2021-2022 Graduate Research Awards for Disarmament, Arms Control and Non-Proliferation

Report on the 2021-2022 Graduate Research Awards 
for Disarmament, Arms Control and Non-proliferation


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Competition Details

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 2022.

          Deadline for applications:                                       March 28, 2022
          Selection of four award recipients:                         April 29, 2022
          Presentations at GAC Headquarters in Ottawa:    Fall 2022 (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 28, 2022.
Your application must include:

  • Your resume, including proof of Canadian citizenship or official status in Canada.
  • 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 29, 2022.


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 2022 (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 2021-2022

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

  1. Recent developments in the space industry have contributed to widening geopolitical divides between Western ally nations and Eastern space actors, to the point where many security experts fear that space could become a new domain of modern warfare. What steps internationally and domestically can be taken by Canada to exert leadership in preventing the proliferation of hostilities in space and inspire greater cooperation between rivalrous space actors? Are there lessons or examples might we learn from past policies, treaties, or practices that have worked to promote peace in other domains here on Earth.
  2. The COVID-19 pandemic has led the UN Secretary General and other world leaders to warn that the pandemic’s impacts may increase threats posed by biological weapons development and use by states or terrorists. How can heightened awareness of catastrophic biological risks be leveraged to overcome the 20-year impasse within the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC), and what practicable and accomplishable proposals could be put forward to strengthen the BTWC in the near, medium and long terms? 
  3. Article VI of the NPT commits NPT recognized nuclear-weapon states to “pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament, and on a treaty on general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control.”  Progress on implementing Article VI and on advancing nuclear disarmament in general has stalled. Some of the reasons for this that have been suggested include the following:

    -Lack of trust among states
    -Poor relations among states
    -Deteriorating international security environment
    -Divergent views on how to maintain international security such as those that adhere to nuclear deterrence as the ultimate guarantee of security and those that believe in a total prohibition of nuclear weapons such as what is called for under the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW).

    What are the most important issues inhibiting progress on Article VI of the NPT on nuclear disarmament and what can Canada do to help achieve nuclear disarmament? 
  4. Please comment on the following statement: “Disruptive technologies pose both risks and opportunities to nuclear decision-making” (European Leadership Network) by potentially increasing or mitigating the risks of nuclear use, deliberately or inadvertently.
  5. The Russian Federation published on December 17, 2021, a draft agreement on measures to ensure the security of The Russian Federation and member States of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Please provide an analysis regarding the implications (positive and or negative) of its article V related to arms control to each Party of this agreement (Russia and NATO member states). 

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.