Safeguarding Research Institutional Strategy

Canada is at the forefront of innovation, research, and development in many disciplines, including science, technology, engineering, and health care, some of which involve the collection of sensitive data. This research supports Canada’s economic, as well as broader social and national, interests.

University research safeguarding strategy

In spring 2021, the Government of Canada introduced National Security Guidelines for Research Partnerships, developed in consultation with the Government of Canada-Universities Working Group, to incorporate national security considerations into the development, evaluation, and funding of research partnerships.

At the University of Ottawa, the Office of Vice-President Research and Innovation (OVPRI) provides researchers with information, resources and support services that assess and mitigate risks to research and intellectual property.

These stakeholders play a key role in our research safeguarding strategy:

The University and the above stakeholders will raise awareness and provide access to safeguarding tools, resources, and infrastructure. Staff will receive training in meeting policy requirements and researchers will receive material to assess risk and develop risk mitigation plans.

The University and its partners across Ontario have agreed on common governance and risk assessment frameworks to incorporate risk mitigation strategies into existing policies and procedures. They’ve also identified best practices.

Additionally, uOttawa has taken the following actions to safeguard our research:

  • The Research Security Directorate (RSD) has consulted with uOttawa stakeholders and authorities, including faculty vice-deans research, research centres and institutes.
  • The RSD has established a roundtable to support safeguarding research, including Protection Services, Information Technology, the Data Management Service, the Partnership Management Service, key researchers, faculties, centres and institutes, and administrative support units, to make connections across all key research security areas.

The RSD will provide clarity and consistency to researchers on expectations based on the following:

The RSD will develop university risk assessment and mitigation strategies that can be adapted to individual researchers, faculties, research spaces, research centres and institutes, featuring items such as declarations of conflicts of interest and other means of determining appropriate partnerships or collaborations.

It will ensure that uOttawa establishes open and frequent communication with the provincial and federal governments and consortia across the sector (e.g., Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada; Public Safety Canada; the Council of Ontario Universities; Universities Canada; the U15; and the Tri-Agencies).

This strategy should be viewed as an evergreen document that will be reviewed for updating at least once a year. Ideally, it will apply to all researchers, including students, staff, and professors in all disciplines. Initially, though, we will focus on ensuring that applicants for Tri-Agency funding comply with risk assessments and risk mitigation plans required for their applications, such as those listed above.

Intended strategic outcomes

  • Understanding by uOttawa researchers of research safeguarding with the ability to navigate provincial and federal government granting requirements.
  • Greater transparency, predictability, and equity in the research safeguarding process.
  • Strengthened University practices with respect to research security.