Mobilizing Insights in Defence and Security (MINDS) – Annual report 2021-2022

Message from the Assistant Deputy Minister (Policy)

Peter Hammerschmidt, Assistant Deputy Minister (Policy)

The third year of the Mobilizing Insights in Defence and Security (MINDS) Program was marked by significant challenges in the global security environment and within the defence institution itself. In response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the program responded quickly to internal requests for support and convened a panel of experts who, in conversation with internal practitioners, explored the conditions for and likely trajectories of conflict escalation. Similarly, as efforts to change the culture of defence began, MINDS’ Collaborative Networks, Rapid Response Mechanism, and other capabilities were leveraged to gather candid, constructive, and innovative advice to tackle the most fundamental challenge facing the Defence Team. In addition, MINDS facilitated numerous relevant and timely engagements on the Middle East, the Indo-Pacific, emerging technology, and other key issues.

Internally, the program has applied innovative methods and new tools to meet the growing demand for external expertise and the growing supply of prospective funding applicants and partners. New tools like MS Access and Power BI have enhanced the program’s already strong commitment to data-driven decision-making. Similarly, the application of Agile and Design Thinking methodologies have yielded new insights about the program’s role and contribution to its diverse community of potential clients and stakeholders.

Through its sustained outreach activities, the program has ensured its suite of funded activities remain relevant to the immediate and emerging challenges facing the department. In doing so, the program’s role in facilitating conversation has grown, and is evidence of the value that dialogue and knowledge exchange present to internal and external partners alike.

I am confident that MINDS will continue to be a critical enabler of the defence policy making process and will deliver valuable insights on emerging challenges in the year ahead.

Peter Hammerschmidt
Assistant Deputy Minister (Policy)
Department of National Defence

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Executive Summary

In its third year of operations the MINDS program was focused on continuing to foster new partnerships, meet the increasing demand for external expertise among DND/CAF practitioners, and innovating on and up-scaling the program’s internal processes. In collaboration with a diverse and growing network of national and international experts and internal partners, MINDS again generated valuable insights and a space for conversation and thinking on the most pressing challenges facing the Defence Team, including culture change, continental defence, the war in Ukraine, and military capabilities.

Through its diverse and flexible mechanisms, MINDS has reaffirmed itself as an agile and relevant enabler for policy and decision makers alike.

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Minds received applications from around the world

Long description follows

In 2021-2022 MINDS…

  • Launched 3 Collaborative Networks
  • Funded 46 Targeted Engagement Grants
  • Hosted 21 Expert Briefing Events
  • Awarded 28 Scholarships
  • Provided 1 Rapid Response

MINDS received applications from around the world

  • MINDS identifies and creates inclusive opportunities to amplify diverse voices in defence and security, including those of women, Indigenous peoples, youth, and other underrepresented groups.
  • Collaborative Networks and Expert Briefers engage with and inform the ongoing work of the Defence Team.
  • MINDS fosters collaboration and builds connections between DND/CAF and the expert community.
  • MINDS employs design thinking, agile methods, digital tools and other innovative approaches to maximize the impact and benefits of external expert engagement.

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Year in Review

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Insight and Innovation

In 2021-22, insights drawn from the MINDS program’s various pillars proved to be invaluable enablers for policy makers in confronting the difficult challenges facing the department, from culture change and emerging technology, to the Russian invasion of Ukraine and climate insecurity. Innovation remains central to the program’s ethos, ensuring that MINDS' capabilities scale for external expertise, and the program achieves its objectives of:

Growing Supply & Demand

Deliberate and sustained promotional outreach and relationship building efforts by the MINDS team have yielded increased awareness of how the program can support the work of the Defence Team, and consequently, increased demand for external expert engagement in 2021-22. Emerging issues prompted defence and security practitioners to seek expertise and engage externally to better anticipate, adapt, and act with more comprehensive and nuanced understanding, in the ever-changing security environment. Introductory briefings to senior officials and a growing sense of ‘brand recognition’ at the working-level have solidified MINDS as a valuable enabler for policy and decision makers alike, and as an important node in the defence and security community. Similarly, the program now sustains its full complement of nine collaborative networks, the volume of Targeted Engagement Grant applicants continues to grow year-on-year, and the program receives numerous submissions for potential expert briefers each month.

Driving Innovation and Efficiency

To meet the growing demand for and the reach of MINDS, a number of important innovations and improvements in the management and operations of the program were pursued. Revised evaluation rubrics infused greater rigour and yielded more nuanced assessments in the grant and network competition processes. New data management and analysis tools, including MS Access and Power BI, were integrated to improve the efficiency of evaluation processes and to enable data-driven decision making and planning. Lastly, the MINDS SharePoint site grew as an important source for on-demand research, expert briefings, and guidance on maximizing the value of external engagement.

Challenges Tackled

The 2021-22 MINDS Policy Challenges articulated the key strategic policy issues facing the Defence Team. The challenges are co-developed with key stakeholders from across DND/CAF and tie the various program elements together to ensure that funding decisions are aligned with National Defence and broader Government of Canada priorities as they evolve. Applicants for Targeted Engagement Grants, Collaborative Networks and Scholarships must demonstrate how their research proposals will address at least one of these Challenges.

In 2021-22, two new Challenges were added related to Climate Change and Defence’s Role in Pandemic Preparedness and Recovery. A list of all Challenges is below and a more detailed overview of the associated key questions is available at Annex B.

