Statement on Research Security

The National Research Council of Canada (NRC) is Canada's largest federal research and development organization and is committed to advancing research and supporting innovation in the interests of Canada. The NRC's expertise and related partnerships are managed with integrity, in an open and collaborative manner. While openness and collaboration are the cornerstone of discovery, the research we conduct, the work we fund, and the support we provide to firms can be attractive targets for those seeking to steal, use, and adapt it for their own priorities and gains.

It is important to take reasonable and risk-based measures to safeguard our research, and the projects and firms we fund from potential interference, misappropriation or misalignment with the interests of Canada. Using a risk-based approach to assess our interactions will help ensure decisions are risk-appropriate, measured, and thoughtful.

This statement focuses on specific threats identified with regards to the military, national defence, or state security entities that could pose a risk to our national security; it does not target or profile any group of people or country. The application of this statement must never lead to discrimination against individuals. 


Critical thinking and risk assessment should start when discussions are in the very early stages, prior to the sharing of any information that is not already publicly available. A risk-based assessment should be carried out in these situations:

  • Before information about NRC research or NRC-owned intellectual property (IP) that is not already publicly available is shared or made accessible to individuals or organizations outside the Government of Canada
  • Whenever it becomes apparent that the interactions could lead to a funding decision, including the provision of grant or contribution funding, contributing to a joint project or collaboration and any other situation where NRC resources are being used to support an interaction.

The research security risk assessment includes, among other things, determining whether any of the individuals or organizations involved in activities supported by the funding are currently affiliated with or in receipt of funding or in-kind support from any of the organizations on the list of Named Research Organizations (NROs), published by Innovation, Science and Economic Development (ISED). The NRC will not directly fund projects where there is an affiliation with a named research organization. Any other interaction with an organization on the NRO list or affiliated with an organization on the NRO list requires approval by the president of the NRC.

Even in situations where funding is not being provided by the NRC, a review of the NRO list must still be conducted as part of the risk assessment process.

Organizations not on the NRO list may still pose a risk to Canada's and the NRC's research. For this reason, due diligence and risk mitigation practices are applied to any interaction where information about NRC research or NRC-owned IP that is not already publicly available will be shared or is accessible, or where an interaction may lead to a funding decision.


Individuals are considered affiliated to an organization if they are employed, appointed, or conduct research with that organization. In cases where individuals hold multiple affiliations, all must be identified and considered when assessing affiliations. Organizations are considered affiliated if they are owned by (in whole or in part), controlled by or receive funding or in-kind support from another organization.
Funding and in-kind support
Monetary contributions and non-monetary contributions, which include but are not limited to goods, equipment, materials and supplies, professional services, use of facilities (office space, lab access), software, technologies and databases.
Any person that, during the course of an interaction, may be exposed to NRC research or IP that is not already publicly available as well as any person seeking funding from the NRC. This includes applicants, co-applicants, collaborators, principal investigators, undergraduate and graduate students, post-doctoral fellows and research staff.
Entities such as research and technology organizations, international organizations, academic institutions, corporations (for profit and not-for profit) and unincorporated groups, societies and coalitions. For the purpose of this statement, organizations do not include Canadian provincial, territorial, regional or municipal governments and agencies or Canadian Crown corporations.

Guiding principles

The NRC is committed to protecting its research, funding and support contributed to firms from activities that undermine their integrity, and to ensuring that research security measures are aligned with the following principles:

Fully transparent and reciprocal sharing of methods, data and research outcomes—while maintaining confidentiality when appropriate — is crucial to supporting technological innovation and research collaboration, integrity and the free flow of ideas and information. Furthering transparency, the practice of open science can take the form of making scientific inputs, outputs, and processes freely available to all with minimal restrictions. Open science and transparency are practised in full respect of privacy, security, and ethical considerations, as well as appropriate protection of IP, as outlined in Canada's Roadmap for Open Science.
Behaving ethically, honestly and objectively at all times; being impartial and transparent with our colleagues, collaborators, stakeholders, clients and the people of Canada; and exercising sound stewardship of our resources.
Working on challenging research topics often benefits from collaboration with domestic and international peers, who bring a diversity of talents, capabilities and perspectives. As NRC researchers, we actively collaborate to acquire the knowledge and expertise needed to generate more efficient solutions. This includes actively seeking partnerships for mutual benefit and committing to providing fair value.
Equity, diversity and inclusion
The NRC values and respects the knowledge, expertise and diversity of our colleagues, our collaborators, our stakeholders and our clients. Risk mitigation measures must, therefore, never lead to discrimination against or profiling of individuals on the basis of their country of origin or residence or their citizenship.
As federal public servants, we are entrusted to use and care for public resources responsibly, for both the short and long term. This includes acquiring, preserving, securing, and sharing knowledge and information as appropriate.