2020-2021 GRADUATE RESEARCH AWARDS for Disarmament, Arms Control and Non-Proliferation

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Graduate Research Awards for Disarmament, Arms Control and Non-Proliferation are offered by The Simons Foundation Canada and the International Security Research and Outreach Programme (ISROP) of Global Affairs Canada (GAC).

A total of four awards of CAD $5,000 are available to Canadian Master’s and/or Doctoral candidates to support the independent research and writing of an academic paper responding to a specific Non-Proliferation, Arms Control and Disarmament (NACD) topic. Awards also include domestic travel support to Ottawa where successful candidates will present their completed papers during a special event at Global Affairs Canada Headquarters planned for Fall 2021.

                          Deadline for applications:                                        March 15, 2021
                          Selection of four award recipients:                         April 30, 2021
                          Presentations at GAC Headquarters in Ottawa:    Fall 2021 (date to be confirmed)


Complete applications should be sent to Elaine Hynes at The Simons Foundation Canada by email to: ehynes@thesimonsfoundation.ca by the close of business (PDT) on March, 15, 2021.

Your application must include:

  • Your resume, including proof of Canadian citizenship status.
  • A complete, official transcript of your grades (including undergrad). Electronic copies of official transcripts are acceptable.
  • An academic paper (approx. 1,500 words, MLA format) responding to one of the specific Non-Proliferation, Arms Control and Disarmament topics shown below.


The competition is open to Canadian citizens and Canadian permanent residents/landed immigrants currently enrolled in a graduate programme. Graduate students studying outside Canada are eligible to apply but please note that funding to cover the cost of successful applicants' travel to Ottawa for the event at Global Affairs Canada is limited to domestic travel within Canada (or the equivalent).

In order to expand the community of Canadian scholars working on non-proliferation, arms control and disarmament (NACD) issues, employees of Global Affairs Canada, and previous recipients of a Graduate Research Award are not eligible.


Applications will be reviewed by an Expert Review Panel made up of three experts and academics working in this field who will recommend four award winners for final approval by representatives of The Simons Foundation Canada and ISROP. Successful candidates will be notified on April 30, 2021.


Award winners will present their papers at a special event hosted by Global Affairs Canada at the Lester B. Pearson building in Ottawa in Fall 2021 (to be confirmed), and will be asked to produce a PowerPoint deck for their presentation. The cash awards will be issued at the GRA event in Ottawa and a report, including the papers presented, will be published online by The Simons Foundation Canada. Please note that attendance at the GRA event in Ottawa is a mandatory requirement of the award. Approved domestic travel, accommodation and meal expenses will be provided by The Simons Foundation Canada.

TOPICS for 2020-2021

Master’s and Doctoral candidates may choose to address one of the following subjects:

  1. Since 1996, the Conference on Disarmament has been unable to negotiate an international disarmament treaty and, since then, even adopting a program of work appears to be an insurmountable task. What has led to this deadlock and how could it be overcome? Is the Conference on Disarmament still necessary for concluding multilateral disarmament agreements? Are there alternatives?
  2. The nuclear disarmament movement was strong and active during the Cold War, as the fear of nuclear conflicts was on the mind of a large portion of the world’s population. Arguably, the end of the Cold War in the 1990s was followed by a decrease in interest, particularly on the part of younger generations, regarding the impacts of nuclear weapons on populations and on the environment. Is this the case? If so, what can be done (and by whom) to engage today's youth on nuclear disarmament? Are there parallels that can be drawn with current global or domestic social and political movements, including but not limited to climate change, racial equality, etc.?
  3. In the context of increased international cooperation on common and interconnected priorities such as global health and the fight against climate change, what is the role for nuclear technology? Furthermore, what are the opportunities for nuclear-focused international organizations such as the International Atomic Energy Agency and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Nuclear Energy Agency to demonstrate leadership on these issues?
  4. In recent years, disinformation has arguably become one of the primary threats to democratic governance and rules based international order. In the disarmament world, nowhere is this felt more seriously than in the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. How can we combat disinformation regarding the use of chemical weapons?
  5. With space becoming more accessible to many states and private entities, the emergence of “mega” constellations, and the increased presence of space debris, what can be done to better unify the different space actors in an effort to maintain space accessibility?

For more information, please contact Elaine Hynes at The Simons Foundation Canada by email to ehynes@thesimonsfoundation.ca or at telephone number 778-782-7779.

The primary objective of the Graduate Research Awards is to enhance Canadian
graduate level scholarship on disarmament, arms control and non-proliferation issues.



Disclaimer: The views and positions expressed through the GRA programme are intended to stimulate academic debates as part of an annual youth education partnership jointly organized by The Simons Foundation and ISROP; the themes do not necessarily reflect the views of The Simons Foundation Canada, Global Affairs Canada or the Government of Canada.