Minimize Risk When Establishing Partnerships

Deans, Associate Dean(s) of Research, Principals Investigators, Researchers, and Research Support Staff


External partners (e.g., any industry/sponsors or other academic institutions and their affiliated researchers and staff) can play an important role in facilitating research initiatives at UWindsor. When researchers and staff are initially considering working with an external partner, the guidance and questions below can help determine whether the partnership is likely to be safe.

Due Diligence

Researchers are required to have open discussions with potential partners and conduct open-source due diligence checks to identify possible concerns. ‘Open-source due diligence checks’ consist of finding, organizing and analyzing publicly available information – usually from the Internet – in support of important decisions.

For more information and training on how to conduct open-source due diligence, please see the Government of Canada’s resources Open Source Due Diligence for Safeguarding Research Partnerships & Safeguarding Research Partnerships with Open Source Due Diligence Training Course

For assistance after you have conducted due diligence, please contact the Research Security Department, with the full name(s) of potential collaborators and their affiliated institutions (including departments) or organizations.

In addition to the questions below, researchers may want to consider the questions found in the Government of Canada’s resource Safeguarding Your Research Checklist and review other resources for assessing risk on the Safeguarding Your Research website.

Know your Partner

  • Faculty members should have a thorough understanding of the organization with which they desire to collaborate, including its governance structure, whether it is private or public, and any ramifications these organizational characteristics may have.
  • Faculty members should think about how this relationship will benefit their own work and UWindsor, as well as how they will benefit the partner.
  • Faculty members should assess the dangers to the UWindsor, national interests, national security, intellectual property, reputation, and human rights while collaborating.
  • Faculty members should keep in mind that in some places and nations, there is no separation between civil and military use applications, such as incorporating healthcare robotics research and underlying technology into military applications.

Guiding Questions

Note: The intent of the guiding questions below is to support deliberation in the decision-making process and to help self-identify risks. It is the PIs responsibility to conduct this due-diligence in the beginning of their research project.

  • Does this involve research in a Sensitive Technology Research Area (STRA)  or collaborators who have affiliations with Named Research Organization (NRO)?
  • What does the potential partner intend to do with the proposed research in the future?
  • Is the potential partner on any restricted entity or sanctions lists, either by the Consolidated Canadian Autonomous Sanctions List (, Sanctions Explorer or by the government of any other country with whom a researcher / UWindsor may seek future collaboration?
  • Could engaging with the potential partner limit future engagement with other international partners?
  • From where does the potential partner receive funding? What is the governance structure of the potential partner? What implications could these details have on how this potential partner is perceived?
  • What are the potential partner’s terms/policies on research security? Are you verifying the current Data/Information/Cyber Security plan provided by the ORIS?
  • Is the potential partner located in a region where there is no distinction between civil and military use applications?  Could this partnership pose any concerns for UWindsor, Canadian national security, intellectual property, personal and/or institutional reputation, human rights, or for Canada’s sovereignty or its economy?

International Research Partnerships

Researchers and staff who intend to establish international research partnerships should contact the Director, Research Partnerships, prior to developing productive and safe partnerships.

For guidance on assessing any potential risks of engaging with an international partner, please refer to the resources. For assistance developing international partnerships, please contact the Director, Research Partnerships with regards to potential research agreements and/or industry engagements.

Safeguarding your Research checklist

These are some questions to consider. Together, the answers to these questions can help you to assess your level of risk and will inform possible mitigation strategies. Click on the PDF below to assess your risks.

General Inquiries:

Rahul Banerjee, Research Security Coordinator