The Government of Canada recently announced that it is introducing new national security guidelines for federally funded research partnerships.
While these are still early days, the government has expressed a renewed interest in mitigating risk and protecting intellectual property developed at Canada’s post-secondary institutions.
As a first step, any new applications to the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council’s (NSERC) Alliance Grants program involving private sector partners must include a completed risk assessment form and a risk mitigation plan where appropriate.
NSERC is currently updating all relevant instructions and resources on the Alliance website and in the online system. Researchers will be able to submit Alliance applications beginning July 23, 2021.
In addition to performing a scientific merit review, NSERC will assess these risks in consultation with national security agencies and departments on a case-by-case basis. Projects deemed to be of high national security risk will not be funded.
These changes currently only apply to the NSERC Alliance program; however, the intention is to roll them out for all granting councils and the Canada Foundation for Innovation in the near future.