Innovations for Defence Excellence (iDEX) is a framework promulgated by Department of Defence Production, Ministry of Defence and launched by the Hon’ble PM in April 2018. iDEX aims to achieve self - reliance and foster innovation and technology development in Defence and Aerospace by engaging Industries including MSMEs, start-ups, individual innovators, R&D institutes and academia.

  1. To create 'corporate Venture Capital’ models for Indian Defence needs, which would identify emerging technologies, connect innovators to military units, facilitate co-creation of new and appropriate technologies, and create pathways for incorporation of cutting edge technologies into weapon systems used by Armed Services. 
  2. To transform defence innovation in India with the ultimate goal of delivering military-grade products that solve the critical needs of the Indian defence set-up by developing or applying advanced technologies.
  3. To create a culture of innovation in Indian defence & Aerospace by engaging startups and innovators through encouraging co-creation & co innovation.

Defence Innovation Organisation (DIO), a not for profit Organisation, incorporated under Section 8 of the Companies Act by two founder members i.e., HAL & BEL. iDEX framework is being implemented by DIO.

iDEX-DIO has launches of Defence India Startup Challenge (DISC) with problem statements from Armed Forces, DPSUs & OFB. After rigorous evaluation of the applications winners are identified. Winner start-ups/ individuals receive innovation grants in technological areas through the Prototype funding guidelines called “Support for Prototype and Research Kickstart” (SPARK), which entail provisioning of grants upto Rs 1.5 crore to the Startups on the basis of milestones through multiple tranches, for prototype development. 

In order to curate the open innovation the following steps are taken up by the iDEX Program Management Unit. 

01. Challenge curation - Organizing various challenges / hackathons to shortlist potential technologies for defense and aerospace application. 

02. Outreach -Outreach and sourcing of innovations 

03. HPSC Screening & Selection -Evaluate technologies and products in terms of their utility and impact on the Indian defense and aerospace setup. 

04. Spark grants appraisal & contracts -Enable and fund pilots, using innovation funds dedicated to the purpose. 

05. Product co-development -Interface with the military (Army/Navy/Airforce) top brass about key innovative technologies & encourage their adoption with suitable assistance. 

06. Product acceptance & certification Facilitate scale-up indigenization and integration in manufacturing facilities for successful piloted technologies.

Upto max Rs 1.5 crore.

Applicants are required to apply for challenges launched under DISC and https://idex.gov.in/challenge-categories and fill in the application over the mentioned link. The major info sought in application is:

  • Full Details of a Single Point of Contact for the applying entity. We encourage that this person be a core member of the applicant entity (Startup/MSME).
  • Entity Details – the details of the Startup/MSME applying. Individuals Innovators do not have to fill these.
  • Proposal Details – the details of the proposal in response to the iDEX Challenge problem statements/focus areas. Applicants must select the problem statement they are addressing, what level of funding they want, give technical and financial details of their proposal. This includes the information of relevant patents and research papers by the applicant, if any as well as a tentative business plan.

  1. Start-ups, as defined and recognized by Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP), Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Government of India.
  2. Any Indian company incorporated under the Companies Act 1956/2013, primarily a Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) as defined in the MSME Act, 2006.
  3. Individual innovators are also encouraged to apply (research & academic institutions can use this category to apply).

The applications will be screened by a duly constituted high-powered selection committee comprising of defence and technology experts for the purpose of selection of iDEX Challenge winners.

The DISC winners will be funded up to the max ceiling of Rs 1.5 crores (depending upon the costing of the project and matching contribution) in the form of equity/other relevant structures. The funds will be disbursed in tranches based on the milestones decided by a high-powered selection committee.

Apart from the fund, selected applicants may also be given entry to accelerator programs run by iDEX partners, where they will be supported in technology and business development through mentorship under the innovation and entrepreneurship experts. The selected applicants may also be supported in terms of access to defence testing facilities and experts for their product/technology development.

The program focuses on facilitation for creating of prototypes and bringing of products/technologies to market (Defence or otherwise), applicants will be encouraged to spend on:

  • Research & Development
  • Prototyping
  • Pilot Implementation
  • Market Assessment

No, there is no such limit. Any number of potential candidate can selected under the iDEX challenges.