Partnerships and opportunities

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

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.

NATO welcomes collaboration from industry, academia and government. Please browse the following sites:

Please contact Debbie Kemp, if you have any questions.

Institute for Research in Defence and Security

Defence Research and Development Canada (DRDC) is creating the Institute for Research in Defence and Security. The Institute’s goal is to engage the academic community in finding solutions to challenges Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) members faces when using technology. 

Canada-European Union Information and Communications Technologies, National Contact Point

Defence Research and Development Canada is the Canada-European Union (EU) National Contact Point (NCP) for Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) of the European Union's Horizon 2020 Funding Programme. Our main goal is to assist in fostering collaborative research, development and innovation partnerships by ensuring that Canadians have the latest information.

Canadian Safety and Security Program

The Canadian Safety and Security Program (CSSP) is led by Defence Research and Development Canada’s Centre for Security Science, which operates in partnership with Public Safety Canada, to provide science and technology services and solutions to address public safety and security priorities. Annual Calls for Proposals are managed through Public Services and Procurement Canada; information about open calls is made available on the website. Visit the CSSP-funded projects page for an overview of projects funded through the CSSP Call for Proposals since the program was launched in 2012.

DRDC’s science and technology domains of interest for greater external partner engagement:

  • Physical sciences: physical protection, energetic materials and systems, platform performance (through-life maintenance aspects)
  • Electromagnetic sciences - sensor data exploitation and fusion
  • Information sciences: command and control, information systems for command and control
  • Health sciences - human performance
  • Social and behavioural sciences: human systems integration, learning and trainingOperational research and analysis: operational research/operational analysis force development/concepts development and experimentation/concepts development 

New Partnership with the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada to Support Discovery Research

DRDC is pleased to announce a new partnership with the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC). The partnership 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
  • train and develop highly qualified personnel in priority areas consistent with the future human resource requirements in the public and private sectors

Details can be found at the NSERC site.

Joint Initiative with the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council

Defence Research and Development Canada (DRDC), an agency of the Department of National Defence (DND) 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 DND in developing effective, efficient and affordable evidence-based strategies, policies, programs, procedures, processes and technologies, that, together:

  • Optimize the intake, training and management of the Defence Team, ensuring a workforce at the right numbers, at the right ranks/occupations, and with the appropriate skills and experience to meet future operational needs. This includes research in support of strategic and operational priorities in domains such as attraction and recruitment, selection and assessment, motivation, career management, training and education and workforce analytics;
  • Enhance individual and family well-being, care for the ill and injured, and prepare members for the transition to civilian life. This includes research with a focus on health, resiliency, morale, welfare and compensation;
  • Enable the effective employment of the Defence Team in operational and organizational environments, and strengthening of the operational and strategic leadership capacity of the CAF. This includes research addressing the physical, psychological, social and cultural demands of military operations, as well as the efficient governance, agility and adaptiveness of the organization; and
  • Enhance the command and intelligence effectiveness of the CAF, and the ability to achieve their missions in complex campaign environments. This includes research with a focus on understanding the social and cultural factors that provide context for effective operations in the non-kinetic sphere; understanding and predicting the intention, behaviour and influence of relevant individuals and collectives; and effective collaborations in contemporary multifunctional mission environments.

Defence and Security Target Research Area Descriptions

We are currently interested in proposals focussing on: Enabling sustained and effective military organizational culture change; Developing trust in diverse organizational teams and in cross-cultural settings; and Trust in autonomous intelligent systems, as detailed below.

  1. Enabling Sustained and Effective Military Organizational Culture Change

Military institutions are responsible for maintaining organizational effectiveness and the well-being of their members. At the same time, militaries are expected to support culture change, achieve efficiencies, optimize governance and processes, and adapt to a continuously changing environment while facing ever-increasing competition for resources. “Personnel” is recognized as a critical component of organizational culture change, yet current change approaches seem to lack a personnel component rooted in a scientific framework. Thus, projects under this research challenge should focus on approaches and frameworks to understand the interdependencies between the multiple layers in the military organization that include the personnel component.

  1. Developing Trust in Diverse Organizational Teams and in Cross-Cultural Settings

Projects under this research challenge should focus on frameworks to understand, and techniques to enhance, development of trust in Diverse Organizational Teams and/or in Cross-Cultural Settings, in the context of defence and security. The intention should be to further existing knowledge to improve engagement, shared understanding, motivation and collaboration, planning, decision making and execution of activities in, and leadership of, multi-organizational and/or multicultural teams. Research could involve the development of frameworks, models and theories to better understand the psychological and group dynamics in either diverse organizational or diverse cultural teams, as well as the development and validation of techniques, approaches and technologies to: facilitate initial trust building, detect decreases in trust, and develop strategies for the repair of broken trust and/or how to mitigate the destructive effects of distrust in these settings.

  1. Trust in Autonomous Systems

With advances and adaptation of autonomous systems in numerous applications, from vehicles to information management, the relationship between human and technology has evolved and become more complex and important. As the roles of humans increasingly change from “operators” to “partners” of autonomous systems in a team, trust becomes an increasingly complex issue. Projects under this research challenge should focus on, but are not limited to, furthering the knowledge and understanding of trust development with autonomous systems with regard to, for example, human-autonomy teaming; how humans perceive and interact with autonomous systems; approaches/criteria to measure and assess trust; the level of risk and error that humans are willing to tolerate from autonomous systems; what the defining attributes of a system that allows humans to establish trust are; synergistic interaction between human and machine intelligence; complacency/over-trust in autonomous systems; and differences in human and machine perception and cognition.

All Domain Situational Awareness S&T Program

Through an investment of up to $133M over five years in All Domain Situational Awareness (ADSA) S&T, DND will conduct research and analysis to support the development of options for enhanced domain awareness of air, maritime surface and sub-surface approaches to Canada, and in particular those in the Arctic. This research and analysis will be delivered through collaboration with other government departments (OGDs), academia, industry and allies.  Surveillance solutions explored will support the Government of Canada’s ability to exercise sovereignty in the North,

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