Carleton University Prof. Stephen Saideman has received a $2.5 million Partnership Grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) for his work on the Canadian Defence and Security Network (CDSN) to create an inclusive and innovative defence and security community in Canada.

“Carleton researchers continue to produce cutting-edge research in public safety and security with SSHRC support,” said Rafik Goubran, vice-president (Research and International). “This generous funding is a vital addition to our already substantial research in this area which will lead to a safer Canada and ultimately a safer global community.”

At a time of rapid change on the world stage, Canada is facing new challenges in its relations with countries such as China, Saudi Arabia, and even the United States.

That prompted Saideman, at the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs (NPSIA), to create the network, which was officially launched May 24, 2019. The grant, with matching contributions from more than 30 partners, will allow the CDSN to connect across the globe with government agencies, the armed forces and civil society.

“The idea is to bring together people who are studying or working in defence and security throughout Canada to build a community,” says Saideman, who holds the Paterson Chair in International Affairs. “This is a big country and there are a lot of divides between academia, civil society and the military across the country. We want to have more interaction so we can anticipate the research interests of the government and the military.”

The centre will focus on five research themes, including defence procurement, military personnel, operations, security, and civil-military relations. Each theme will have a joint academic/government/civil society/defence team associated with it, assessing what Canada does well and what it does poorly on the defence and security front.

“A lot of assumptions about how the world works are up for grabs right now,” says Saideman. “The government is consumed by the day to day, but we as academics have longer time horizons so we can help think beyond tomorrow.”

In addition to research projects, the network is also focused on outreach. It’s planning a summer training institute for military officers and policy officials, an online portal for Canada’s international relations, a podcast, workshops, an annual conference, internships and exchanges, along with a social and traditional media plan.

The CDSN also hopes to advance knowledge of Canadian defence and security studies, adapting research initiatives to inform policy-making. It will improve cross-sector information and data sharing while improving the defence and security literacy of Canadians.