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Research security

The University of Victoria benefits greatly from research partnerships of all types. These partnerships allow our faculty members and researchers to advance their research and help solve worldwide issues through collaboration and innovation. Some research partnerships may have risks associated with them, and it is important for faculty members and researchers to understand and mitigate these potential risks. UVic is country-agnostic and will uphold principles of research security to ensure and maintain academic freedom and access to global talent. 

Research Security Unit (RSU)

We have established a Research Security Unit (RSU) at UVic that serves to protect our intellectual property and infrastructure, promote awareness of and provide education in research security, and help foster domestic and international partnerships. The RSU can help with:

  • Review of all security applications associated with Tri-Council funding
  • Review of Sponsored Research Agreements involving foreign partners
  • Host workshops and provide training on research security
  • Provide assistance in partnership assessments for faculty
  • Provide research security travel tips

Latest news

January 16, 2024: The Government of Canada announced the new Policy on Sensitive Technology Research and Affiliations of Concern (STRAC) to protect Canada’s research while keeping its research ecosystem as open and collaborative as possible. Briefly, for any grant application from a university that aims to advance a sensitive technology research area, research team members involved in the activities supported by the grant must not be affiliated with, or in receipt of funding or in-kind support, from a university, research institution, or laboratory connected to military, national defence, or state security entities that could pose a risk to Canada’s national security. For such applications, applicants will also be required to attest to their compliance with the policy. This new policy comes into effect by May 1, 2024. More details here: FAQ for the new Policy on STRAC

February 14, 2023: The Federal Government issued a statement which indicated that CFI, SSHRC, NSERC and CIHR will be implementing new measures to ensure that grant applications proposing to conduct research in sensitive areas will not be funded if any of the researchers working on the project are affiliated with a university, research institute or laboratory connected to military, national defence or state security entities of foreign state actors that pose a risk to our national security. Read more: Statement from Minister Champagne, Minister Duclos and Minister Mendicino on protecting Canada's research

Know your partner

It is paramount to build research partnerships with trusted partner organizations. Due diligence analysis is a great first step when exploring any research partnership opportunity. The published Open Source Due Diligence Guide and the Risk Assessment Form are useful tools when conducting due diligence on potential research partners. For example, one may check for the existence of the company, its corporate structure, foreign ownership, partnerships and joint ventures, history of IP disputes and illegal activities, and relevant sanctions. When potential risks are identified during due diligence exercise, one will be able to define the risk mitigation strategies applicable to the partnership. Some open sources worth checking include free databases, subscription databases, corporate websites, news releases, court records, SEC filings and social media posts.

Some helpful databases include:

FAQ

Sensitive technology research areas are areas of research identified on the list of sensitive technology research areas. Such list consists of advanced and emerging technologies that are important to Canadian research and development, but may also be of interest to foreign state, state-sponsored, and non-state actors seeking to misappropriate Canada’s technological advantages to our detriment. These technologies can be sensitive or sometimes can be referred to as dual-use as they may have military, intelligence, or dual military/civilian applications. For more details, please check Annex A (Sensitive research areas) of the National Security Guidelines for Research Partnerships.

Affiliation means any organizations at which an individual (e.g. a researcher) is employed, appointed or conducts research. In the context of the new Policy on STRAC, the current affiliation of researchers will be considered at the time of the grant application and for the duration of the grant. In cases where individuals hold multiple affiliations, all must be identified and considered when ensuring compliance to this policy.

 

  1. Researchers are encouraged to conduct due diligence on potential research partners before pursuing any research partnership opportunity. The guidance from the Government of Canada on conducting open-source due diligence is useful in this regard. The Risk Assessment Form and available open-source intelligence (OSINT) tools, such as free databases, are useful when conducting due diligence analysis. The RSU can also support researchers in conducting due diligence, especially when the research project involves leveraging a federal research funding program (e.g. NSERC Alliance) and/or international research partnership.

  2. Researchers are also encouraged to take the Research Security Training Courses designed by the Government to better equip Canadian researchers with the knowledge and resources to protect their research. Completing these self-paced online courses could also serve as one of the risk mitigation strategies that can be cited in the Risk Assessment Form when submitting grant applications.

  3. Researchers will benefit from attending workshops, webinars and conferences aimed at raising awareness on research security. From time to time, the RSU will share information on these kinds of events to the UVic research community.

The Risk Assessment Form is required by certain federal funding programs as part of the implementation of the National Security Guidelines for Research Partnerships. Typically, funding applications on research projects involving partnership with organizations from the private sector will require a completed Risk Assessment Form. For further clarification, please consult the specific requirements of the funding program being pursued. 

An Attestation Form is required when applying for federal funding from applicable programs of NSERC, CIHR, SSHRC and CFI on projects that aim to advance any of the listed Sensitive Technology Research Areas. Only researchers with named roles in the grant application (e.g. applicant, co-applicant and collaborator) will need to individually complete the Attestation Form to confirm that they do not have an active affiliation nor receive funding or in-kind support from any entity on Canada's list of Named Research Organizations (NRO). The lead applicant will compile all signed Attestation Forms for submission to the funding agency. 

Consult the following websites to learn more about the funding programs covered by these policies.

Canada continues to welcome students coming to Canada on a CSC program. Irrespective of the scholarship, when hosting candidates, Canadian institutions are advised to continue to do their due diligence, particularly when sensitive research is involved.

