Mobilizing Insights in Defence and Security (MINDS)

Policy Direction: Strong, Secure, Engaged

Strong, Secure, Engaged recognizes that collaboration with academia and other experts strengthens the foundation of the Department of National Defence and Canadian Armed Forces’ (DND/CAF) evidenced-based policy-making. To that end, the Mobilizing Insights in Defence and Security (MINDS) program was created to invest in and expand defence engagement.

Our Approach to External Engagement

MINDS is founded on the idea that policy- and decision-making are strengthened when assumptions are challenged and diverse viewpoints are considered. MINDS provides opportunities for collaboration between the Defence Team and the defence and security expert community through a program that:

  • responds to the need for relevant and timely advice from defence and security experts;
  • fosters the next generation of experts and scholars; and,
  • contributes to Canadians understanding of defence and security issues.

It offers a variety of unique tools by which the Defence Team can engage external experts and access high calibre research and expertise. MINDS offers different means for DND/CAF to access relevant, timely expertise that incorporate a diversity of viewpoints and provides well-rounded advice, including:

  • bespoke, one-time engagements through the Expert Briefing Series;
  • ongoing collaboration and engagement through Collaborative Networks;
  • distinct research projects and conferences through Targeted Engagement Grants;
  • support for young and emerging scholars through academic Scholarships; and
  • an ability to address new and evolving priorities through the Rapid Response Mechanism.

The program is committed to reflecting key Government of Canada priorities in the work it delivers, including by ensuring the incorporation of Gender Based Analysis Plus (GBA+) across its various pillars, and supporting Indigenous reconciliation and youth engagement through MINDS Scholarships.

The Desired Effects

Strong, Secure, Engaged calls for concrete steps to enhance the Defence Team’s ability to anticipate and understand threats, challenges and opportunities. MINDS is central to this effort by enabling:

  • innovation and professional development within DND/CAF through exposure to new ideas, perspectives, and relationships with academia and other experts;
  • active and consistent collaboration between the Defence Team and defence and security experts;
  • new and relevant scholarship that responds to Defence Policy Challenges and associated key questions and issues facing DND/CAF;
  • opportunities for young, diverse, and emerging voices through grants and scholarships; and
  • a growing awareness among Canadians of defence and security issues through support to public engagement led by MINDS funded experts.

Defence Team Collaboration

MINDS is different from, but complementary to, the Innovation for Defence Excellence and Security (IDEaS) program, using different approaches to tackle defence and security challenges. MINDS is focused on policy thinking and the generation of knowledge in the public policy realm, while IDEaS advances critical solutions to challenges relating to applied capabilities and technology. Together, MINDS and IDEaS drive innovation and help address defence challenges. Please visit the IDEaS page for more information.

Strong, Secure, Engaged calls for concrete steps to enhance the Defence Team’s ability to anticipate and understand threats, challenges and opportunities. Leveraging the expertise of Canada’s defence and security expert community through MINDS is central to meeting this objective.

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