FY 2021-2022 Policy Challenges

Long description follows

FY 2021-2022 Policy Challenges

Well-Supported, Diverse, Resilient People and Families

  • Creative Recruitment and Retention Models
  • Innovative Approaches to Force Mix and Structure
  • Addressing and Preventing Sexual Misconduct
  • Addressing and Preventing Hateful Conduct and Radicalization

A Changing security Environment

  • The Rise of Grey Zone Conflict: Below Threshold Tactics and Hybrid Warfare
  • The Evolving Role of Major Powers
  • Climate Change as a Threat to National Resilience

Global Defence Engagement

  • National Resilience and Continental Defence
  • Defence Role in Pandemic Response
  • Canada’s Defence Relationships

Approach to Defence: Anticipate

  • Anticipating Future Challenges

Approach to Defence: Adapt

  • Cyber, Space, and Information as Operational Domains
  • The Role of Artificial Intelligence
  • Emerging Technology and Military Application
  • Defence Role in the Arctic
  • Defence Procurement

Approach to Defence: Act

  • The Future of Capacity Building

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A – Expert Briefing Series

Through the Expert Briefing Series (EBS), top Canadian and international defence and security experts are invited to brief the Defence Team and Government of Canada officials on priority issues. Through virtual webinars and roundtable discussions, defence and security practitioners engage in rich conversations with leading experts and diverse thinkers.

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In 2021/2022, MINDS hosted more than 21 expert briefings and roundtable engagements on a range of complex challenges. A detailed list of all engagements is included at Annex C, with highlights including:


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Dr. Joana Cook

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Dr. Andy Knight

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Huda Mukbil

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Shree Paradkar


Dr. Joana Cook, Assistant Professor at Leiden University examined the roles of women and gender in counterterrorism in the 20 years after 9/11.

Dr. Andy Knight, Professor at the University of Alberta, Huda Mukbil, a former Senior Intelligence Officer at the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, and Shree Paradkar, a Toronto Star columnist discussed systemic racism in Canadian society and DND/CAF.

Gen. (ret.) Stanley A. McChrystal, a senior fellow at Yale University presented key insights from his latest book Risk: A User’s Guide.

Dr. James Acton, Co-director of the Nuclear Policy Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, and Dr. Seva Gunitsky, Associate Professor at the University of Toronto discussed Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the conditions and potential for escalation.

Dr. Peter W. Singer, Principal at Useful Fiction LLC and Strategist at New America delivered a briefing on emerging technology in great power competition and the future of conflict.


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Gen. (ret.) Stanley A. McChrystal

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Dr. James Acton

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Dr. Seva Gunitsky

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Dr. Peter W. Singer

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B - Targeted Engagement Grants

MINDS funds projects which drive innovation, amplify expert and diverse voices, spark wider discussions, and inform policy discussions on important and timely defence and security issues. The grants provide up to $50,000 in non-recurring financial support for projects such as conferences, roundtables, workshops, research, and publications. To continue to foster the next generation of experts, grants valued at $10,000 are also available under the Young MINDS Initiative for undergraduate students.

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Funding Results

Long description follows

95 Applied

  • $3,647,135 Requested
  • 88 Grants
  • 7 Young Minds

46 Funded

  • $1,817,824 Disbursed
  • 43 Grants
  • 3 Young MINDS

MINDS issued calls for applications in January and September 2021. The program once again received a high number of applications from across Canada and around the world, covering all policy challenges. More than $1.8 million in grant funding was awarded for projects that provided new perspectives and opportunities for collaboration, and helped advance defence priorities.

Long description follows


  • Ontario
  • Quebec
  • British Columbia
  • International
  • United States
  • Atlantic
  • Prairies

Regional Distribution of Applications Received in 2020-2021

  • Ontario – 42 (48%)
  • Quebec – 12 (14%)
  • British Columbia – 11 (13%)
  • International – 8 (9%)
  • United States – 7 (8%)
  • Atlantic – 4 (5%)
  • Prairies – 4 (5%)

Regional Distribution of Applications Since 2019

  • Ontario – 137 (43%)
  • British Columbia – 44 (14%)
  • Quebec – 39 (12%)
  • United States – 34 (11%)
  • International – 27 (8%)
  • Prairies – 22 (7%)
  • Atlantic – 15 (5%)

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An overview of all funded projects is included in Annex D. highlights from the year include:

The International Crisis Group

The International Crisis Group conducted a five part series of seminars focusing on various regional issues related to great power competition and Canada’s defence relations.

Valens Global

Valens Global produced an innovative analysis on the role of emerging technologies, tactics, techniques, and procedures of information operations in the grey zone.

Canadian Global Affairs Institute

Canadian Global Affairs Institute organized a series of webinars, research papers, and expert presentations on how to modernize continental defence.

Queen’s University

A team from Queen’s University produced an intersectional analysis of sexual misconduct in the Canadian Armed Forces focusing on impacts on Indigenous servicewomen.


Young MINDS recipients organized a one-day seminar on the changing realities in the Asia-Pacific and produced a novel hack-a-thon on responses to potential grey zone attacks.


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C - Collaborative Networks


MINDS Collaborative Networks bring together multi-disciplinary teams of distinguished experts, from across Canada and abroad. Each Network receives up to $750,000 over three years to enable more sustained collaboration, and supports DND/CAF through advanced research and activities.


Respond to the need for relevant and timely advice from defence and security experts

  • Special reports and briefings on priority subjects
  • Promoting partnerships and collaborating with DND/CAF through on-demand expertise and engagement 

Foster the next generation of experts and scholars

  • Student symposia, summer programs, and networking fora
  • Job opportunities for graduate students, emerging scholars, and next generation researchers

Contribute to Canadians' understanding of defence and security issues

  • Bilingual podcasts
  • Publicly available webinar recordings
  • Virtual events and webinar series
  • Scholarly outputs, policy-relevant reports, event videos

Expertise On-Demand

MINDS’ Networks were called upon to help inform the continental defence and NORAD modernization policymaking process. Network members provided policy notes on key questions related to emerging threats, great power competition, domestic operations, the Canadian Rangers, and more. The timely and relevant insights provided in response to this call for support was well-received and provided valuable inputs in developing considerations and options for continental defence going forward.