It is a great practice for UVic faculty to have an open dialogue with interested visiting scholars regarding their affiliations before hosting them to teach, study or conduct research at UVic. This open dialogue aims to foster trust, transparency and the spirit of academic collaboration. To mitigate potential immigration issues, it is also recommended that visiting scholars conduct self-assessment prior to travelling to Canada by evaluating their affiliations with universities and research institutions, and cross-referencing those active affiliations with Canada’s List of Named Research Organizations (NRO).

More FAQs on NSGRP

More FAQs on STRAC

Events/webinars

Upcoming events

What: Canada's Export Controls and Implications to Academic Research

When: April 15th, 11:00am - 12:00pm PDT

Where: Virtual (Teams link to be provided by the host upon registration)

Speakers:

  • Marcus Tsao, Senior Policy Analyst, Export Controls Policy Division, Global Affairs Canada
  • Serge Stang, Senior Policy Officer, Export Controls Operations Division, Global Affairs Canada
  • Ryan Petrusenko, Technical Officer, Export Controls Policy Division, Global Affairs Canada

RSVP by April 8th to researchsecurity@uvic.ca 


What: Safeguarding Science Workshop (Module 1)

When: Select one from the following sessions

  • May 2nd, 10:00am to 11:30am PST
  • May 14th, 10:00am to 11:30am PST

Where: Virtual (Teams link to be provided by the host upon registration)

Host: The Research Security Centre, Public Safety Canada

Contact researchsecurity@uvic.ca to obtain the registration link


What: Dual-Use Technologies: Know Your Research – Know your Partners - Assess the Risk (Safeguarding Science Module 2)

When: Select one from the following sessions

  • May 17th, 10:00am to 11:00am PST
  • June 11th, 10:00am to 11:00am PST

Where: Virtual (Teams link to be provided by the host upon registration)

Host: The Research Security Centre, Public Safety Canada

Contact researchsecurity@uvic.ca to obtain the registration link


What: Demystifying the International Student Immigration Process (Safeguarding Science Module 3

When: Select one from the following sessions

  • May 21st, 10:00am to 11:00am PST
  • June 18th, 10:00am to 11:00am PST

Where: Virtual (Teams link to be provided by the host upon registration)

Host: The Research Security Centre, Public Safety Canada

Contact researchsecurity@uvic.ca to obtain the registration link


 What: Know before you Export: Canada’s Export and Brokering Controls (Safeguarding Science Module 4)

When: Select one from the following sessions

  • May 24th, 10:00am to 11:00am PST
  • June 6th, 10:00am to 11:00am PST

Where: Virtual (Teams link to be provided by the host upon registration)

Host: The Research Security Centre, Public Safety Canada

Contact researchsecurity@uvic.ca to obtain the registration link

 

What: Safeguarding Science Workshop (Module 1)

When: Select one from the following sessions

  • February 12, 2024 @ 9:30AM - 11:00AM PST (English)
  • 13 février 2024 @ 10:30AM - 12:00PM HNP (Français)
  • February 14, 2024 @ 10:00AM - 11:30AM PST (English)
  • February 15, 2024 @ 10:00AM - 11:30AM PST (English)
  • 19 février 2024 @ 8:00AM - 9:30AM HNP (Français)
  • February 20, 2024 @ 1:00PM - 2:30PM PST (English)
  • February 21, 2024 @ 6:30AM - 8:00AM PST (English)
  • 22 février 2024 @ 8:00AM - 9:30AM HNP (Français)
  • 28 février 2024 @ 10:30AM - 12:00PM HNP (Français)
  • February 29, 2024 @ 10:30AM - 12:00PM PST (English)

Where: Virtual (Teams link to be provided by the host upon registration)

Host: The Research Security Centre, Public Safety Canada

Contact researchsecurity@uvic.ca to obtain the registration link


What: Cybersecurity for Researchers: Research Data Management and Storage

When: January 29, 2024 at 3:00PM to 4:30PM PST

Where: Hybrid - ECS Room 660 (in-person attendees) and Teams (virtual attendees; link to be provided upon RSVP)

Speakers: Ryan McRonald, UVic Research Computing Services 
                   Dr. Sarah Huber, UVic Research Computing Services 
                   Shahira Khair, UVic Libraries

RSVP by January 22nd to researchsecurity@uvic.ca 


What: The China Science, Technology, and Innovation Checklist: Best Practices for Canadian Innovators (Workshop for Startups)

When: January 25, 2024 at 4:00PM to 5:30PM PST

Where: Virtual (Teams link to be provided to participants upon RSVP)

Speakers: Mr. Matthew Pal, Consulate General of 
Canada in Guangzhou
                   Mr. Anthony Finch, Consulate General of Canada in Guangzhou

RSVP by January 18th to researchsecurity@uvic.ca


What: Safeguarding Science

When: November 9, 2023 at 10:00 - 11:30AM PST

Where: Virtual (Teams link to be provided to participants upon RSVP)

Speaker: Mr. Nigel Fitch, Research Security Centre, Public Safety Canada

RSVP by November 3rd to engr.ilo@uvic.ca 


What: Overview of the Research Security Centre

When: June 27, 2023 at 10:00AM PST

Where: Engineering & Computer Science (ECS) Room 660

Speaker: Public Safety Canada

RSVP by June 23rd to researchsecurity@uvic.ca 

Contact us

Email: researchsecurity@uvic.ca