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Policy on Research Involving Controlled Goods and Information


Some research in the natural sciences and engineering may be subject to export controls administered by Global Affairs Canada. For example, under the Export and Import Permits Act (EIPA), transmitting the results of, or information about, certain research may require first obtaining an export permit or other authorization, if the export item is included in the This link will take you to another Web site Export Control List (ECL) or if the recipient is in a country included in the This link will take you to another Web site Area Control List (ACL). Information may be obtained from the This link will take you to another Web site Global Affairs Canada website.

Certain research may also be subject to regulation by the Controlled Goods Directorate (CGD) of Public Works and Government Services Canada (PWGSC), in accordance with the Defence Production Act (DPA) and the Controlled Goods Regulations (CGR). Information may be obtained from the This link will take you to another Web site CGP website.

Research proposals that trigger either export controls or CGR raise concern because:

  • NSERC fulfils its mission by awarding scholarships and grants through peer-reviewed competitions; the proposal itself, or subsequent documentation (such as progress and final reports) would contain information that would limit NSERC’s ability to proceed with peer review; and
  • the Controlled Goods Program requires restricted access to the technology or information, limiting the ability of researchers to disseminate in the open literature as well as the personnel and training that can be involved in a project.

Policy Statement

Researchers are required to comply with the Controlled Goods Program under section 2.4 of the This link will take you to another Web site Tri-Agency Framework: Responsible Conduct of Research. In accordance with section 2.a)ii) of the Agreement on the Administration of Agency Grants and Awards by Research Institutions (This link will take you to another Web site Institutional Agreement), institutions must develop and implement effective policies, administrative systems, procedures and controls to ensure that all activities funded by NSERC are conducted in compliance with legislated requirements and Agency policies and procedures.

At the same time, NSERC is responsible for ensuring its own compliance with the relevant acts and regulations.  In order for NSERC to meet its legal obligations, to achieve program objectives, including research training and research dissemination, and to ensure funding decisions are based on a thorough peer review, all applications and any associated information (e.g., progress and final reports) required by or provided to NSERC, must not:

  • contain any information which would require an export permit or other authorization under the Export and Import Permits Act or its regulations; or
  • contain any information subject to the Defence Production Act or the Controlled Goods Regulations, as administered by the This link will take you to another Web site Canadian Controlled Goods Program.

Use of Grant Funds

Funds from an NSERC grant may be used to support research that is subject to export controls or CGR, provided that both the level of training and the ability to disseminate the research results, for the entire grant, in the open literature are not unduly restricted. For example, NSERC funds can be used to purchase or develop technology, items or information subject to export controls or CGR.

Conditions of Award

Progress on NSERC funded research is monitored to ensure that the grant objectives and program objectives are met, including adequate dissemination of research results and training of highly qualified personnel. If progress on the objectives is significantly restricted as a result of Controlled Goods and Information regulations, then the grant may be terminated.


Applicants and their institutions bear direct responsibility for ensuring compliance with all laws and regulations regarding Controlled Information, including but not limited to the Defence Production Act, Export Control Regulations, the Controlled Goods Regulations before, during or after the tenure of a grant, scholarship, fellowship or award from NSERC. NSERC bears no responsibility for applicants’ and institutions’ compliance.

Policy Implementation

The signatures of the applicant and institutional authorities on the NSERC application signify that the applicant and the institution fully comply with the NSERC Policy Statement and confirm that the application itself does not contain any Controlled Information.