The Government of Canada is banning federal research funding for projects involving any researchers affiliated with China’s military. The federal government is calling on provinces and universities across Canada to follow similar guidelines.
In a joint statement on February 14th, Minister of Innovation, Science, and Industry François-Philippe Champagne, Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos, and Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino stated, “Grant applications that involve conducting research in a sensitive research area will not be funded if any of the researchers working on the project are affiliated with a university, research institute or laboratory connected to military, national defence or state security entities of foreign state actors that pose a risk to our national security.”
The government is instructing the Canada Foundation for Innovation and Canada’s federal research granting councils—the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, as well as the Canadian Institutes of Health Research—to deny funding to Chinese military scientists. In addition, the government is forming a research security centre that will provide advice and guidance directly to research institutions. The ministers have also written to Universities Canada and the U15 Group of Canadian Research Universities urging them to follow similar guidelines for all their research partnerships, especially in sensitive research areas.
The announcement follows a House of Commons committee meeting on February 2nd, when Minister Champagne said the government had to ensure that sensitive research and intellectual property would be protected and that there would be “no compromise” when it comes to matters of national security.
The Globe and Mail reported on January 30th that 50 Canadian universities had been working in partnership with a Chinese military scientific institution, conducting research on high-end and sensitive technologies, including those related to guided missiles and eavesdropping.
The Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) has long warned Canadian academic institutions of foreign espionage activities conducted through academic research, saying China is among several foreign actors that Canada needs to be vigilant against.