Partnerships and opportunities: academia

Defence Research and Development Canada (DRDC) collaborative activities with academic institutions to date encompass the following:

  • Contributions in-kind towards a common objective (collaborative agreements)
  • Cost shared initiatives in pursuing a common science and technology objective
  • Exchanges of personnel at the cost of the parent employer
  • External academic activities by DRDC’s scientists such as: adjunct professorships, research associates, honorary research associates and teachers
  • Student employment via the Federal Students Work Experience Program
  • College and university co-op programs
  • Research Affiliate Program

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As part of the Defence and Security Science and Technology Strategy, DRDC is undertaking to increase engagement activities in areas where expertise lies within the national innovation system. In order to access external science and technology capabilities, new partnerships and delivery models are being developed. In this context, academic institutions are important partners for DRDC.

DRDC and the Royal Military College of Canada (RMCC) have a strategic partnership. Being under one department – the Department of National Defence, the two entities form a natural bond addressing the challenges of the Canadian Armed Forces jointly with the involvement of students and other universities. DRDC leverages RMCC’s vast network on topic-specific issues on a case by case basis.

Partnership with the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) to Support Discovery Research

The DRDC  partnership with the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) will provide up to 20 research supplements of $120,000 ($40,000 annually over three years) to support unclassified university-based research dedicated to the development of non-weapon-specific technologies with dual-use applications in defence and security areas.

Applicants to the current NSERC Discovery Grant competition will be considered for the DND/NSERC Discovery Grant Supplement, based in part on their evaluation results and the extent to which the proposed research activity addresses the Defence and Security Target Areas identified by DRDC. As part of the Discovery Grants application process, applicants will be asked to indicate their interest in being considered for the new supplement and provide written justification of how their proposed research fits within these target areas.

The target areas are:

  • Autonomous Systems and Robotics
  • Information Management and Data Science
  • Human Systems Performance and Protection
  • Resilient Networked Systems
  • Explosive Hazard Avoidance, Blast Characterization and Mitigation
  • Next Generation Material Systems and Signatures

These funds may be used to expand the recipient’s research group (e.g., students, postdoctoral fellows, technicians), to purchase or access specialized equipment, or for other initiatives or resources that would accelerate the recipient’s research program.

For more information, go to the NSERC website or send an email to

DND/NSERC Research Partnership Program

DND and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) have established a jointly managed and funded DND/NSERC Research Partnership Grant that aims to:

  • capitalize on the complementary research and development capacity existing in the universities and in DND in order to generate new knowledge and support the development of new technical capabilities relevant to the development and application of dual-use technologies in selected areas of interest to both DND and NSERC
  • build strong two- and three-way linkages and create synergy between researchers in DND and universities and the private sector
  • achieve the efficient and effective transfer of research results and technology to identified receptors in the public and the private sector

Joint Initiative with the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council

Defence Research and Development Canada (DRDC) and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) have signed a joint initiative agreement to support social sciences and humanities research and related activities pertaining to military personnel readiness, organizational and operational effectiveness, and human effectiveness in modern operations.

DRDC conducts social science research to support the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) and the Department of National Defence (DND) in developing effective, efficient and affordable evidence-based strategies, policies, programs, procedures, processes and technologies. Additional information is available on the SSHRC website:

The topics of interest to DND/CAF under this program include:

  • Personnel – Recruitment and Selection
  • Readiness – Training and Development
  • Social Processes in the Workplace
  • Operational Effectiveness

Canadian Institute for Military and Veteran Health Research (CIMVHR)

In partnership with the Canadian Armed Forces Office of the Surgeon General, Chief Military Personnel, Veterans Affairs, and other stakeholders, DRDC has aided the stand-up of the Canadian Institute of Military and Veteran Health Research (CIMVHR) which consists of a network of 46 Canadian universities who have agreed to work together to address the health research requirements of the Canadian military, Veterans and their families. The institute acts as a conduit between the academic community and research funding organizations.  On behalf of funding organizations, CIMVHR distributes requests-for-proposals to researchers through its network of universities and manages the task through the scientific peer-review process to the completion of the project. 

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