Research security is a growing topic across Canadian universities, and USask is working to support our research community and safeguard research at our institution.

USask's approach aligns with the Government of Canada's Safeguarding Our Research Strategy while recognizing academic freedom and encouraging international collaboration.  USask promotes the principles of transparency, academic freedom, and norms of open science as the cornerstones of a successful relationship between universities, researchers, industries, and governments with respect to safeguarding research.

Research Security Modules – Update for New Sessions

Public Safety Canada’s (PSC’s) Research Security Centre (RSC) will be hosting four additional webinars of our Module 1 |Safeguarding Science. The goal of the webinar is for participants to:

  • Access guidance and tools to strengthen security posture;
  • Understand best practices to identify and mitigate research security threats;
  • Pursue and maintain safe research partnerships;
  • Maintain institutional reputation of a safe research organization; and
  • Protect valuable research, data or potentially patentable property.

In addition, the RSC is also pleased to announce the launch of three additional virtual modules:

Webinar SignUp PDF

Module 2: Dual-Use Technologies: Know Your Research – Know your Partners - Assess the Risk

The module elaborates on dual-use technologies and research with specific examples. These examples highlight the complex nature of dual-use technologies, and ways to recognize their sensitivities. The outcome of the module will enhance understanding of the dual-use nature of any research, whether in STEM or social sciences, and give frontline researchers and institutions tools to perform their due diligence and evaluate risks appropriately.

Module 3: Demystifying the International Student Immigration Process

The purpose of this presentation is to provide insight on the immigration process for international students and to explain how prospective applicants are security screened for admissibility.

The presentation will provide an overview on the immigration forms, supporting documents and requirements for a study permit. The roles and responsibilities of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) and its security screening partners will be detailed. Case studies are included within the presentation to help demonstrate the process.

Module 4: Know before you Export: Canada’s Export and Brokering Controls

The presentation aims to increase knowledge about Canada’s export controls regime, what is controlled and why; explain how research institutions and academia may be subject to export controls; show how to apply for an export permit; and provide a list of resources and contacts for reference.

All modules are intended for, but not limited to, researchers, research staff including technicians, postdoctoral fellows and students, research security professionals, research administrators, information technology and information management staff, security personnel, biosafety and radiological safety officers, human resources personnel, supply chain personnel, senior management and any other university personnel.

Participation is limited to 250 people per module. We invite you to use your university or organization email address to register. This invitation can be shared within your institution, faculty members, or Canadian research networks.

Full details regarding the webinars are available in the attached document including dates and registration links.

Update - Re-Implementation and Application of the STRAC Policy to Tri-Agency Funding Opportunities

The federal granting agencies are committed to providing our research community with the most up-to-date information and best practices to safeguard their research and to mitigate research security risks. In support of this commitment, the Tri-Agencies have published their Tri-Agency Guidance on Research Security in relation to the Sensitive Technology Research and Affiliations of Concern (STRAC) policy which comes into effect on May 1, 2024.

This new webpage provides up-to-date guidance for the research community, with regards to the implementation of research security measures by the federal granting agencies. We encourage all members of the research community to familiarize themselves with this guidance, as well as the linked policies, guidelines, and resources provided by the Government of Canada.

Included in this webpage is the Tri-Agency Guidance on the STRAC Policy, which describes the granting agencies’ harmonized approach to implementing the STRAC Policy. Detailed information, including the attestation form, procedures, resources, and frequently asked questions are now available. This webpage also includes Tri-Agency Guidance on the National Security Guidelines for Research Partnerships, as well as a list of recommended research security resources. To learn more about the Canada Foundation for Innovation’s implementation of research security measures, please consult its dedicated guidance page.

Please see the following webpages for more information:

Tri-agency guidance on the Policy on Sensitive Technology Research and Affiliations of Concern (STRAC Policy) - Research security (

Sensitive Technology Research Areas (

Named Research Organizations (

STRAC Attestation Form PDF

Canada Foundation of Innovation Research Security Approach: Research security | Canada Foundation for Innovation

New Development for US Government Funding Update – May 2024

Please note the following research security requirements for certain US funding agencies coming into effect in the spring and summer of 2024.

Under the provisions of the US CHIPS and Science Act of 2022, effective August 9, 2024, US federal agencies are prohibited from providing funding for any proposal in which a “Covered Individual” is participating in a Malign Foreign Talent Recruitment Program (MFTRP). 

The National Science Foundation (NSF) established an effective date earlier than required and has implemented this requirement for new proposals and awards as of May 20, 2024. Other US federal funding agencies such as the US National Institutes of Health (NIH), the US Department of Defense (DoD), the US Department of Energy (DoE), will also be issuing guidance of MFTRPs later in 2024.

A covered individual is described in terms that will include a Principal Investigator (PI), Co-PI, Senior or Key Personnel, and Investigator, etc. US federal funding agencies may also define other individuals as covered persons as appropriate and consistent with their mission.

Covered individuals must disclose if they are a party to any foreign talent recruitment program, and to certify that they are not a party to a malign foreign talent recruitment program. Covered individuals are prohibited from participating in a US federally funded research and development project if they are currently participating in a “malign foreign talent recruitment program.”

