Canada’s researchers are world leaders and their world-class research is made possible by collaborative domestic and international partnerships between other researchers, the private sector, and research institutions. While our government remains strongly committed to preserving a collaborative and open approach to science and discovery, we are taking action to protect Canadian research and intellectual property against foreign interference, espionage, and theft.
This week, Ministers Champagne, Blair, and Hajdu released new National Security Guidelines for Research Partnerships, developed in collaboration with the Government of Canada-Universities Working Group. These new guidelines will integrate national security considerations into the development, evaluation, and funding of research partnerships.
These new guidelines add to the tools all researchers can consult, in addition to the Safeguarding Your Research portal. Researchers, research organizations, and government all have a role to play in ensuring that Canadian research, knowledge, and intellectual property are protected while continuing to advance the discoveries necessary for Canada to remain a global research and innovation leader.
- The federal granting councils (NSERC, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, Canadian Institutes of Health Research) and the Canada Foundation for Innovation administer research grants through independent peer review processes.
- Safeguarding Science sessions and workshops was launched in 2016 to raise awareness within Canada’s scientific and academic communities of the risks of chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear threat proliferation; the potential for the proliferation of dual-use technology; cybersecurity; and best practices for maintaining a security-conscious research organization.
- The Government of Canada–University Working Group was established in 2018 with a mandate to collaboratively identify, share and promote best practices to minimize security risks, while protecting Canadian research data and intellectual property.
- The Safeguarding Your Research portal, launched in September 2020, provides information to the Canadian research community on how to safeguard their research and innovations.
- In September 2020, the government released a Policy Statement on Research Security and COVID-19 calling on organizations, in particular those involved in COVID-19 research, to remain vigilant and alert to potential threats to research security.
- In March 2021, the government issued a follow-up Research Security Policy Statement – Spring 2021 encouraging all members of the research community to take extra precautions to protect the security of their research, intellectual property, and knowledge development and asking the Government of Canada-Universities Working Group to develop specific risk guidelines to integrate national security considerations into the evaluation and funding of research partnerships.