McGill boosts research security, compliance, with new office

The Office of Research Security and Compliance is among the largest in any Canadian university focused on protecting intellectual property, discouraging research misappropriation, and ensuring proper stewardship of research partnerships

McGill has established an office dedicated to ensuring that researchers and their network of international and industry collaborators have the support they need to follow the processes and guidelines for advancing open and collaborative research in a way that also safeguards research from foreign interference.

The McGill Research Security and Compliance Office, established in August 2023 in McGill’s Innovation and Partnerships (I+P) unit, has four dedicated team members, making it among the largest in any Canadian University. Its mandate is to conduct research risk assessments in accordance with federally determined laws and protocols.

The Office also plays a key role in facilitating understanding and communicating best practices around research and data management, research partnerships, and licensing agreements. Its staff liaise with other units at McGill involved in research security, for example, Information Technology (IT) Services, and Legal Services. Compliance within McGill will also be a focus, including the prompt processing of Conflict-of-Interest declarations.

“McGill has a long-held commitment to openness in academic research and international collaboration,” said Martha Crago, Vice-Principal, Research and Innovation. “The University is equally dedicated to ensuring the security of its research and to implementing protections against foreign interference. The Office of Research Security and Compliance is an important resource for our research community as they embark on new research partnerships.”

In recent years, McGill and other Canadian Universities have been working in tandem with the Canadian Government on the issue of research security, in part, through the creation of the Government of Canada – Universities Working Group and the development of the National Security Guidelines for Research Partnerships. In June, the U15 published a Guide for Safeguarding Research in Canada. Yet concerns remain that some foreign governments do not demonstrate a dedication to open scientific exchange, and rather seek to exploit Canadian and international research environments.

A comprehensive FAQ document, which details the specific terms and applications of the Policy, is available on the Government of Canada’s Safeguarding Your Research Portal. Researchers who wish to contact the Office of Research Security and Compliance at McGill may do so at the following dedicated email address: research.security@mcgill.ca.

 

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