Research Security Requirements for Grant Applications

Principals, Deans, Academic Directors, and Chairs Professor, Faculty Members, Research or Financial Administrators, Researchers, Research Support Staff, HQPs, Lab Technicians, Research Assistants

Overview

The Research Security Department supports researchers in two ways throughout the grant application process. The goal is to support a smooth and successful grant review. 

  1. Pre-Application: The Research Security Coordinator provides workshops and trainings on how to abide by the National Security Guidelines for Research Partnerships (NSGRP). The Principal Investigator conducts the due diligence on the external research partners, and in cases where this process reveals information that needs to be escalated, the Research Security Department  replicates the type of analysis granting agencies may conduct to mitigate potential concerns. Should concerns be identified, the Research Security Department will provide advice to the researcher on how to address them prior to submission. We also support researchers who require assistance in understanding the STRAC policy (see below). 
  2. Post-Application: The Research Security Department also assists researchers after an application has been submitted to a granting agency in extreme cases when the granting agency identifies any research security concerns that require information prior to rendering a funding decision.

Applicants should note internal deadlines for grant applications and allow sufficient time for a research security review, if required. The Research Security Department does not guarantee that applications submitted on short notice will be reviewed prior to submission to the granting agency. Principal Investigators are required to be proactive with their due diligence process.


Sensitive Technology Research and Affiliations of Concern (STRAC) Policy - Federal

Although the new STRAC policy is distinct, it is complementary to the National Security Guidelines for Research Partnerships (NSGRP) process below. 

It may also be applicable to Ontario Research Fund (ORF) applications that are jointly funded by the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) once STRAC is in effect.

  • For research that does not advance the listed Sensitive Technology Research Area, researchers will simply need to check a box on their grant application and are not required to provide anything further, such as an attestation.
  • If the research advances a listed STRA, all researchers with a named role on a grant application are required to submit an attestation stating that they are not affiliated with, or in receipt of funding or in-kind support, from a Named Research Organization.
  • In the event that there is an alleged affiliation that is flagged by the Government of Canada, it may invoke an allegation of misrepresentation in an agency application or related document as per the Tri-Agency Framework: Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR).
  • Following the RCR process, the researcher’s institution will be responsible for conducting an inquiry and (if warranted) an investigation of the allegation. 

National Security Guidelines for Research Partnerships (NSGRP) - Federal

At present, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) Alliance applicants who are working with a private sector partner are required to submit The National Security Guidelines for Research Partnerships’ Risk Assessment Form  with their funding applications. It is expected that similar risk assessment processes will be applied to other Tri-Agency (Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHR), Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), NSERC) and CFI funding application processes in the future. 

For example, CFI announced that it will be applying the National Security Guidelines for Research Partnerships  to the 2023 Innovation Fund and will require the risk assessment form to be completed prior to funding being awarded. 

When granting agencies conduct national security reviews, they will analyze all partners and all listed individuals identified on the application. Likewise, when conducting bibliometric reviews, granting agencies may consider all co-authors on a paper. 

If the applicable granting agency determines that additional information is required to address research security concerns, the agency will contact the researcher directly. Researchers can request Research Security Department assistance with this process via the Contact listed on this page. 

Please be advised that, starting immediately, NSERC will be considering the Sensitive Technology Research Areas  and Named Research Organizations  associated with the STRAC policy as factors, among others, in their NSGRP review process.


Mitigating Economic and/or Geopolitical Risk (MEGR) – Provincial

In Ontario, applicants are required to complete the  Mitigating Economic and Geopolitical Risk Checklist for Ontario Research Fund Applications checklist related to research security for funding programs delivered through the Ministry of Colleges and Universities (MCU). These include Ontario Research Fund (ORF) programs: Large/Small Research Infrastructure (CFI matching) and Research Excellence (research operating grants).

The required checklist asks researchers to provide context regarding collaborations with partners. The Provincial government will then assess the checklist for concerns from a research security perspective.  While the government analyzes all listed partners and individuals on an application, it does not provide a publicly available list of partners of concern. The provincial government’s attestation process normally includes collaborations going back approximately two years to ensure that they are no longer active. Researchers requiring assistance in completing the risk checklist should contact the Research Security Department.

Prior to rendering a funding decision, the government will provide institutions the opportunity to address identified research security concerns by providing additional context or mitigation strategies. This information is provided through an official attestation document. The Research Security Department will work with individual researchers and their academic unit/Division to complete these attestations. The Office of the Vice-President, Research & Innovation will submit them to the government for assessment.  Attestations will be project- and researcher-specific, and signed by the researcher, the Executive Director, and the Vice-President, Research and Innovation.


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