Updates to the Policy on Sensitive Technology Research and Affiliations of Concern (STRAC)

Image by rihaij from Pixabay

The Government of Canada published the Policy on Sensitive Technology Research and Affiliations of Concern (STRAC) in January. In late March, the Tri-agency announced guidance on implementing the STRAC policy across the federal granting agencies. This guidance identifies responsibilities for both researchers and institutions.

Researchers’ responsibilities follow a two-step process:

  • Step 1: Determine if your grant aims to advance a Sensitive Technology Research Area. Applicants will determine and identify in the application if their proposed research aims to advance any listed Sensitive Technology Research Areas (STRA). If the proposed research does not advance a STRA, the applicant will select “no” in the application module. In these cases, no further steps are required. If the proposed research does advance an STRA, the applicant will choose “yes” and move to step 2.
  • Step 2: Check researchers’ affiliations and comply with attestation requirements. If a proposal aims to advance an STRA, all researchers with named roles on the project must complete an attestation form. The form asks researchers to attest that they are not affiliated with, or receive funding or in-kind support from, any of the Named Research Organizations. The primary applicant must collect and submit all individual attestation forms in a single PDF file uploaded with their grant application package. Should the project be funded, the primary applicant will be responsible for providing attestations from any new members who join the team. Similarly, attestations will be required if the nature of the research changes to meet the definition of a STRA.
  • A copy of the attestation form can be found on the NSERC website.

Institutional responsibilities include:

  • Helping researchers understand their responsibilities under the STRAC policy.
  • Conducting completeness checks to ensure grant applications include all required attestation forms in cases where the applicant has identified the project as meeting the STRA criteria.
  • Assisting researchers when submitting new attestations for funded projects that evolve to include advances to a STRA, or when new members join the team.

Institutions are not expected to validate the accuracy of attestations submitted by applicants. Each researcher with a named role in the project is responsible for their own attestation.

The Tri-agencies will apply the STRAC policy to all funding opportunities launched as of May 1, 2024. It is important to review details in funding opportunity guidelines to determine whether the STRAC policy applies.

Starting on April 26 at 12 p.m. ET, submission of Tri-agency applications will pause temporarily for changes to the online system that will support these updated requirements. Submissions will resume May 3, 2024.

Any applications currently being prepared in NSERC’s online system, but not yet submitted, will need to include the completed attestation form(s) if that application aims to advance a listed STRA.

Webinars in English

To provide the research community with up-to-date information, the Tri-agency will host two webinars on the STRAC policy:

In response to these developments, Western Research is assessing if changes are required to the grant application process for Tri-agency funding opportunities. The unit is also developing tools to help researchers assess if their projects meet the STRA criteria. Further information on process changes will be communicated to Western’s research community.

Any questions on the topic should be addressed to Western’s research security team at researchsecurity@uwo.ca.

Thank you! Your subscription has been confirmed. You'll hear from us soon.
Subscribe to the FIMULAW blog
Receive notifications when new posts are published