Canada announces rules to protect intellectual property

Ottawa will limit funding for projects that include researchers from institutions with ties to foreign governments.

Francois-Philippe Champagne talking with his hands held out.
Canada's International Trade Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne speaks during an interview at the APEC Ministers Responsible For Trade meeting in Hanoi, Vietnam, May 21, 2017 [REUTERS/Kham]

Canadian authorities have announced new restrictions on research grants designed to block funding for projects that include researchers affiliated with institutions with ties to foreign governments that pose a risk to national security.

Industry Minister François-Philippe Champagne and Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos have instructed federal grant-making officials and an innovation fund to institute new limitations on researchers seeking research investments.

“This new action is one of many significant steps the Government of Canada is taking to protect our country, our institutions and our intellectual property,” the officials said in a statement. “Protecting Canadian research is our top priority.”

The announcement comes months after Canada launched a 2.3 billion Canadian-dollar ($1.7bn) Indo-Pacific strategy to boost military and cybersecurity in the region. Canada also said it would tighten foreign investment rules to protect intellectual property and prevent Chinese state-owned enterprises from snapping up critical mineral supplies.

As part of the new rules announced on Tuesday, funding will be denied to applicants seeking to conduct research in sensitive subjects if any researchers are affiliated with a university or entities connected to foreign militaries or security agencies that are viewed as a threat to Canada.

The order was directed to the Canada Foundation for Innovation and the country’s federal research granting councils.

The ministers also urged that Universities Canada and the U15 Group of Canadian Research Universities adopt similar guidelines.

Source: Reuters