For more information on Foreign Talent Recruitment Programs and Malign Foreign Talent Recruitment Programs, please see the FTRP & MFTRP tab in the Resources section.


In February 2023, the Ministers of Innovation, Science and Industry, Health, and Public Safety issued a joint statement stating that the Government of Canada takes its responsibility to protect Canadian research seriously. The statement acknowledged that Canada’s research ecosystem can be an attractive target for foreign state actors that pose a risk to Canada’s national security. The statement furthered, “Grant applications that involve research in sensitive research area will not be funded if any of the researchers working on a project are affiliated with a university, research institute or laboratory connected to military, national defense, or state security entities of foreign state actors that pose a risk to our national security.”

The Hub

Research security is an evolving topic across Canadian universities.  USask is committed to supporting its research community in safeguarding research and ensuring funding agency and institution guidelines are met.  

The USask Research Security Hub offers expert support to the USask research community in research risk management and security.

 The Hub will include: 

  • Outreach & Education
  • Due Diligence
  • Compliance & Special Investigations
  • Information sessions & workshops on leading practises and agency requirements
  • Training & Resources
  • Assisting with partner vetting
  • Providing guidance to researchers on Open-Source Intelligence Gathering

National Security Guidelines for Research Partnerships

The National Security Guidelines for Research Partnerships are intended to prevent foreign interference, espionage and unwanted knowledge transfer resulting in advancements to the military, intelligence and security capabilities to states or groups engaging in activities that are a threat to Canada's national security.

Details are pending; however effective January 2024, the guidelines will apply to all federal funding.

If you are working in a sensative area, need assistance in vetting your partners, or need to develop a mitigation plan, please consult the Hub.

The Government of Canada has identified some research areas as having potential national security risks. Briefly, they are:

  • Research that may have Dual Use or Sensitive applications.
  • Sensitive research and resulting technologies that could advance a foreign state's military, intelligence or surveillance capabilities, impede Canada's ability to identify and respond to these threats or by disrupting the Canadian economy, society or critical infrastructure.
  • Influence over and access to data and infrastructure.

The Federal government is identifing other research areas that will be subject to new rules and regulations.  This information will become available here as soon as it is released.

The integrity of research relies on knowing and trusting your partner organization(s). Building research teams and partnerships with known and trusted partner organizations will help mitigate risks. Knowing your partner involves understanding your partner's goals and objectives for the shared research outcomes. Partners that are state-owned or subject to state-influence could facilitate unwanted knowledge transfer. Partner organizations that are not autonomous and independent may pose a higher risk for unwanted knowledge transfer to a foreign government, military, their proxies or other actors.

 The Hub can provide advice and guidance on the best practices in conducting open-source searches.

If you are conducting research in a sensitive research area (release of areas pending), and your research partner is or may be subject to state influence, then you will need to have a mitigation plan.

The Hub can assist researchers in developing an appropriate mitigation plan when needed. Each mitigation plan will be tailored to address the security requirements of the project.  If you are planning to collaborate with industry partners, it is strongly recommended that you reach out to the Hub early.


If you are travelling for a conference or other research-related activities, you may also consult the following resources:

Foreign Talent Recruitment Program versus Malign Foreign Talent Recruitment Program

A foreign talent recruitment program (FTRP) recruits and retains experts to support a country’s strategic development goals. Typically, a researcher is contacted directly with an invitation to join the program.

Generally, foreign talent recruitment programs provide researchers with incentives, such as:

  • Research funding
  • Financial compensation and other remuneration
  • Resources such as labs, equipment, and other in-kind support
  • Employment opportunities including appointments at foreign institutions
  • Titles and awards

Unfortunately, malign foreign talent recruitment programs (MFTRPs) also exist. MFTRPs are organized, managed, or funded by a foreign government, or a foreign government instrument or entity, to acquire Canadian funded scientific research or technology  in an unethical or unlawful manner by recruiting researchers or students, regardless of their citizenship or national origin.

A foreign talent program may be considered malign if has elements of the “Three Cs: Compromise, Compensation and Covert Relationship":


  • Provide research results, data, technology, or other non-public information or intellectual property from funded research programs to the foreign state sponsoring the talent program
  • Recruit others to join the talent program
  • Establish a laboratory or company and take on individuals from specific institutions
  • Creating “mirror” labs to duplicate federally funded research in the foreign country


  • Paid travel
  • Honorariums
  • Research money
  • Honorary Chair positions

Covert Relationship:

  • Prohibition on disclosing participation in such a program to any Federal research agency or employing institution such as USask.

Security Considerations

Before participating in a FTRP, keep the following considerations in mind:

  • Federal funding: Recipients of Government of Canada funding are required to disclose foreign affiliations and funding. Failure to disclose foreign affiliations and funding may be considered a breach of the Tri-Agency Framework on the Responsible Conduct of Research.

If you are concerned that you have been approached by an MFTRP, please contact to arrange a confidential discussion.

The Government of Canada has developed three publicly available courses to better equip Canadian researchers with the knowledge and resources to protect their research. Taking these courses will help in raising awareness about risk towards yourself and research.

Research Security Training Courses (

Contact Us

For any questions, please contact the below.