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Highlights from the latest Networks


Canadian Network on Information and Security (CANIS)
University of Calgary

  • Conducted research on (mis)information on social media, diaspora influence on foreign policy of host-states, impact of ideology on foreign policy, and assessed public perception of diversity and inclusion issues in the CAF
  • Readily responded to information requests from DND/CAF/GoC
  • Hosted a New Scholars Networking Event and prepared for the inaugural CANIS Summer School to be launched in summer 2022

Co-Directors: Dr. Jean-Christophe Boucher & Dr. Erin Gibbs Van Brunschott


Research Network on Women, Peace, and Security (RN-WPS)
McGill University

  • Recruited Network members to support activities, such as contributions to a blog post series or an analysis of Canada’s feminist foreign policy
  • Hosted a dialogue and teach-in between scholars and public servants focused on sharing the lessons learned from the previous Canadian National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security
  • Organized its first annual symposium which showcased the most recent academic work related to MINDS policy challenges

Co-Directors: Dr. Jennifer Welsh, Dr. Yolande Bouka, Dr. Erin Baines


Canadian Military Sexual Trauma Collaborative Network
McMaster University

  • Hosted three online symposiums on sexual misconduct in the CAF
  • Continued hosting bi-weekly Community of Practice meetings with partners at DND/CAF, MRC, and Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC)
  • Delivered presentations on its activities and research findings to government stake holders to enhance relationships with DND/CAF and increase knowledge exchange and mobilization on sexual misconduct-related topics.

Director: Dr. Margaret McKinnon


2020-21 Network Highlights


Network for Strategic Analysis
(Queen’s University)

  • Launched Le Rubicon, a French-language platform for analysis and debate on strategy, defence, and foreign affairs
  • Delivered numerous virtual events on capacity building, peace keeping, NATO, international order, and more
  • Held a successful annual symposium in Ottawa with strong DND/CAF participation

Directors: Dr. Stéfanie von Hlatky and Dr. Justin Massie

2019-2020 Network Highlights


Defence and Security Foresight Group
(University of Waterloo)

  • Hosted regional and thematic workshops and virtual foresight activities
  • Co-hosted webinars with Women in International Security Canada and NAADSN on applying GBA+ to research
  • Published a variety of regional and thematic policy briefs and reports

Director: Dr. Bessma Momani


Innovative Methodologies for Defence Challenges Network
(Archipelago of Design)

  • Provided design thinking professional development and support to the Special Operations Forces and community
  • Produced the first season of AOD Connect, a digital media series focused on design methods and practitioners
  • Continued work on the ‘serious games’ Albatross and Organic Design projects

Directors: Dr. Philippe Dufort and Dr. Philippe Beaulieu-Brossard


North American and Arctic Defence and Security Network
(Trent University)

  • Contributed extensively to continental defence policymaking through policy briefs and other activities
  • Hosted the highly successful Arctic Academic eTalks series with American and other international partners
  • Hosted the second annual Student Seminar focused on modernizing North American Defence and Strategic Competition.

Director: Dr. Whitney Lackenbauer


Network for Research on Hateful Conduct and Right-Wing Extremism in the CAF
(Ontario Technical University)

  • Hosted webinars and discussions on countering extremism
  • Published on gender inequality in the CAF and the impacts of toxic masculinity

Directors: Dr. Barbara Perry and Dr. David Hofmann


Security-Policy Nexus of Emerging Technology Network

  • Produced briefing notes assessing the implications and ethics of emerging technologies
  • Conducted research on the use of AI in battlespaces, as well as the ethical and legal considerations that arise from its applications

Director: Dr. Kash Khorasani


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A Growing Network... of Networks

A call for Network applications was launched in November 2021, resulting in a record 16 applications. Applicants were primarily from academia (11), but also non-governmental organizations (3), and private entities (1). After a rigorous evaluation process, the three Collaborative Networks selected for 2022-23 were: 

Regional Distribution of Applications Received in 2020-2021

Long description follows


  • ON – 7 (44%)
  • AB – 3 (19%)
  • BC – 3 (19%)
  • NS – 2 (13%)
  • QC – 1 (6%) 

Canadian Defence and Security Network (CDSN)
Carleton University

The Canadian Defence and Security Network will expand upon its current research agenda as an existing national network to focus on the impacts of global emergencies on Canada. CDSN’s research will provide relevant and timely defence policy thinking on climate security, global health security, natural disaster response, and supply chain security.

Director: Dr. Stephen M. Saideman


North American and Arctic Defence and Security Network (NAADSN)
Trent University

A returning Network, the North American and Arctic Defence and Security Network will build on previous work and continue to conduct cutting-edge research on Arctic and continental defence issues. NAADSN will test core assumptions, prompt policy innovation, and provide relevant and timely expert advice on the opportunities and threats facing Canada.

Director: Dr. Whitney Lackenbauer


Transforming Military Cultures Network (TMC)
Mount Saint Vincent University

The Transforming Military Cultures Network will inform ongoing efforts to foster culture change in the Defence Team. The network’s research will examine the root causes of discrimination, hateful & sexual misconduct, and systemic racism, and will provide practical policy insights by drawing on diverse perspectives, including those with lived experiences, and international lessons learned.

Directors: Dr. Maya Eichler, Dr. Nancy Taber & Dr. Tammy George


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D - Scholarships

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MINDS is committed to fostering the next generation of defence and security experts. In 2021-22, the MINDS Scholarship initiative and the NATO Defense College (NDC) Fellowship continued to thrive.

MINDS-SSHRC Joint Scholarships Initiative

MINDS scholarships offer research awards and supplements at the master’s, doctoral, and postdoctoral levels to students and researchers whose work relates to the MINDS Policy Challenges. The program contributes to the development of a growing, inclusive, and diverse expertcommunity, notably through one-year awards for Indigenous master’s students studying defence and security issues.

