Technology Readiness Levels

Technology Readiness Levels (TRLs) are a measure to evaluate the maturity of an evolving Innovation. This scale, developed to assist in evaluating the maturity of goods and/or services for the Build in Canada Innovation Program (BCIP), evaluates all goods and/or services broadly while recognizing that not all development cycles are the same. This is not a linear process and many goods and/or services may skip or quickly address certain stages of readiness.

In order to be eligible for BCIP, innovations must score a TRL that is at 7, 8 or 9. Businesses that do not fall into the stages applicable to the BCIP may consult for grants and contributions and more information on programs that are applicable to their appropriate TRL. Additionally, the National Research Council’s Concierge Services offer a database of innovation resources with one-on-one guidance and customized service from expert advisors.

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Technology Readiness Levels

Level 9: Actual technology proven through successful deployment in an operational setting. At this level there is actual application of the technology in its final form and under real-life conditions, such as those encountered in operational test and evaluations. Activities include using the innovation under operational conditions.

Level 8: Actual technology completed and qualified through tests and demonstrations. At this level the technology has been proven to work in its final form and under expected conditions. Activities include developmental testing and evaluation of whether it will meet operational requirements.

Level 7: Prototype ready for demonstration in an appropriate operational environment. At this level the prototype should be at planned operational level and is ready for demonstration of an actual prototype in an operational environment. Activities include prototype field testing.

Levels 1 through 6 are provided below to assist companies in determining the maturity of their proposed innovation, as defined under the BCIP:

Level 6: System/subsystem model or prototype demonstration in a simulated environment. At this level a model or prototype is developed that represents a near desired configuration. Activities include testing in a simulated operational environment or laboratory.

Level 5: Component and/or validation in a simulated environment. At this level the basic technological components are integrated for testing in a simulated environment. Activities include laboratory integration of components.

Level 4: Component and/or validation in a laboratory environment. At this level basic technological components are integrated to establish that they will work together. Activities include integration of "ad hoc" hardware in the laboratory.

Level 3: Analytical and experimental critical function and/or proof of concept. At this level active research and development is initiated. Activities might include components that are not yet integrated or representative.

Level 2: Technology concept and/or application formulated. At this level invention begins. Once the basic principles are observed, practical applications can be invented. Activities are limited to analytical studies.

Level 1: Basic principles of concept are observed and reported. At this level scientific research begins to translated into applied research and development. Activities might include paper studies of a technology's basic properties.