The Canadian government has announced to end all research funding with the Chinese military and state security institutions and urged the provinces and universities to adopt similar national security measures, The Globe and Mail reported.
Innovation Minister Francois-Phillipe Champagne announced on Tuesday that Ottawa has instructed the Canada Foundation for Innovation and federal research granting councils to screen funding requests from Canadian universities that are collaborating on sensitive research with China and other hostile states.
Last month, Champagne vowed to bring the new national-security rules to protect from slipping technology into the hands of China and other hostile countries.
On January 30, the Globe reported that the joint projects with China’s National University of Defence Technology (NUDT). Some of the Chinese military scientists who were involved are experts in missile performance and guidance systems, mobile robotics, and automated surveillance, according to The Globe and Mail.
“Grant applications that involve conducting research in a sensitive research area will not be funded if any of the researchers working on the project are affiliated with a university, research institute, or laboratory connected to the military, national defence, or state security entities of foreign state actors that pose a risk to our national security,” Champagne said in a statement Tuesday.
He added the government has also written to Universities Canada and the U15 Group of Canadian Research Universities urging them to follow similar guidelines for all their research partnerships, and “more particularly those partnerships involving sensitive research areas.”
Champagne said the new policy will be implemented rapidly and in close consultation with government departments, national security agencies, and the Canadian research community., as per the reports in The Globe and Mail.
“We will work closely with our university-sector colleagues to ensure these additional steps are implemented effectively,” he said.
In 2021, Canada put stricter guidelines for the national security reviews for academics seeking federal funding from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC). But that did not apply to other federal funding bodies.
Meanwhile, Margaret McCuaig-Johnston, former executive vice-president of NSERC called the Canadian government’s announcement “a very good step,” according to The Globe and Mail.
She said that Canada should prepare a comprehensive list of all academic institutions and labs to be avoided, reported The Globe and Mail.
While giving the details about the Chinese universities, Johnston said that in China alone there are about 65 universities and teaching institutions for the military. And there are 160 other military-focused labs in civilian Chinese universities, she said. “A list of all of these should be provided to the universities and federal granting councils.”
She said federally funded Genome Canada should also be required to break off research with China’s BGI Group, formerly Beijing Genomics Institute, which works closely with the People’s Liberation Army.
Johnston said collaborating with civilian researchers in China is also risky because they too are obliged to work with the Chinese military if requested. (ANI)