55 Applications 21 Funded
Type of Research Training Award # awards distributed Value ($)
MINDS Initiative Postdoctoral Fellowships (up to 2 years) 1 90,000
MINDS Initiative Doctoral Awards (up to 3 years) 2 210,000
1-year MINDS Initiative Doctoral Awards 3 105,000
MINDS Scholarship Initiative Supplements (1 year, non-renewable) - Master's 12 120,000
MINDS Master's Scholarships Indigenous Students 3 52,500
Total 21 577,500

NATO Defence College Fellowship

The NATO Defense College (NDC) Fellowship provides a unique opportunity for a Canadian researcher to work alongside experts from across allied countries at the NATO Defence College in Rome, Italy. The Fellowship contributes to Canada’s commitment to NATO, and helps advance both Canada and the Alliance’s strategic objectives, through forward-looking research and collaboration.

2022 NATO Defence College Fellowship


Dr. Alexandra Gheciu

Dr. Gheciu will apply her Canadian foreign policy and NATO expertise to cutting edge research on the opportunities and challenges facing Canada and NATO in an increasingly complex security environment.


E - Rapid Response Mechanism

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The Rapid Response Mechanism is contingency funding that enables MINDS to readily respond to new, evolving, and pressing security and defence challenges, facilitating quick access to high quality advice from external experts to support the Defence Team in making informed policy decisions.

In 2021-2022, the Vote 1 portion of this funding was utilized to support DND/CAF’s ongoing culture change effort. In collaboration with the Chief Professional Conduct and Culture and key leaders from across the Defence Team, MINDS organized a series of engagement sessions with Elizabeth Broderick, Chair-Rapporteur of the UN Working Group on Discrimination against Women and Girls, and Australia’s longest serving Sex Discrimination Commissioner (2007-2015).

The engagement sessions targeted key issues where DND/CAF could benefit from this external expertise, and was focused on encouraging individual and collective action, and leadership and organizational adaptation to create a more resilient, inclusive, and respectful Defence Team.

A number of projects to support this departmental priority were also funded through MINDS’ Targeted Engagement Grant pillar, supplemented by Vote 10 funds from the Rapid Response Mechanism.

As part of MINDS support to culture change initiatives, two projects received $82,000 in Rapid Response Mechanism funding to conduct research on:

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The Year Ahead

Signals from our networks

In order to maintain strategic alignment with emerging defence priorities, the MINDS program will conduct targeted internal outreach in 2022-23. In particular, the program will deepen existing and develop new relationships with the Policy Advisor (POLAD) cadre who are embedded in key stakeholder organizations or deployed outside Canada. Similarly, MINDS will work with the policymakers responsible for the Defence Policy Update and ensure we are aligned with and positioned to support the priorities identified through the process. Maintaining strong situational awareness of the range of actors and activities tackling defence policy challenges is central to MINDS’ ability to deliver relevant and timely support. As such, the program will establish an Outreach and Communications Coordinator role to ensure the program is ready to respond to emerging challenges and requests for support. The Coordinator will also be responsible for maintaining the program’s forthcoming newsletter, which alongside revisions to the MINDS website, will enable the Defence Team to stay well-informed of the opportunities and tools available through MINDS.

Finding and Fostering the Next Generation

After more than a year of deliberate and sustained outreach activities, MINDS will look to once again broaden and diversify its pool of applicants. Through a market research and gap analysis initiative, the program will take a data-driven and GBA Plus-informed approach to identify new applicant pools, potential external partners, and explore the potential barriers to prospective applicants. Lessons learned from recent improvements to the grant and network evaluation processes will be applied to the Scholarships and Young MINDS pillars, with particular attention paid to the accessibility of the application process and evaluation methods used. Leveraging in-house GBA Plus expertise and the strong partnership MINDS maintains with the Director for Gender Equity and Intersectional Analysis, the program will endeavour to do even more to support young and emerging scholars.

Five Eyes and Beyond

After three years, the MINDS program is firmly established as a valuable enabler for DND/CAF and a vital means of access and support among the defence and security expert community. In the coming year, MINDS will invest in building relationships with similar research and outreach-focused entities among the Five Eyes defence organizations and in NATO. The program is already supporting the establishment of the new NATO Climate and Security Centre of Expertise, but this is only the beginning. After undertaking an environment scan and engagement planning process, MINDS will build and strengthen connections with like-minded, innovative organizations around the world. 

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Stay in touch! Follow. Share. Apply.

CanadianForces #MINDS

NationalDefence #MINDS

Follow our collaborative networks

North American and Arctic Defence and Security Network

Security-Policy Nexus of Emerging Technology Network

Defence and Security Foresight Group

Network for Strategic Analysis

Innovative Methodologies for Defence Challenges Network

Network for Research on Hateful Conduct in the CAF

Pan-Canadian Sexual Misconduct During Military Service Collaborative Network

Research Network on Women, Peace and Security

Canadian Network on Information and Security

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Annex A: The MINDS Program

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Expert Briefing Series

Featuring leading thinkers to deliver focused presentations and stimulate exchanges

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Targeted Engagement Grants

Funding projects that creatively explore and aim to propose solutions to defence challenges

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Collaborative Networks

Supporting regionally diverse, multi-disciplinary teams that collaborate on research themes to deliver in-depth analysis and policy recommendations

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Rapid Response Mechanism

Leveraging immediate expert support to respond to evolving critical issues and new requirements

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Fostering the next generation of defence and security experts

Amplifying Diverse Voices

MINDS has an important role to play in promoting diversity and amplifying a broad spectrum of voices in the defence and security community, including women, Indigenous peoples, youth, and other underrepresented groups. Applicants must demonstrate how they factor Gender Based Analysis Plus (GBA Plus) considerations into the design of their proposals, and are encouraged to include multiple perspectives. MINDS continued to work with DND’s Directorate for Gender Equality and Intersectional Analysis and the broader expert community in that field, to ensure that the defence and security sector continues to learn, grow, and reflect the fabric and values of the Canadian population.


