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More than 100 research institutes in Ottawa's sights | Public inquiry into engineering ;foreign reference

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The list of institutes drawn up by the Canadian government will be updated in the event of new threats.


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The federal government has classified more than 100 research institutes, primarily Chinese, but also Iranian and Russian, as “posing a risk to the national security” of Canada. Therefore, no grant will be granted to research in a field of sensitive technologies if it is affiliated with one of these institutes.

This measure, which will come into force next spring, was announced in Ottawa by the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, François-Philippe Champagne, the Minister of Health, Mark Holland, and the Minister of Public Safety, Dominic LeBlanc.

Among the more than 100 foreign research institutes that are in the sights of the federal government, there are 96 centers in China, 18 in Iran and 7 in Russia.

These are organizations affiliated with military organizations, national defense organizations or security organizations of foreign states that pose risks to Canada's national security, the ministers indicate in a joint press release.

Applications for grants and research funding […] that concern work advancing research in an area of ​​sensitive technologies will be rejected if any researcher participating in the funded activities is affiliated with a university or research institution having links with military, national defense or security organizations of foreign states which present risks to national security, or receives funds or any non-financial support from this type of establishment, further specifies the text.

Public inquiry into foreign interference

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Public inquiry into foreign interference

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Among the 11 research areas of strategic importance are: #x27;artificial intelligence and big data technology, quantum science, as well as aerospace and satellite systems.

Ottawa is concerned that foreign adversaries are determined to acquire sensitive Canadian research and intellectual property by partnering on projects with academics in Canada.

Last month, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) warned of China's efforts in Canada for talent recruitment and technology transfer [which] may result in the diversion of Government of Canada resources and loss of proprietary and sensitive information.

These policies and plans aim to exploit the collaborative, transparent and open nature of Canada's research and innovation sector to serve the economic, security and military interests of the People's Republic of China, CSIS warned in a memo sent to all federal government departments.

During a media briefing, government officials said they did not have further details on the extent of the risk posed to the country's scientific community. They did not specify the number of Canadian research institutions which are currently collaborating with Chinese, Russian and Iranian institutions representing a risk to national security.

The new policy only applies to grant applications submitted to the federal granting councils − the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC ), the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) and the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI).

But one of the officials speaking to journalists said that this new policy also aims to raise awareness among researchers and provincial governments so that ;they avoid any collaboration with foreign research institutes at risk.

The list of institutes drawn up by the government will be updated in the event of new threats , officials said.

This announcement comes as Ottawa is in the midst of a consultation process to create a registry whose objective is to prevent foreign interference. Under such a registry, individuals who act on behalf of a foreign state to advance its objectives would have to disclose their ties to the government that employs them to advance their interests.

The idea is to make these activities more transparent, with the risk of fines or even prison sentences being imposed in the event of non-compliance.

At the same time, within the framework of the commission on foreign interference in electoral processes and democratic institutions, judge Marie-Josée Hogue continues her work . Public hearings are scheduled to begin Jan. 29, and an interim report is expected in the spring.

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