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Hybrid Warfare Student Competition

The Hybrid Warfare Student Competition is designed for undergraduate and graduate students from Canadian universities and professional military educational institutions who want a better understanding of the policy challenges associated with hybrid (grey zone) warfare.

Part interactive learning experience, part competitive scenario exercise, this competition allows students interested in international security to interact with mentors, judges, experts, as well as each other, while they develop valuable analytical and presentation skills.

Competition Details

  • November 6 – 8, 2023
  • SFU Harbour Centre, Vancouver, BC Canada 
  • Open to public attendance

Register now

Program Brochure

Competition Format

  • 16 teams (four students/team) - teams come from across Canada; each team should be as diverse as possible (i.e. students should have various academic backgrounds, skills, experiences, as well as demonstrate a commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion)
  • Team mentor - each team will have a mentor who will be a faculty member from their institution
  • Judging panel - composed of experts (e.g. from federal agencies, industry, academia)      

Teams respond to an evolving scenario involving a major hybrid attack and analyze the military-political threat it poses to Canada and its allies. Teams receive intelligence reports that serve as scenario interjects and prompt them to modify their policy priorities and recommendations. At the end of the competition, teams present in front of the judging panel.

Offer Your Support

The Department of Political Science welcomes donations from individuals and organizations looking to help subsidize student travel and event hosting expenses. Donations and sponsorships are critical to making student learning experiences of this scale successful now and into the future.

Make a donation

Visit SFU’s online donations page and type in “Political Science Hybrid Warfare Student Competition” in the search bar or select a fund to which you would like to give your support. 

Donate Now

Become an event sponsor

You or your organization can contribute your support by becoming an event sponsor (e.g. advertising opportunities). 

Contact FASS Advancement Officer, Lauren Gilbert at to get started or if you have any questions. 


Several weeks prior to the qualifying round: Teams each submit a five-page policy brief addressing the questions facing the Canadian government (in response to the attack), identify the policy response alternatives, analysis and impact of those alternatives, and the justification for recommended policy response alternatives.

Day 1 - Qualifying Round (16 teams): Teams present a policy brief and give an oral presentation to the judging panel based on the scenario. The teams with the highest combined score will qualify as semi-finalists.

End of Day 1: Semi-finalists (8 teams) will be announced and introduced to a new scenario interject and will work to adapt policy responses. Teams will have less than 24 hours to adapt their policy responses.

Day 2 - Semi-Final Round (8 teams): Teams will deliver an oral brief to the judging panel on their policy recommendations, given the new developments and submit a two-page memorandum (to accompany their oral brief) outlining their decision processes and policy recommendations.

End of Day 2: Finalists (4 teams) will be announced. They will receive a second scenario interject detailing further changes to the scenario. They will receive a short amount of time to use the new information to revise their policy responses.

Day 3 - Final Round (4 teams): Teams will deliver an oral brief to the judging panel on their policy recommendations, given the new developments and submit a two-page memorandum (to accompany their oral brief) outlining their decision processes and policy recommendations.

Day 3 - Reception: Competition winners, second, and third place winners will be announced and prizes distributed.

Competition Criteria

Note: Hybrid warfare take place across multiple-domains, is innovative (makes use of tactics that fall below conventional armed conflict) and takes a whole of society effort to wage it or defend against it. A successful defence requires imaginative responses that are resulted from team members with varying perspectives, knowledge, and set of skills.

As such, most successful university teams are likely to be diverse in terms of: gender, race/ethnicity, and academic major.

  • University teams from across Canada.
  • Each team must consist of 4-5 students (3rd or 4th year of studies, and/or graduate students). Students cannot be in 1st or 2nd year of undergraduate studies.
  • Each team must have a faculty advisor/mentor.
  • Each team should contact their schools for travelling grants or some other financial aid.
  • Each team may reach out to potential sponsors (individual/corporate) to sponsor the team’s participation.

Cost and Awards

There is no application or program fee to participate in the Hybrid Warfare Student Competition. 

Each travelling team (from outside the Metro Vancouver area) will receive a $1,000 a bursary to help pay for some of their travel expenses. Applicants are responsible for their own transportation and accommodation expenses while attending the competition.

  • 1st place: $1,500
  • 2nd place: $1,200
  • 3rd place: $1,000


  • Understand multidimensional security threats that influence the security of Canada, its allies and its partners
  • Learn how to choose the most effective policy responses to hybrid threats
  • Analyze the role of government actors in decision-making
  • Develop communication, critical-thinking, research skills, and more
  • Make key connections with other students, academics, and industry professionals


Holiday Inn Vancouver-Centre Broadway
711 West Broadway, Vancouver 

  • Special SFU group rate for November 5-9 bookings
  • Close to downtown Vancouver and easy access to public transit options
  • Five minute walk to the Broadway-City Hall SkyTrain Station
  • 15 minute train ride to SFU Harbour Centre 

When booking your reservation, please put in SFU as the group rate code to receive the special booking rate. You are free to choose your check-in and check-out dates, but note that the rate only applies to November 5-9 bookings.

It is the responsibility of each participant to make their own travel and accommodation arrangements. Neither SFU nor the hotel bear responsibility for participants checking-out before the last day and for when they leave hotel premises. 

Faculty and Staff

Dr. Elis Vllasi

Competition Founder & Director

Fiona Wu

Competition Coordinator 

Chell Li

Social Media Manager

Thank you to our sponsors

The Hybrid Warfare Student Competition is made possible by the generous support of our sponsors. We thank them for their contributions.