The MINDS Steering Committee, composed of senior representatives from organizations across the Defence Team, serves as a high-level departmental advisory body focused on ensuring alignment, transparency, and efficiency in the management of the program. This includes supporting the development of MINDS priorities and challenges, reviewing and endorsing funding recommendations, communicating defence’s needs for external expertise, and promoting the MINDS program.

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Annex B: MINDS Policy Challenges

Theme One: Well-supported, Diverse, Resilient People And Families

Creative recruitment and retention models

Innovative approaches to force mix and structure

Addressing and Preventing Sexual Misconduct

Addressing and Preventing Hateful Conduct and Radicalization

Theme Two: A Changing Security Environment

The Rise of Grey Zone Conflict: Below Threshold Tactics and Hybrid Warfare

The Evolving Role of Major Powers

Climate Change as a Growing Threat to National Resilience

Theme Three: Global Defence Engagement

National Resilience and Continental Defence

Defence Role in Pandemic Preparedness and Recovery

Canada’s Defence Relationships

Theme Four: Approach to Defence: Anticipate

Anticipating Future Challenges

Theme Five: Approach to Defence: Adapt

Cyber, Space, and Information as Operational Domains

The Role of Artificial Intelligence

Emerging Technology and Military Application

Defence Role in the Arctic

Defence Procurement

Theme Six: Approach to Defence: Act

The Future of Capacity Building

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Annex C: Virtual Expert Briefing Series

Chris O’Dea
April 2021
Bridging the Gap: China’s Infrastructure Imperialism

Christopher O’Dea delivered a briefing on China’s acquisition of economic infrastructure through state-owned enterprises in an effort to increase its global influence and political power. Mr. O’Dea spoke to the conclusions found in his MINDS-funded report, entitled Security Implications of Commercial Infrastructure in an Era of Gray-Zone Conflict with China.

Indigenous Awareness Week
May 2021
Indigenous Forces: Indigenous Identity, Inclusion, and Community in the CAF

MINDS hosted a panel discussion as part of Indigenous Awareness Week featuring Chief Warrant Officer Joel Pedersen, Chief Petty Officer 2nd Class (ret.) Debbie Eisan, and Captain Dustin Lebel, and moderator Dr. P. Whitney Lackenbauer.

David Morin and Marie-Ève Carignan
June 2021
From Mistrust to Misinformation: Conspiratorial thinking and its potentially violent effects in Canada

David Morin and Marie-Ève Carignan delivered a briefing on the causes and consequences of conspiracies surrounding the coronavirus in Canada, focusing in on how this may result in violent outcomes. They shared the results of their MINDS-funded study of Canadian conspiracy theories and actors that have been active on social media since the beginning of the pandemic.

International Crisis Group (ICG)
July 2021
Rising Tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean

In partnership with MINDS, the International Crisis Group hosted a virtual roundtable on tension in the Eastern Mediterranean. The event covered the objectives and strategies of Turkish, European, and Middle Eastern actors involved, and fostered discussion on the synthesis of practical policy options for stakeholders to support de-escalation, and nudge regional players towards cooperation rather than brinkmanship.

Timothy Choi
September 2021
Beneath the Surface: The Future of Canada’s Submarine Fleet

Timothy Choi, a doctoral candidate at the University of Calgary’s Centre for Military, Security and Strategic Studies, delivered a briefing and participated in a roundtable on the capabilities and future of Canada’s submarine fleet.

Joana Cook
October 2021
Women and Counter-Terrorism: 20 years after 9/11

Dr. Joana Cook, an Assistant Professor of Terrorism and Political Violence at Leiden University, delivered an expert briefing and participated in a roundtable on the roles of women and gender in counterterrorism in the 20 years after 9/11. Dr. Cook spoke to the conclusions found in her MINDS-funded report entitled Women and Counter-Terrorism: 20 Years after 9/11.

Dina Esfandiary
October 2021
Shifting Sands: The Gulf Cooperation Council and Security Trends in the Middle East

Dr. Dina Esfandiary, a Senior Advisor on the Middle East and North Africa with the International Crisis Group, delivered a briefing and participated in a roundtable on emerging security trends in the Middle East.

International Crisis Group (ICG)
October 2021
Russia’s aims, strategies and policy in the European Neighbourhood and beyond

In partnership with MINDS, the International Crisis Group hosted a virtual roundtable on Russia’s aims, strategies, and motivations in its region; how domestic considerations and geopolitical rivalries affect Russia’s actions in Ukraine and Nagorno-Karabakh; the drivers behind the Russia-U.S. standoff; and to identify potential areas of de-escalation or collaboration.

International Crisis Group (ICG)
November 2021
Russia’s aims, strategies and policy in Syria

In partnership with MINDS, the International Crisis Group hosted a virtual roundtable on Russia’s aims, strategies, and policy in Syria. The discussion sought to generate the actionable policy-thinking required to consolidate existing ceasefires, alleviate the ongoing humanitarian crisis, and pave the way for more substantive efforts to secure Syria’s future.

Mary Donohue
November 2021
Digital Wellness in the New Normal: Improving Communication in the Hybrid Workplace

Dr. Mary Donohue, CEO of the Digital Wellness Centre and Columbia Business School Lang Centre Innovation Fellow, delivered an expert briefing on digital communication and adapting to remote work. Dr. Donohue spoke to her extensive research on “digital fatigue” and outlined tools to improve employee well-being and performance.

Peter Singer
December 2021
Ex Machina: Emerging Technology in Great Power Competition

Dr. Peter W. Singer, Principal at Useful Fiction LLC and Strategist at New America delivered a briefing and participated in a roundtable on emerging technology in the context of great power competition and the future of conflict.

International Crisis Group (ICG)
December 2021
Simmering Rivalries in the South China Sea

In partnership with MINDS, the International Crisis Group hosted a virtual roundtable on simmering territorial rivalries in the South China Sea. This event fostered an in-depth discussion on the aims, strategies, and motivations of rival claimants, underlined how present U.S.-China frictions could lead to a potentially dangerous escalation, and identified ways to reduce tensions in the absence of a solution to the sovereignty dispute.

