November 24, 2023
As reported by Reuters, Canadian authorities have reportedly announced new restrictions on research grants, with the goal of blocking funding to projects with researchers affiliated with institutions with ties to foreign governments that may pose a risk to national security. The reported goal of the policy is to “protect our country, our institutions, and our intellectual property”.
According to a joint statement by the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, the Minister of Health, and the Minister of Public Safety – grant applications that involve conducting research in a “sensitive research area” will reportedly not be funded if any of the researchers are affiliated with a university, research institute, or laboratory connected to military, national defence, or state security entities of foreign actors that pose a risk to Canada’s national security. While the statement did not mention particular countries, many reportedly suspect that Russia and China are on the list of state actors that researchers cannot be affiliated with in order to receive research grants.
Some have reportedly raised concerns about the new policy. Tamer Özsu, a computer scientist at the University of Waterloo, reportedly worries that “Canada could lose its reputation as a good partner in international collaborations”. Others, like Chad Gaffield, head of U15, an organization that represents the 15 largest Canadian research universities, reportedly believe that the new policy properly balances making “research as open as possible and as secure as necessary”.
Authors: Olivia Moon and Arash Rouhi