The Ministry of Colleges and Universities (MCU) requires all applicants to its programs to complete a new mitigating economic and geopolitical checklist. The checklist is based on a tool developed by the U15 Group of Canadian Research Universities and Universities Canada in collaboration with the Government of Canada-Universities Working Group: Mitigating economic and/or geopolitical risks in sensitive research projects, A TOOL FOR UNIVERSITY RESEARCH. While A Tool for University Research focuses on ‘sensitive’ projects (i.e., those in emerging technologies with potential military application or in areas where significant political, social or economic interests exist), MCU requires a completed checklist for all projects, regardless of risk profile.
A Tool for University Research was developed in response to the recognition that researchers doing work in sensitive areas “need to be equipped to safely and freely pursue research.” The introduction explains that this means “having resources to help them assess and manage risks which emerge as a result of how the research topic intersects with domestic or international economic, political and strategic interests (economic and geopolitical risks).” The Tool is meant as one helpful resource to assist with risk mitigation. This University of Guelph guide for applicants is a supplement to A Tool for University Research, designed to clarify internal processes, and connect researchers to internal resources as relevant.
2. University processes for mitigating economic and geopolitical risk
- The PI will determine risk profile.
- Please follow the Mitigating economic and/or geopolitical risks in sensitive research projects, A TOOL FOR UNIVERSITY RESEARCH instructions for assessing your project’s economic and/or geopolitical risk profile by completing the table and the risk matrix.
- Then, complete the checklist (Appendix E on the ERA application form), leaving non-applicable items blank (unchecked) and submit by the first internal deadline.
- In your submission email, identify the level of risk (low, medium, or high) according to the risk assessment and matrix. If medium or high risk, please elaborate briefly on risk
- If low risk, the PI will use standard processes to protect research. See section 3 for standard processes and resources.
- If medium to high risk, the PI should consider implementing additional risk assessment and mitigation measures to address risk, such as those suggested in the Tool for University Research. The Manager of Strategic Research Programs will review the proposal and may refer it to the Associate Vice-President (Research Services) and other experts for advice on additional mitigation strategies. See Section 3 for standard processes and resources.
3. Standard University resources to assess and mitigate risk
This section, organized according to checklist headers, refers researchers to University of Guelph resources and policies. It should be used in conjunction with the resources provided in the Mitigating economic and/or geopolitical risks in sensitive research projects, A TOOL FOR UNIVERSITY RESEARCH. Please first review the information and resources on the Office of Research web page: Keeping global research vibrant and safe.
Building a strong project team
Within this section, when assessing existing or potential conflicts of interest and/or whether the practices and contributions of your collaborator(s)/collaborator(s) institution are consistent with the standards on ethics and research conduct at the University of Guelph, refer to:
Assess Non-Academic Partners
The following University of Guelph processes, policies and guidelines may be helpful for determining whether the practices and contributions of your collaborator(s)/collaborator(s) institution are consistent with the standards on ethics and research conduct at the University of Guelph:
- Responsible Conduct of Research
- Ethics and Regulatory Compliance (human participants, animals, biohazard materials, etc.)
Entering into an agreement with collaborator(s) institutions can help ensure alignment of goals and objectives and is an opportunity to communicate expectations:
Cybersecurity and Data Management
Computing and Communications Services (CCS) and the University Library have resources and services to assist researchers with cybersecurity and data management:
Review use of Research Findings
To assess the potential value of any project-related intellectual property (IP) and how to protect it as well as other IP considerations:
The University’s standard contract template includes clauses that speak to intellectual property, and publication, and that protect graduate students’ rights to own the copyright in the thesis or academic report and not be delayed in a thesis examination or publication of a thesis or academic report: