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  1. STRAC Policy
  2. Ethics and Security Unit
  3. News and updates
  4. Resources

STRAC Policy

On January 16, 2024, the Federal Government released the Policy on Sensitive Technology Research and Affiliations of Concern (STRAC).  This Policy became effective May 1, 2024 and applies to all new funding applications submitted through the Tri-Agencies (CIHR, NSERC, SSHRC) and CFI.

The Policy addresses Sensitive Technology Research Areas and Named Research Organizations – research organizations and institutions that have been deemed to pose the highest risk to Canada’s national security due to their direct, or indirect connections with military, national defence, and state security entities.

It is important to note that the Policy is not anticipated to have widespread impact to the SFU research community at this point in time.  It is not going to be applied retroactively – new grant applications only.  And for those who may be impacted, our intent is to support researchers in navigating the expectations of the policy and to assist wherever possible in identifying alternative sources of funding.

Steps for Researchers when applying for Tri-Agency grants:

  • Step 1 – Determine whether your grant/funding will aim to advance any sensitive technology research area  If the proposed research will not aim to advance any of the listed sensitive technology research areas, no further steps are required under the Policy.  If the proposed research will aim to advance any of the listed sensitive technology research areas, Step 2 must be followed.

  • Step 2 – Check researchers’ affiliations. All researchers with named roles involved in the activities funded by the grant must attest that they are not affiliated with, or in receipt of funding or in-kind support, from any of the institutions on the list of Named Research Organizations (note: this list will be updated regularly).  If affiliations exist, or the researchers are in receipt of funding or in-kind connects, these relationships must be terminated in order to continue with the application

  • Step 3 – Attestation. All researchers with named roles engaged in activities supported by the research grant will be required to attest that they have read, understood, agree with, and are compliant with this policy. They and their research team(s) will be required to comply with the policy for the duration of the federal grant. This includes student participants (who are not required to fill out an attestation)

Current rules applying to NSERC Alliance continue to apply, and in the future will be extended to additional federal programs. No further information is available at this point.

If you have any questions or concerns, contact:


Collaboration and partnerships are key parts of the research enterprise, but they can also increase risk. Research security refers to the ability to identify possible risks to a researcher’s work through unwanted access, interference or theft and measures that minimize these risks and protect the inputs, processes and products that are part of scientific research and discovery.

Following the February 14th, 2023 joint ministerial statement, the Government of Canada committed to introducing a list of Sensitive Technology Research Areas (STRA) and a list of Named Research Organizations (NRO). Researchers who carry out research in an STRA while working with individuals who are affiliated with an NRO will be ineligible for future federal research grants under this policy. Once implemented, the policy will also require researchers named on grant applications to attest their compliance with the new policy.


Ethics and security unit

In response to new federal guidelines SFU has launched a new, integrated unit within Research Operations to manage both human ethics review and research security issues. It will work closely with Information Security Services, as well as SFU's Safety and Risk Services.

Oversight of Research Security incorporates the following principles:

  • Uphold academic freedom
  • Maximize access to academic talent across the world
  • Uphold the reputation of the university

The Research Security role of this office includes:

  • Review all security applications associated with Tri-Agency funding
  • Review sponsored research agreements involving foreign partners
  • Host workshops and develop training on research security
  • Assist faculty with partnership assessments

News and updates

2024 January 16: Launch and technical briefing on the STRAC policy. Joint Ministerial Statement

2023 July 7: SFU research security briefing event from CSIS and public Safety Canada. Event details

2023 April: NSERC FAQ on new measures to enhance research security

2023 March 24: Government of Canada ISED National Security Guidelines for Research Partnerships - Update of the Risk Assessment Form

2023 February 14: Government of Canada Statement on protecting Canada's research

2021 March: Government of Canada ISED Research Security Policy Statement

Ongoing: Updates to the community from the Vice-President Research and International and the Executive Director, Research Operations


Government of Canada

Universities Canada



Research security training courses

Last updated: May 18, 2024