Canadian Space Agency

Deep Space Healthcare Challenge

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The Challenge

1. Overview

Remote communities and deep space astronauts face many of the same challenges when it comes to healthcare:

  • Limited access to specialists or specialized tools
  • Delayed or unreliable communications
  • Few options for the re-stocking of supplies
  • Limits on physical space, resources, and personnel time

While increased connectivity in Canada’s remote communities has helped address some of these issues, the ability to better detect medical concerns early – and to properly diagnose them within the community – is still required.

Practitioners in remote communities and crews on long-duration space flights are in need of tools that give them the autonomy to detect and diagnose medical conditions quickly and efficiently. They need solutions that help them identify concerns early, and they need diagnostics that empower them to make decisions that lead to effective treatment plans and the best patient outcomes.

The Canadian Space Agency – along with supporting partners at Indigenous Services Canada and the CAN Health Network – are looking for innovators to help provide this autonomy with new ideas, or by adapting an existing technology.

2. The Challenge Statement

The Canadian Space Agency is challenging innovators to develop novel diagnostic and detection solutions that can support frontline health workers in detecting or diagnosing medical conditions in remote communities now, and eventually crews on long-duration space missions.

3. Assessment Criteria

In order for a proposed solution to be fully assessed, it must satisfy the following preliminary conditions:

  • Relevance to Canadians: The solution supports the detection or diagnosis of a medical condition of importance to remote Canadian communities.
  • Relevance to Space: The solution has the potential to support the detection or diagnosis of a medical condition of importance to deep space travel.
  • Adaptation for Space: The solution has the potential to be adapted to meet the unique constraints of space flight.

If the above conditions are met, the following criteria will be used to assess an application:

  • Effectiveness: Does the solution detect or diagnose medical conditions accurately?
  • Autonomy: Does the solution increase the autonomy of the remote healthcare provider by producing actionable information in low-connectivity environments?
  • Innovation: Does the solution introduce new ideas or methods, and/or open new opportunities in the remote healthcare sector?
  • Ease-of-Use: Does the solution allow generalist, non-physician practitioners to access information at the point-of-care? Is the technology able to be used with minimal operational training?
  • Solution Adoption Potential: Is there a plan in place for future technology adoption that accounts for limitations, requirements, and conditions for success of the solution?
  • Context Sensitivity: Does the innovator show an understanding of the unique challenges and physical constraints experienced in remote communities?
  • Reliability: Does the design show resistance to rough handling or transport and to power/data interruptions? Are the time and skill requirements for ongoing maintenance minimal, or can this be be done remotely?

For detailed information on the assessment criteria, please see the Applicant Guide.

4. Key Dates for the Challenge

  • Stage 1: Concept Design – Challenge is launched, and application intake runs until February 1, 2022. Up to 20 Canadian Semi-Finalists with the most promising Concept Report will receive $30,000 each in Spring 2022 and move on to Stage 2.
  • Stage 2: Proof-of-Concept – Beginning in Spring 2022, Semi-Finalists will build or modify a proof-of-concept that can generate data in a lab environment. Preliminary data and an in-depth description of the progress will be submitted for evaluation. Up to five Semi-Finalists with the best scores from Stage 2 will receive $350,000 each in Spring 2023 and will move on to become Stage 3 Finalists.
  • Stage 3: Prototype Demonstration – Finalists at this stage will build a prototype that will be tested at a demonstration site with the Canadian Space Agency in Fall 2023. One Finalist with the most impressive results from Stage 3 will receive $500,000 in early 2024 and become the Grand Prize Winner for The Deep Space Healthcare Challenge.

Note: The number of winners and the 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.

5. Who Can Apply to the Challenge

The Deep Space Healthcare Challenge is open to applications from all Canadians. Specifically, you can apply if you are a:

  • Business or other for-profit organization in Canada
  • Not-for-profit organization in Canada
  • Indigenous organization or group located in Canada
  • Post-secondary/academic institution located in Canada

Individual or group of individuals based in Canada Individuals or groups of individuals are encouraged to submit an application to the Challenge, but in order to be eligible to receive prizes, they will be required to establish a legal entity (such as a corporation or a not-for-profit organization) capable of entering into binding agreements in Canada.

Please review the Applicant Guide in detail to confirm your eligibility before preparing and submitting your concept application.

Challenge details

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.

Key Dates

  • 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