International Framework: Statement of Objectives and Principles

Our health, environment, economy and communities are continuously transformed through the work of Canadian researchers. Pursuing new knowledge, technologies, insights and solutions to complex problems, Canadian researchers are increasingly reaching out, and being invited, to work with colleagues from around the world. These international research collaborations strengthen Canadian research, and allow Canadian researchers to make positive contributions to global society.

The scale and scope of international research have increased to where funding agencies around the world are making concerted efforts to develop, support and sustain international collaborations. It is in this context that the Canada Research Coordinating Committee (CRCC) member agencies have established shared objectives and principles to help guide interagency coordination of international activities.

The CRCC harmonizes, integrates and coordinates a wide range of research support programs, policies and engagement activities. In particular, it provides a forum for addressing issues of national priority and common concern to the Canada Foundation for Innovation, Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council, and Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council. 


The International Framework is a reference for CRCC member agencies, to coordinate decisions related to international initiatives. This will help increase the coherence and transparency of international funding opportunities for Canadian researchers. The Framework, in addition, serves to enhance the impacts of research and development programs and policies that support international collaborations. It also aids in selecting new international partnerships and opportunities that strengthen the Canadian research enterprise.

To these ends, the Framework is intended to help CRCC member agencies do the following:


The International Framework applies where CRCC member agencies have converging or intersecting international priorities. It complements the international strategies of the agencies, informs decisions in areas of mutual interest and helps guide the CRCC in designing initiatives with an international component, such as the New Frontiers in Research Fund. The actions stemming from this Framework will be informed by the Government of Canada’s overall priorities, with the intention that this encourage collaboration across government.

Shared objectives for international research

1. Develop world-class Canadian research and researchers by engaging global research excellence

By participating in international research collaborations and working with the best researchers from around the world, Canadian researchers can continue to develop world-class excellence across all disciplines and areas of research, and continue to remain competitive. The first objective is to enable Canadian researchers to participate in global research collaborations, work with highly qualified international researchers, and access world-class research infrastructure and facilities, while also attracting top-tier research talent to Canada.

2. Support Canadian researchers addressing challenges of global importance

Canadian researchers conduct research of crucial societal, scientific and intellectual importance. In doing so, they contribute their knowledge, expertise and insights to finding solutions to humanity’s most pressing problems, such as those identified by the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Researchers strive to contribute to our explorations of the universe; our understanding of the most fundamental properties of time, space, matter and energy; the search for answers to significant scientific and philosophical questions; and our knowledge of the very dimensions of life and human experience. The second objective is to support Canadian researchers in addressing these complex, transboundary challenges through deep and meaningful international research collaborations.

3. Strengthen Canada’s presence and visibility in the international research community

CRCC member agencies can help strengthen Canada’s presence and visibility in the international research community by collaborating and coordinating their activities. Such activities may include their participation in a wide variety of international research and policy forums, multinational research initiatives, and global research infrastructure development. The third objective is to strengthen the Canadian research community’s international presence and visibility through a shared, coordinated approach to multilateral engagement in cases where member agency collaboration would be appropriate and lead to greater impact. By enhancing coherence and continuity, CRCC member agencies help build confidence in Canada as a preferred and trusted international research partner.

Principles supporting our shared objectives

CRCC member agencies share a set of principles that guide delivery of their respective mandates and provide a foundation for their collective interactions with the international research community.

Supporting excellence in research

Supporting excellence in discovery and the exploration of new research frontiers is a powerful contribution to society that benefits the world, while ensuring the best use of public funds. Across all disciplines and subject areas, CRCC member agencies focus on promoting and supporting excellence in research.

Transparency, independence and merit

CRCC member agencies use transparent, merit-based competitions to fund research projects, programs and infrastructure. The agencies are committed to a process of independent, critical peer and/or merit review to identify and support the highest quality research. Independent review processes ensure that new research is subject to scrutiny from reviewers and stakeholders, without political interference, and that research activities answer meaningful research inquiries.

Scientific/research integrity

To maximize the quality and benefits of research, research must be conducted with integrity. For researchers, this requires honest, thoughtful and ethical inquiry, rigorous analysis, commitment to the dissemination of research results, and adherence to professional standards of conduct.

Equity, diversity and inclusion

CRCC member agencies are committed to promoting equity, diversity and inclusion in Canada’s research community. Their commitment helps ensure all relevant perspectives are brought to bear on research challenges. This improves the quality of Canadian research and produces outcomes that benefit all Canadians.

Open science

Open science helps ensure the broadest possible participation in research, including the broadest possible circulation and application of research knowledge. It can have profound societal impacts and help grow our collective capacity to make new discoveries and address domestic and international challenges, while producing social, economic and environmental benefits. 

Benefits for Canada’s research community

CRCC member agencies anticipate the International Framework will result in a number of benefits that enhance the success of Canadian research on the world stage. These include, but are not limited to:

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