Canadian Space Agency
Deep Space Healthcare ChallengeBack to all challenges
Supporting the healthcare needs of remote communities – both in space and on earth
Keeping astronauts healthy in space is a challenging problem – one that is bound to become more complex as we explore farther away from Earth! The current healthcare system for astronauts is Earth-reliant, with physicians on hand for real-time consultation, resupply trips arriving regularly, and emergency evacuation an ever-present backup. On a trip to Mars however, these systems disappear.
If humans are to go to Mars in the 2030s, we need to find thoughtful solutions that enable them to stay healthy without external support.
Though we may have several years to solve this problem for astronauts, medically-isolated populations including Canadians living in remote communities need these solutions now. These populations experience many of the same barriers found in space, including communication delays and a lack of access to diagnostic tools and specialists. This contributes to uneven access to a range of healthcare supports, and to poor outcomes for the populations affected. Every year, thousands of Canadians need to leave their communities for extended periods to access care that most of us take for granted.
If we can help to identify and develop ideas and solutions that allow practitioners in remote settings to detect and diagnose medical conditions within their communities, we can make an impact in the lives of Canadians today, while setting the stage for deep space missions in the future.
The Canadian Space Agency (CSA) is challenging innovators to develop novel diagnostic and detection solutions to support frontline health workers in detecting and diagnosing medical conditions in remote communities now, and eventually crews on long-duration space missions.
- Stage 1: Concept – Teams will design a novel detection or diagnostic technology concept, and provide a detailed explanation of how it meets the Challenge goals. The top submissions will be selected to move on to Stage 2.
- Stage 2: Proof-of-concept – Semi-finalists selected from Stage 1 will develop a proof-of-concept that they will independently test in a lab environment. Semi-finalists will submit data from their lab tests for evaluation at the end of this Stage. Those who are successful in this stage will move on as Finalists in Stage 3.
- Stage 3: Prototype Demonstration – Finalists in Stage 3 will refine their designs, with the ultimate goal of testing their prototype in a simulated environment established by the CSA. The top design will be selected as the Grand Prize Winner for the Deep Space Healthcare Challenge.
Who Can Apply to the Challenge?
Do you have a new idea that could help remote care practitioners? Or do you have an existing technology that could be adapted? All current or aspiring Canadian innovators are encouraged to apply!
Please see the Applicant Guide for more eligibility details.
In developing the Challenge, the Canadian Space Agency has received support from both Indigenous Services Canada (ISC), and the CAN Health Network, who bring a deep understanding of the needs of remote communities, and of innovation in the integrated market for healthcare in Canada, respectively. Both organizations will also be providing support for Challenge participants in Stages 2 and 3.
Up to 20 Prizes of $30,000
Open to all eligible innovators submitting a Stage 1 concept application.
Up to 5 Prizes of $350,000
Open to all Semi-Finalists participating in Stage 2.
Grand Prize of $500,000
Open to all Finalists participating in Stage 3.
Note: The number of winners and the prize amounts may vary depending on the number of applications received. For each stage, prize amounts will not be less than the amounts indicated above.
Who can apply?
- Businesses or other for-profit organizations incorporated in Canada;
- Not-for-profit organizations registered in Canada;
- Indigenous organizations and groups located in Canada;
- Post-secondary/academic institutions located in Canada; and
- Individuals or groups of individuals located in Canada.
Individuals or groups of individuals are encouraged to submit an application, but will be required to establish a Canadian legal entity in order to be eligible to receive prizes.
- Up to 20 prizes of $30,000 open to all eligible innovators submitting a Stage 1 concept application
- Up to 5 Prizes of $350,000 open to all Semi-Finalists participating in Stage 2
- Grand Prize of $500,000 open to all Finalists participating in Stage 3
Note: The number of winners and prize amounts may vary depending on the applications received. For each stage, prize amounts will not be less than the amount per winner indicated above.
- Stage 1 – Design Report Deadline: February 1, 2022
- Up to 20 Semi-Finalists Announced: April 2022
- Stage 2 – Proof-of-concept Deadline: January 2023
- Up to 5 Finalists Announced: April 2023
- Stage 3 – Prototype Demonstration Deadline: Fall 2023
- Grand Prize Winner Announced: Spring 2024