategies. 10 points
Question 7: Phase 1 Implementation Team

Demonstrate how the project implementation team has the required management and technological skill sets and experience to deliver the project plan for Phase 1 by completing the table. A member of the implementation team can have more than one role.

Evaluation Schema (Point-Rated)
  1. Insufficient or no information provided to demonstrate that the project team has the required management and technological skill sets and experience to deliver the Phase 1 project plan. 0 points
  2. Information is provided but there are minor gaps in required management and/or technological skill sets and/or experience to deliver the Phase 1 project plan. 10 points
  3. Information provided clearly demonstrates that the project team has the required management and technological skill sets and experience to deliver the Phase 1 project plan. 20 points
Question 8: Inclusivity

If your business were to receive funding from Innovative Solutions Canada, describe what actions (e.g., recruitment strategy, internships, co-op placements, etc.) might be taken in Phase 1 to support the participation of under-represented groups (e.g., women, youth, persons with disabilities, Indigenous people, visible minorities) in the research and development of the proposed solution. Each Applicant in their response to this question must focus only on describing relevant programs, policies, or initiatives that it currently has in place or would put in place to support the R&D effort in Phase 1.

Note: Do not provide any personal information of individuals employed by your company or that of your subcontractors in the response.

Evaluation Schema (Point-Rated)
  1. No description and/or concrete examples of actions provided that would be taken to encourage greater participation of under-represented groups. 0 points
  2. A description and concrete examples of actions to encourage greater participation of under-represented groups provided.5 points
Question 9: Phase 1 Financial Proposal

Demonstrate a realistic financial proposal for the Phase 1 project plan by completing the table.

Evaluation Schema (Point-Rated)
  1. Insufficient information provided and/or information provided significantly lack credibility. Does not demonstrate a realistic financial proposal for the Phase 1 project plan. 0 points
  2. Information is provided but some costs lack credibility and/or are unclear for the Phase 1 project plan. 7.5 points
  3. Information provided contains credible elements to clearly demonstrate a realistic financial proposal for the Phase 1 project plan. 15 points
Question 10: Phase 1 Financial Controls, Tracking and Oversight

Describe the financial controls, tracking and oversight that will be used to manage the public funds throughout Phase 1. Applicants should indicate if an individual or firm will be managing the public funds and provide their credentials and/or relevant experience.

Evaluation Schema (Point-Rated)
  1. Insufficient or no information provided to demonstrate the Applicant's ability to manage public funds in Phase 1. 0 points
  2. Information provided is vague and/or contains gaps. The Applicant has some controls, tracking and/or oversight in place to manage the public funds in Phase 1. 5 points
  3. Information provided clearly demonstrates that the Applicant has strong financial controls, tracking and oversight to manage public funds in Phase 1. 10 points
Question 11: Phase 2 Overview

Demonstrate a realistic overview for the prototype development plan if selected to participate in Phase 2.

Responses should include:

  • key tasks
  • estimated cost for materials
  • human resources
  • project risks and mitigation strategies

Note: A more detailed proposal will be requested if selected to participate in Phase 2.

Evaluation Schema (Point-Rated)
  1. Insufficient or no information provided to demonstrate that the Applicant has contemplated a realistic overview for the Phase 2 prototype development. 0 points
  2. Information provided demonstrates a conceivably realistic overview for Phase 2 prototype development, however there are gaps and/or the strategy is vague. 6 points
  3. Information provided demonstrates that the Applicant has a clear and realistic overview. 12 points
Question 12: Commercialization Approach

Demonstrate a realistic overall commercialization approach/business model that can successfully take the technology/service to market, and how the technology/service will help you develop and sell other products.

Responses should include:

  • Target markets (excluding Government of Canada)
  • Non-ISC funding sources
  • Transition to a commercially-ready product or service
  • Any other indicators of commercial potential and commercial feasibility

Note: A more detailed proposal will be requested if selected to participate in Phase 2.

Evaluation Schema (Point-Rated)
  1. Insufficient or no information provided to demonstrate that the proposed solution has commercial potential. 0 points
  2. Some information provided to demonstrate that the proposed solution has commercial potential, however there are gaps in the commercialization approach. 6 points
  3. A realistic commercialization approach is provided that demonstrates that the proposed solution has commercial potential. 12 points
Question 13: Resulting Benefits to Canada

Describe the benefits that could result from the commercialization of the proposed solution. Applicants should consider the potential benefits using the following three categories and provide justification for each claim:

  • Innovation Benefits: Expected contribution towards the enhancement or development of new industrial or technological innovations within your firm. Responses could include: potential spillover benefits, creation of intellectual property, impact on productivity of the new technology, etc.
  • Economic Benefits: Forecasted impact on the growth of Canadian firms, clusters and supply chains, as well as its expected benefits for Canada's workforce. Responses could include: number of jobs created, number of high-paying jobs, investment in Canada's economy, etc.
  • Public Benefits: Expected contribution to the broader public to the degree that the solution is expected to generate social, environmental, health, security or other benefits to Canada. Responses could include: solution-related environmental benefits, solution-related accessibility benefits, and solution-related impact on Indigenous communities.
Evaluation Schema (Point-Rated)
  1. Innovation Benefits

    Benefit not identified or insufficient claim of benefit. 0 points

    Benefit has marginal increment or limited justification. 1 point

    Benefit is significant and well justified. 2 points

  2. Economic Benefits

    Benefit not identified or insufficient claim of benefit. 0 points

    Benefit has marginal increment or limited justification. 1 point

    Benefit is significant and well justified. 2 points

  3. Public Benefits.

    Benefit not identified or insufficient claim of benefit. 0 points

    Benefit has marginal increment or limited justification. 1 point

    Benefit is significant and well justified. 2 points

Questions and answers

All incoming questions regarding this specific challenge should be addressed to solutions@canada.ca.

All enquiries must be submitted in writing no later than 48 hours before the Challenge Notice closing date. Enquiries received after that time may not be answered.

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

glossary is also available.

Question regarding outcome #1: "Aggregate publicly available content such as a database of rea-time demand and consumption…". Do you expect a) just databases schema with the functionality to add/delete/search content or b) databases with full content? If your answer is b, how many records in the database are required?

We expect database schema with functionality and demonstration of a database. There is no hard amount, we would like to see a database with as many quality entries as possible given the timeframe. The size of the database will be a function of the data. For example, the number of bio-safety level 3 labs in Canada is less than 50 while the number of hand sanitizer or ethanol manufacturers could be in the thousands.

Is it expected that the platform will include cost per unit for each product by vendor, in addition to quantities available?

Cost per unit is not necessary for Phase 1, but could be included for Phase 2 in particular addressing essential (mandatory) outcome 13 which reads: "Provide the ability for users to define their own categories of needs and capabilities with a flexible development". Applicants are reminded that under Question 1a (Scope), proposals must describe how solutions clearly meet all 15 of the essential (mandatory) outcomes listed in this section. Applicants should focus their Phase 1 project plan on demonstrating the feasibility of essential criteria 1 to 6. Applicants can focus on Essential Criteria 7 to 15 during Phase 2 work, if selected to proceed to Phase 2.

Is the platform also expected to perform procurement, billing, and contract settlement functions i.e. will it comprise an e-commerce/payment gateway component which links with consumers' related systems (e.g. ERP) for issue of purchase orders, order fulfilment, quotes, etc.?

No, this is not meant to be a procurement e-commerce platform.

Can you please confirm if you are looking for a discussion forum to be built with respect to requirements 11 and 12, "Support automated tagging and sorting of responses to a challenge or request.'' and ''Flag and track responses for curation/moderation/action by subject matter experts."?

Yes, essential outcomes 11 and 12 refer to a discussion forum.

Can you please elaborate on what requirement 13 entails? "Provide the ability for users to define their own categories of needs and capabilities with a flexible development".

This refers to the ability for users to define categories similar to "tags" that could allow administrators or users to easily sort based on a category. An example could be – a long-term care facility (user) is requesting in-room digital monitoring technology (a solution) to help organize and flag residents who need immediate care. In the system no current category for "long-term care" exists – and the user can define "long-term care" into the system. The system could then check if "long-term care" or similar categories already exist, and if not, could log the request under "long-term care", which could then be populated by future users who are requesting services.

Under essential outcomes, it's mentioned that "Data sources must be reliable and be of sufficient quality for analysis". Is there an expectation that the nominators will bring their own data sources or can the data-sources be provided by the agency if the solution/innovation is selected?

The expectation is not that the proponents will bring their own data sources. The proponent should have the ability to source from publicly available data. The agency may provide data if the agency has access and rights to share that data, but it is expected that data be gathered from publicly available sources.

The Intellectual Property (IP) clauses mentions that the IP rights arising out of this will remain with Recipient but that the Crown may ask the Recipient to grant ownership of the IP. In what instances/scenarios does the Crown ask for these rights?

As the challenge is funded by a grant, the Innovative Solutions Canada Grant Instructions and Procedures apply in this instance, specifically Section 1.5 Intellectual Property (IP) which states: The default position of Canada is to allow funding recipients to retain the IP rights associated with their solutions.

Are there going to be any liability related clauses as well? We did not find any provisions/clauses about it on the portal and want to check if there is any document that we should refer to get more information about it.

A liability clause may be included in the text of the funding agreement for applicants that are considered for a Phase 1 (Proof of feasibility) award. To learn more about the Phase 1 award process, we invite you to read Part 4 - Evaluation procedures, proposal selection and grant award contained in the Innovative Solutions Canada Grant Instructions and Procedures..

It will be up to the challenge sponsoring department to determine the precise wording of a liability clause, however, below is an example of text that has been included in some previous Phase 1 funding agreements. This will provide you with a sense of what could be included.

Liability

Canada shall have no liability under this Agreement, except for payments of the Grant, in accordance with and subject to the provisions of this Agreement. Without limiting the generality of the foregoing, Canada shall not be liable for any direct, indirect, special or consequential damages, or damages for loss of revenues or profits of the Recipient, regardless of however arising, whether in contract, tort, fiduciary duty, statute or otherwise.

Her Majesty, her agents, employees and servants will not be held liable in the event the Recipient enters into a loan, a capital or operating lease or other long-term obligation in relation to the Project for which the Grant is provided.

What organization will be the overall administrator/curator of the solution? Is this a potential Government of Canada aggregation solution for crisis management or a private crisis management platform?

The organization performing the R&D during the project period is the administrator/curator of the solution. The intent is that the solution could be used by public or private sector organizations.

Has the government currently identified and have access to the public databases for aggregation? Or is it incumbent on the platform to identify and consolidate the data with or without integrated streams from all individual organizations?

The government has not identified the specific public databases for aggregation. It is incumbent on the platform to identify and consolidate the data.

After successful completion of Phase 2, are there any funds for a subsequent Phase 3 contract?

There are no funds reserved for funding after Phase 2.

Can funds be allocated to additional hires identified but not completed?

Phase 1 and Phase 2 awards can be used to hire additional employees.

Is "both official languages" a requirement for both the user of the platform, as well as the administrator of the platform?

Both official languages is a requirement for the administrator of the platform and for the platform itself. A user may post a request in either language.

Same question as above for #6 (disabilities).

The digital platform is expected to have accessibility features for those with disabilities on the user side.

For outcome 6 (disabilities): Is the expectation for WCAG? Are there specific levels of conformance that are required?

At this stage there are no specific levels of conformance required, but demonstration of WCAG would be viewed positively.

Are there specific data residency requirements?

At this stage there are not specific data residency requirements.

Are there any specific security or privacy requirements for phase 1?

There are no specific security or privacy requirements for Phase 1. Phase 1 is a proof of concept of the platform only.

Outcome 10 requests ML/AI - but no specifics to data that needs to be updated. Outcome 1 assumes raw data feeds which the system should not need to update. Is it safe to assume this question relates to Outcome 11?

The use of ML/AI applies to both outcome 1 and outcome 11 depending on the nature of the data. For example, a list of all biosafety laboratories may not need updating as raw data feeds. However, a database of subject matter experts (SMEs) would need updating as SMEs change their expertise and focus over time and this data is not necessarily readily available. The use of ML/AI is to improve the quality of data and to automatically update when gaps are present.

For Outcome 11. could you please provide clarification on what is meant by challenge/request?

A challenge or request could be specific to a user or administer posting a specific need. For example, a policy maker at Health Canada (user) posts a need such as "Expertise required to assess/develop alternative formulations for hand sanitizers with Canadian-sourced feedstocks".

Do you have specific data retention requirements?

It is expected that data be retained until the need or request has been met. Some data (such as database of labs) would be retained indefinitely and updated when necessary.

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