Simon Thibault, Colette Brin, and Jean-Christophe Boucher
January 2022
Digital resilience: Disinformation and social fractures

Jean-Christophe Boucher, Colette Brin, and Simon Thibault presented a briefing on the information environment, social media, disinformation and misinformation.

The Dallaire Institute for Children, Peace, and Security
January 2022
Youth in Conflict: Children, Peace, and Security

Members of the Dallaire Institute for Children, Peace, and Security presented a briefing on strategies for preventing the recruitment and use of child soldiers; to advance a more nuanced understanding of children in conflict; and to develop new mechanisms for supporting child protection around the world.

Andy Knight, Huda Mukbil, and Shree Paradkar
February 2022
Systemic Racism in Canadian Defence and Security

Dr. Andy Knight, Huda Mukbil, and Shree Paradkar, participated in a panel discussion and roundtable on addressing systemic racism in Canadian society, and within the Canadian security and defence community. The panelists provided insights into the challenges associated with institutional culture change and the elimination of systemic and structural racism.

Stanley McChrystal
February 2022
Risk: A User’s Guide

Gen. (ret.) Stanley A. McChrystal presented a briefing on his latest book Risk: A User’s Guide, discussing where and how we fail to understand risk and how we can reorient our focus to better recognize threats and address our vulnerabilities in an increasingly uncertain future.

Jonathan Berkshire-Miller
February 2022
NATO Strategic Concept Seminar

The MINDS program funded Jonathan Berkshire Miller’s participation in the NATO Strategic Concept Seminar in The Hague, Netherlands and his delivery of a speech on NATO’s evolving vision of partnerships in the context of the Indo-Pacific.

Space Strategies Consulting
March 2022
Canada’s Critical Space Dependencies

Experts from Space Strategies Consulting Ltd. presented a briefing and participated in a roundtable on Canada’s critical space dependencies, discussing how space-derived capabilities are critical to modern society, what vulnerabilities can affect them, and how Canada can respond to the challenges and reap the benefits associated with the space domain.

Dr James Acton and Dr Seva Gunitsky
March 2022
War in Ukraine: Trajectories and Risks of Escalation

Dr. James Acton and Dr. Seva Gunitsky delivered an expert briefing and participated in a roundtable on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the conditions for and potential of escalation, the possible trajectories of the conflict, and the pathways to resolution.

The Stimson Center
March 2022
Hostile Waters: North Korea’s Maritime Sanctions Evasion

Members of the Stimson Center delivered an expert briefing and participated in a roundtable on North Korea’s maritime sanctions evasion tactics, including ship-to-ship transfers. The event outlined the challenges associated with addressing sanctions evasion and discussed potential strategies.

Elizabeth Broderick
March 2022
Delivering Lasting Culture Change

Elizabeth Broderick of the UN Working Group on Discrimination Against Women and Girls delivered an expert brief and participated in a roundtable on delivering lasting culture change. The brief explored culture as a precondition for inclusion, respect, and resilience in the workplace, and as an enabler of recruitment, retention, and operational effectiveness. 

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Annex D: Funding Results for Targeted Engagement Grants

Round 1

Queen’s University – Centre for International Defence Policy
Leveraging Behavioural Science Research to Support the CAF's Recruitment Efforts

Kingston, ON

Funding will support a series of social experiments aimed at better understanding how women react to various recruitment campaigns in an effort to help the Defence Team improve diversity and inclusion efforts, as well as reach the 25% target for women in the Canadian Armed Forces.

Highlighting Canada's Collaborative Defence Innovation Opportunities with the United States

Ottawa, ON; Washington, D.C.

Funding will support a survey and analysis of efforts by the US Department of Defense (DOD) to promote innovation in technology development and adoption, in an effort to draw on new commercial technologies with military application.

Queen’s University – Centre for International Defence Policy
Meeting the Pan-Domain Challenge: Comparing Canada and its Allies

Kingston, ON

Funding will support a study of the Canadian Armed Forces’ pan-domain force employment concept and compare it to what allies and partners are doing. Its objective is to see how the Canadian Armed Forces’ can better integrate traditional domains of operations, with emerging domains (i.e. space, cyber and information.)

Valens Global and Organization for the Prevention of Violence
Blind Sided: Reframing Use of Emerging Technologies in the Grey Zone Environment Through Application of Evolutionary Theory

Raleigh, NC, USA; Edmonton, AB

Funding will support a study of grey zone influence operations using evolutionary theory focusing on how grey zone mobilizations can disproportionately impact identity communities.

Leiden University
A Comparative Study of Non-State Violent Drone Use: Implications for Canadian Security Operations

The Hague, Netherlands

Funding will support research on the use of drones by non-state actors, with particular attention to terrorist groups.

Project Ploughshares
Beyond norms: military restraints for enhanced security in outer space

Ottawa, ON

Funding will support research on pathways to arms control and military restraint in outer space. The research process will include workshops and consultations with Department of National Defence & Canadian Armed Forces, civil society organisations, and academic experts.

University of Waterloo
Opportunities and Challenges? Understanding NATO's Role in the U.S.-China Rivalry

Brussels, Belgium

Funding will support a two-day workshop and interviews examining the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in the context of US-China rivalry, in particular how NATO has approached the security challenges posed by China thus far; what goals it should have in relation to China; and how it can best realise those goals given the diverse views and threat perceptions of its membership.

National School of Public Administration
Understanding misinformation and disinformation about the Arctic region and the Canadian Arctic

Gatineau, QC

Funding will support research on how cyberspace is used to carry out information campaigns (notably by Russia and Canada) in the Arctic, and how Canada can navigate them in the future.

Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada
Canada, Asia, & Arctic

Vancouver, BC

Funding will support the establishment of a Canada-Japan mechanism for research, dialogue, and policy outreach to analyze and improve Canada’s engagement with and understanding of the Asian non-Arctic States, including Russia as an Asian actor.

Université de Québec à Montréal
War on the Rocks en français

Montreal, QC

Funding will support the creation of a francophone website featuring short and practical analyses for French-speaking Canadian and non-Canadian defense professionals (academics and practitioners).

NATO Association of Canada
NATO and The Indo-Pacific Conference

Toronto, ON

Funding will support a one-day conference in August, 2021 on the Indo-Pacific. Seven high profile speakers, including the Minister of National Defence, would be brought in to discuss the various strategic views of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), Canada and United States on NATO engagement in the Indo-Pacific.

University of Victoria
Climate change in the Arctic: forecasting the preparedness of the Department of National Defence into 2070

Victoria, BC

Funding will support a study of the effects of climate change on Canadian Armed Forces operations in the Arctic, including an examination of the physical impacts on the Arctic and the organizational structure required to meet these climate challenges.

University of Stellenbosch, Queen's University
COVID-19: Comparing Domestic Military Operations

Kingston, ON; South Africa

Funding will support a study of the military’s role in supporting civilian national authorities, particularly for domestic emergency response. The project intends to identify lessons learned and best practices for the Department of National Defence & Canadian Armed Forces, through comparative case studies examining the domestic operations of militaries in 19 allied or partner countries with comparable federal systems to Canada, including as part of responses to COVID-19.

University of Victoria
Canada, Southeast Asia, and the Indo-Pacific: Engaging a Critical Region

Victoria, BC

Funding will support a series of in-person roundtables in Victoria, B.C. on the role of Southeast Asia in great power competition in the Indo-Pacific region.

Archipelago of Design
Canadian Initiative for Democratic Resilience

Ottawa, ON

Funding will support a study of efforts within the Government to protect democratic institutions, including the federal electoral process, against misinformation and cyber-attacks.

Université Saint Paul
Methods of preventing intolerance and discrimination in organizations: Canadian Armed Forces Practice Assessment Tools

Ottawa, ON

Funding will support research into methods of preventing hateful behavior and radicalization with the goal of equipping the Canadian Armed Forces, to succeed.

Crosstech, Ltd.
Leveraging Canadian Influence with Emerging Technologies to Enhance International Peace and Stability Operations

Vancouver, BC

Funding will support a survey of existing dual-use technologies in the Canadian defence sector that could be leveraged as part of capacity building activities to improve partner forces’ effectiveness in peace support operations, while bolstering Canada’s defence relationships.

Conference of Defence Associations Institute
The Youth Climate Security Summit

Ottawa, ON

Funding will support a two-day, in-person Youth Climate Security Summit in Ottawa. The summit serves to bring together student leaders from across Canada and connect them with academics, practitioners, government, and Canadian Armed Forces officials.

Round 2

École nationale d’administration publique and Université Laval
Analyse du risque politique associé au plateau continental arctique

Gatineau, QC

Funding will support a study to determine whether the establishment of the Arctic continental shelf and the overlapping claims of Russia, Canada, and Denmark could lead to conflict between these countries.

University of Calgary
Inclusivity in the Canadian Armed Forces

Calgary, AB

Funding will support public surveys to examine issues of public perception related to diversity and inclusion in the Canadian Armed Forces. The project will explore how diversity and inclusion issues affect how Canadians perceive the military, its leadership, and its embodiment of Canada’s multiculturalism.

Carleton University
The Year Ahead 2022: An International Security, Intelligence, and Defence Outlook

Ottawa, ON

Funding will support the 2022 installment of The Year Ahead conference in Ottawa, assembling academics, practitioners, and subject matter experts to discuss the most significant defence and security challenges facing Canada in the coming year.

Trent University
Arctic Defence and Security Priorities: Insights from Inuit Nunangat

Otterville, ON

Funding will support a study of the intersections of Inuit interests and priorities and DND/CAF objectives pertaining to the Arctic, continental defence, and climate change, focused on operational effectiveness and partnerships.

Queen’s University and Carleton University
Investigating Recruitment and Retention in the CAF Primary Reserve

Kingston, ON

Funding will support a study on how unit-level dynamics and initiatives affect recruitment and retention in Ontario Primary Reserve Units with a particular focus on local community demographics and the implementation of culture change initiatives.

British American Security Information Council
Risky Resources in the Arctic

London, United Kingdom

Funding will support the use of foresight scenarios to forecast challenges to a stable and peaceful Arctic posed by competition over strategic resources and sea routes made accessible by climate change. The project will also explore strategies for mitigating the risks arising from these scenarios.

British American Security Information Council
Risks to Human Security in the Arctic

London, United Kingdom

Funding will support the application of foresight and futures approaches to assessing the risks produced in the Arctic by two significant emerging factors in the region: climate change and increasing great power competition.

British American Security Information Council
Canadian Submarine Recapitalization within the Context of Climate Change

London, United Kingdom

Funding will support a study of the impact of climate change on Arctic underwater warfare requirements to inform the Royal Canadian Navy’s efforts to replace the Victoria-class submarine fleet.

St. Francis Xavier University
Arctic Maritime Partnerships: Options and Opportunities in the North American Arctic

Antigonish, NS

Funding will support a two-day workshop in 2022 with participants from Canada, the United States, and Denmark, to identify common North American Arctic defence and security concerns and develop recommendations enabling cooperation between allies.

McMaster University
Uncovering the Neural Correlates of Minority Stress in LGBTQ2S+ Military Members and Veterans in Canada

Hamilton, ON

Funding will support a study adopting an intersectional perspective in assessing how chronic experiences with discrimination, violence, and microaggressions impact brain function among LBGTQ2S+ CAF members and veterans.

McMaster University
The impact of military sexual misconduct in male Canadian Armed Forces members and Veterans

Hamilton, ON

Funding will support a study on the impact of sexual misconduct on male and male-identifying survivors with emphasis given to the mental and physical health, careers, and personal lives of CAF veterans across Canada.

Mount Saint Vincent University
How a revised masculinity can help foster cultural change in the Canadian Armed Forces

Halifax, NS

Funding will support a series of dialogues to develop new insight into the role of masculinity in military culture and how a revised understanding of masculinity in a military context can foster culture change.

Université du Québec à Montréal and Université Laval
Sa prémunir contre le pire : Vers une guerre sino-américaine pour Taiwan?

Montreal, QC

Funding will support a symposium exploring the position of Taiwan within the US-China rivalry; participants will also discuss Canada’s role in the region and how to navigate a potential conflict over Taiwan.

Carleton University
The 19th Canada-Korea Forum

Ottawa, ON

Funding will support the organization and hosting of the 19th Canada-Korea Forum, assembling experts and practitioners from Canada and the Republic of Korea to discuss pressing policy challenges facing both countries.

McMaster University
Exploring the experiences of LGBTQ2S defence members who have served in the Canadian Armed Forces

Hamilton, ON

Funding will support a series of interviews with current and former LGBTQ2S+ members of the CAF to provide insights into the unique challenges affecting recruitment, retention, and upward mobility within this community.

Canadian Global Affairs Institute
Reconciling Great Power Competition and Socio-economic Imperatives in Canadian Defence Procurement

Ottawa, ON

Funding will support a series of engagements examining strategic capability considerations and socio-economic objectives in Canadian defence procurement emerging from the resumption of great power competition.

Centre for International Governance Innovation
The Nexus of Space-Cyber: A Rising Challenge for Canada’s Defence Strategy

Waterloo, ON

Funding will support an analysis of the policy gaps and challenges facing Canada in intersections of two increasingly vital defence and security domains: cyberspace and outer space.

Valens Global
Sleeping Giants: A Simulated Study of Modern Great Power Competition

Duluth, MN

Funding will support the organization and facilitation of a war-game titled “Sleeping Giants,” providing key insight into the evolving role of major powers through a lens of sub-state proxies, the information environment, national resilience, and the capabilities of middle powers.

Institute for Peace and Diplomacy
2nd Annual Middle East Strategy Forum 2022

Toronto, ON

Funding will support the organization and facilitation of the second installment of the Middle East Security Forum: a hybrid conference on the geopolitics of the Middle East and Canadian defence policy in the region.

Conference of Defence Associations Institute
Les formations militaires à l’étranger et le multilatéralisme canadien

Ottawa, ON

Funding will support a seminar and papers on the causes, dynamics, and implications of military training abroad with an aim to provide the CAF with tools for improving Canada’s approach to developing defence relationships around the world.

Conference of Defence Associations Institute
Assessing the dialogue: evaluating the health of the civil-military relationship in Canada today

Ottawa, ON

Funding will support a study on the state of civilian-military relations in Canada, drawing on an analytical approach centred around “second order” indicators including culture, recruitment, procurement, and jointness, among others.

Conference of Defence Associations Institute
90th Annual Ottawa Conference on Security and Defence

Ottawa, ON

Funding will support a three-day international forum for thought leaders and senior government officials from around the world to inform Canadian decision-makers and provide a platform for Canada’s defence and security community to share its perspectives with a global audience.

Canadian Global Affairs Institute
Defending the Continent: A pan-Canadian and pan-domain Arctic approach

Ottawa, ON

Funding will support a series of webinars and research papers exploring the modernization of North American defence in a context defined by resurgent great power competition and the rise of powerful new operational domains.

Archipelago of Design
Mobilizing Role Playing Game Design for Anticipating Future Challenges

Ottawa, ON

Funding will support the creation of a play-based foresight capability for DND/CAF which facilitates scenario planning through a role-playing game approach to war-gaming.

Young Minds

McGill University
Hacking the Hackers: A Hackathon to Propose Responses to Grey Zone Attacks

Montreal, QC

Funding will support a hackathon to inspire new thinking on how to respond to grey zone threats facing Canada. The event will bring together analysts, CAF members, and students to identify creative and innovative solutions to predetermined challenges.

Université de Montréal
Guerre informationnelle à la russe : le conflit en Ukraine

Montreal, QC

Funding will support an analysis of Russia’s motivations for conducting cyber-attacks in the context of the hybrid war unfolding in Ukraine, exploring avenues for international and domestic prevention and capacity building.

Bishop’s University
The New Bipolarity: Where Does Canada Fit in the US-China Rivalry?

Laval, QC

Funding will support a conference on the emerging US-China rivalry and its impact on Canadian interests, assembling experts with diverse perspectives to identify strategies Canada can adopt in the years ahead to pursue its interests in an increasingly contested political landscape.

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Annex E: Funding Results for Collaborative Networks

Network Directors: Jean-Christophe Boucher and Erin Gibbs van Brunschot, University of Calgary
Canadian Network on Information and Security
Calgary, AB

Defence Policy Challenges Addressed: Cyber, Space, and Information as Operational Domains; Anticipating Future Challenges; and, the Rise of Grey Zone Conflict

The Network will examine the impact of the domestic and international information environments on Canadian national defence and security through four lenses: political/military, cognitive/behavioural, technological, and legal/ethical.

Network Director: Margaret McKinnon, McMaster University
Pan-Canadian Sexual Misconduct during Military Service Collaborative Network
Hamilton, ON

Defence Policy Challenge Addressed: Addressing and preventing sexual misconduct

The Network will build upon an existing multi-disciplinary community of practice to advance research on sexual misconduct into actionable outcomes for National Defence, in addition to supporting policy changes to address sexual misconduct and improve services for survivors.

Network Director: Jennifer Welsh, McGill University
Research Network on Women, Peace, and Security
Montreal, QC

Defence Policy Challenges Addressed: Climate Change as a Growing Threat to National Resilience; Canada’s Defence Relations; and, Anticipate Future Challenges

Using a GBA+ lens, this bilingual Network will study Canada’s future defence and security threats and with particular emphasis on the Women, Peace and Security agenda.

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