Safeguarding Canadian Research Partnerships Against Foreign Government Risks



At Strider we believe in open scientific collaboration. Throughout history some of the greatest scientific advancements have been the result of close-knit international partnerships. As geopolitics shift, it’s critical to ensure these collaborations don’t advance adversary military programs or create reputational or national security risks to institutes of higher learning.

The Canadian Government’s Innovation, Science and Economic Development Program recently released a guidebook titled Conducting Open-Source Due Diligence for Safeguarding Research Partnerships.

The focus of this guidebook is to provide open-source due diligence methods – specifically a guide for identifying risks within research partnerships. The goal is to help researchers and institutions safeguard against national security risks when partnering with foreign governments on research initiatives.

The first part of this guide provides an introduction and background. It notes that, “not all partnerships are risky,” but also expounds on how some activities by foreign governments pose an acute risk to Canadian national security interests, the Canadian research ecosystem, and the underlying research itself. Some of the more significant risks identified include:

  • Research being transferred to a foreign government without consent.
  • Tampering with research findings to devalue the findings, damage a researcher’s reputation or undermine the benefit the research can provide.

Due to these risks, the Canadian Government wants researchers and institutions to better equip themselves when engaging in foreign partnerships.

Leveraging open-source due diligence methods can be a force multiplier to verify identities, understand relationships and motives, and mitigate conflicts of interest. The guide also expounds on the ways to ethically conduct open-source due diligence, how to create a plan, how to execute that plan, and communicate your findings.

The guide provides additional resources and best practices on how to leverage open-source data. One additional inclusion is a list of commercial tools that can be used to help safeguard research. Strider was proud to have our product, Shield, listed as a resource for Canadian research institutions to identify and mitigate potential risk emanating from foreign partnerships.

We applaud the Canadian government’s proactive steps to educate researchers, universities, and the public of these risks. It takes a collective effort to safeguard our innovations and maintain the values that underpin open scientific collaboration.

Conducting Open Source Due Diligence for Safeguarding Research Partnerships Guidebook