Why safeguard your research?

Transcript - Chief Science Advisor of Canada: Why Research Security Matters

[Music starts]

[On-screen text: Safeguarding Your Research]

[Mona Nemer on screen]

[On-screen text: Mona Nemer Chief Science Advisor of Canada]

Mona Nemer: In our rapidly changing world, the need for scientific information to address our most urgent challenges has never been greater. And the complexity of these challenges means that our solutions must be multifaceted, built on research that is collaborative, diverse and inclusive.

[Video clips: Two people sitting together at a desk, gesturing to a computer monitor; people in laboratory settings, performing various tasks; two people having a discussion at a chalkboard filled with equations; and a person in a wheelchair at a workspace, with computers and a virtual reality headset]

Mona Nemer: More and more scientists are joining forces across disciplines, institutions and borders, and in doing so, they are contributing to a better future for Canadians and for humanity. Yet, in today's highly interconnected world, we need to consider how to reconcile the enormous benefits of scientific collaboration with the risk of research security threats. How do we balance the need for openness, transparency and trust with proper safeguarding against manipulation, theft, or misuse of scientific information? After all, your work is important, and the good it generates is something we need to protect. That means making sure that your research is as open and secure as possible. You are no doubt more familiar with policies related to scientific integrity and ethical conduct of research. Neither of these is at odds with research security. In fact, many of these measures are activities that we, as scientists, carry out everyday. By acquainting yourself with good practices for safeguarding your research, you will help minimize risks and enable stronger collaborations. Research that is open and secure generates trust in your work. And that means science can continue to deliver lifesaving innovations, help us take on global challenges, and improve our world. And that is important for everyone.

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Open and collaborative research environments are essential to propel creativity and advance research discoveries. This amazing work puts Canada at the forefront of discovery on the world stage and benefits Canada's entire society and each citizen.

Due to its advanced nature, Canadian-led research can be an attractive target for those seeking to steal, use, and adapt this research for their own priorities and gains. In some scenarios, research could lead to advancements in the strategic, military, or intelligence capabilities of other countries or be used to purposefully cause harm.

For these reasons, it is important for you to assess and clarify the intentions of your research partners and to take reasonable and risk-based measures to safeguard your research. By safeguarding your research, personnel, and innovations, you are ensuring that they are not used or exploited in ways in which you are unaware of or do not benefit from.

Potential consequences of theft or unintended use of your research findings include:

  1. Diminished trust and confidence in your research data and results
  2. Loss of research data
  3. Loss of exclusive control over intellectual property, patent opportunities, and potential revenue
  4. Legal or administrative consequences
  5. Loss of potential future partnerships
  6. Tarnished reputation

While openness and collaboration are the cornerstone of discovery, vigilance can prevent costly loss. You and your research team can take many simple actions or precautions to ensure that the benefits of your hard work stay with those who deserve them.

This website can help you put together an effective plan on how to protect your valuable work by:

  • Asking the right questions
  • Helping you to evaluate risk
  • Offering guidance and tools to safeguard your research
  • Hosting tools needed to apply/implement the Government of Canada’s National Security Guidelines for Research Partnerships
  • Linking to unique learning opportunities and resources
  • Providing contact information if you have further questions