International collaborations are a fundamental part of the scientific ecosystem, elevating diverse perspectives to address global problems and providing access to specialized equipment or expertise. Collaborative international partnerships enrich the research landscape, but also carry some level of risk which has been of growing concern to agencies dedicated to Canada's national security.

On January 16, 2024, the Government of Canada introduced a Policy on Sensitive Technology Research and Affiliations of Concern (STRAC) which applies to all federal granting agency-funded entities where work related to sensitive technology research areas is conducted, including the Canadian Light Source.

Read the Policy

This policy requires that risks be evaluated in terms of Sensitive Technology Research Areas as well as collaborations involving Named Research Organizations. As the majority of research projects supported by the CLS are classified as Sensitive Technology Research Areas according to the STRAC policy, the primary focus of CLS research security measures is related to collaborations with individuals affiliated with Named Research Organizations.

Through our support of and compliance with the STRAC Policy, the primary mode of access to CLS facilities continues to be through a competitive peer review process, emphasizing the excellence of science where there is intent to publish scientific results. While we will be asking our staff and users for information about their affiliations and collaborative research teams, the CLS does not collect information from our users about their ethnicity, nationality, or country of birth, and we will continue to welcome people of all backgrounds to the CLS. 

Safeguarding Research at the CLS

In compliance with the STRAC Policy, the CLS is introducing several changes to the beamtime application process. For many of our users, these steps will represent only a minor change. We are committed to working with users who are more significantly impacted to minimize any inconvenience. The intent of these changes is to ensure that the CLS remains as open as possible and as secure as necessary.

User Affiliations/Attestations:

Going forward, each CLS user will be asked to disclose all of their affiliations to the CLS, and to attest that they have read, understood, and agree to comply with the STRAC Policy. This will be part of the registration process for new users; existing users will be prompted to update this information once per year when logging into the CLS User Portal. 

Note: Definition following the Canadian Tri-agency guidance on the STRAC Policy:

Affiliation: "Individuals are considered affiliated to any organization at which they are employed, appointed, or conduct research. In cases where individuals hold multiple affiliations, all must be considered when ensuring compliance to this policy. The policy only applies to current affiliations. Former affiliations that are no longer active are not in scope of this policy."

Institutional Agreements/User Acknowledgements:

An Institutional Agreement (IA) between the user's primary affiliation and the CLS is required, along with the user's acknowledgement of the IA, prior to that user's participation in any CLS experiments or the submission of a proposal for research at the CLS. This represents a change from our policy in the past of only requiring these agreements to be in place prior to beamtime.

The CLS will not enter into an IA with any institution on the Named Research Organization list, and has already cancelled any agreements that existed between the CLS and those institutions. 

The CLS currently has active IAs with over 400 institutions across Canada and around the world. The CLS will make every reasonable effort to ensure IAs are established in a reasonable fashion, but this cannot be guaranteed. New user groups who intend to submit a proposal for beamtime at the CLS are encouraged to register in the CLS User Portal as early as possible to increase the probability that any new IAs can be established prior to the next CLS Call for Proposals.

Research Attestations:

Prior to the submission of any proposal for research at the CLS, the Principal Investigator or Spokesperson must attest that they and their research team will comply with the policy for the duration of the project, through to the publication of results. Compliance with the STRAC Policy requires that no member of the research team be currently affiliated with, or receive funding or in-kind support from, a Named Research Organization.

Note: Definitions following the Canadian Tri-agency guidance on the STRAC Policy:

Funding or in-kind support: "Monetary or non-monetary contributions, that include but are not limited to goods, equipment, materials and supplies, professional services, use of facilities (office space, lab access), software, technologies and databases."

Research Team: "A group of researchers involved in a research program or project, who share collective competence, expertise and/or goals. The research team includes researchers with named roles in the grant applications, as well as any other researchers involved in activities supported by the grant, such as highly qualified personnel (HQP), co-authors, or informal collaborators who may or may not be identified in the grant application. HQP can include undergraduate and graduate students, post-doctoral researchers, as well as research staff."

Oversight:

In the spirit of full transparency, users should expect that the CLS will use open source information (e.g., public databases, corporate or institutional websites, news releases, court records, and publication records, etc.) to verify individual affiliations and collaborations. Users will be contacted for clarification regarding any potentially concerning findings, and CLS Projects may be cancelled if non-compliance with the STRAC Policy is discovered. The Canadian Light Source reserves the final right to deny access to CLS facilities for research security concerns above the STRAC Policy.

Publication of Past Results

The STRAC Policy was announced January 16, 2024. We recognize that research involving Named Research Organizations may have occurred prior to this date, and that the dissemination of scientific results remains critical to the academic process. 

For data collected prior to January 16, 2024 involving one or more collaborators affiliated with a Named Research Organization, publication of results is at the discretion of the user group; however, we kindly request that the date of CLS beamtime be included in the text of any resulting publication, along with the standard acknowledgement of CLS support.