Trial Collaborative Network Proposals

Publication date: 19 February 2018

Application deadline: 13 April 2018

Announcement: April 2018


Summary of Key Information

  • This opportunity supports DND/CAF’s efforts to implement the new Defence Policy Strong, Secure, Engaged.
  • One year trial period to assess the upcoming collaborative network construct
  • $100,000 grant funding
  • Eligible proposals must include multidisciplinary teams from at least two (2) separate institutions and/or organizations
  • Network and funds must be administered by a single project leader


The Department of National Defence is currently in the process of implementing its new Defence Policy, Strong, Secure, Engaged (SSE). The new policy calls upon the Department to bolster its academic and expert outreach to ensure decision-makers within the Defence Team fully benefit from the advice of the expert community in Canada.

As we work on implementing the policy, the Defence Engagement Program will conduct a trial over the next year to help assess ways to channel the expert community’s knowledge into the Department through collaborative networks. We expect the outcome of the trial to help define the collaborative network construct. This construct should be able to bring together multidisciplinary teams from different parts of the country – and abroad – to work on challenges identified by the Department. Consequently, the definitive format of the collaborative networks will be heavily influenced by our findings during the trial period. In time, it is envisioned that multiple networks would run concurrently.

Who Can Apply?

We are looking for individuals or organizations that are engaged, dynamic, resourceful and interested in working in close collaboration with our team to help us determine the best model for the network.  As this is a trial, we are seeking candidates that are interested in helping us develop an effective means for the Department and the expert community to work together in generating useful, operationally relevant knowledge for DND/CAF. This will be a challenging task. The candidates must be ready to fulfill a list of broad objectives and willing to provide regular feedback. This is an opportunity for the expert community to assist the Department in shaping its future engagement with external partners.

This opportunity is open to multidisciplinary teams with interest in the domain of security and defence studies.

The primary affiliation of the network lead must be a Canadian institution.

Federal and provincial crown corporations are not eligible for funding under this program.

A selection process will identify the applicant(s) who will be asked to establish the trial network.

How to Apply?

Applicants must submit a detailed proposal outlining their network concept. The application format is left to the discretion of the candidates. However, the full proposal must clearly explain:

  • How and by what entity the network will be formed (The names, affiliations and contact details of network leader and members);
  • A detailed description of the how the network will fulfill the deliverables listed below;
  • An overview of how the project meaningfully incorporates both multidisciplinary and diverse perspectives when developing the trial network and its associated products; and,
  • The network’s spending strategy, including an estimated budget for the project, indicating projected expenditures.

This approach is deliberate in order to inform and help design the future collaborative network program. It is the applicant's responsibility to ensure that the application complies with all relevant federal, provincial and territorial legislation and municipal bylaws.

Evaluation Criteria

Applications will be assessed on the following criteria:

  • Description of the network team and structure;
  • Linkage with the SSE’s main objectives for the collaborative network program;
  • Relevance to DND/CAF identified policy priorities and ability to inform current and future defence policy thinking;
  • Ability to fulfill the identified deliverables (additional deliverables may also be included if relevant);
  • Budget management and disbursement;
  • How the project will meaningfully incorporate both multidisciplinary and diverse perspectives when developing the trial network and associated products[1];
  • Plans to leverage technology; and,
  • Innovation/creativity/vision.

Trial Network Structure

The trial network must be composed of at least two (2) organizations from different geographic regions within Canada. Academic institutions are encouraged to partner with non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in their network to broaden experience and perspective. Similarly, it is recommended that NGOs seek creative partnerships with academia.

Applications must identify a network leader/spokesperson, who will represent the network on behalf of other members for the duration of the trial.  The network leader will receive, manage, and distribute payment(s) to the members’ institutions or organizations for eligible activities and costs.

The internal structure and day-to-day management of the network will be left to the discretion of the network leader. We strongly encourage applicants to explain how they intend to manage the network in their proposal; it could revolve around one of the following constructs or be based on an entirely different idea (this should not be considered as an exhaustive list):

  • Leadership-based network: Network centered on individual experts in the domain working together to provide timely advice to the DND/CAF client organization; 
  • Issue-based network: Network formed by organizations (academic or private) which have expertise on the topic identified and are ready to cooperate to provide advice to the DND/CAF client organization;
  •  Centre-based network: Network based on already existing research centres specialized in specific areas of research; or,
  •  Clearing-house network: Network serving as a hub for all research done on a specific topic within the expert community and will be able to channel it back in a timely manner to the DND/CAF client organization.

Objectives and Deliverables

As directed in the new defence policy - Strong, Secure, Engaged - networks subsidized by National Defence should have three main objectives: to support the department’s policy-making process; to increase cooperation between government and non-government partners; and, to sponsor the next generation of experts in the defence and security domain.

To achieve these objectives, the trial network must focus its efforts in supporting a departmental policy priority as identified at:

Specifically, the trial network will be asked to fulfill the following deliverables:

  • Establish a proto-network including at least two (2) organizations (from a different Canadian geographic region) to respond to one or more Defence Team priorities;
  • Deliver at least one (1) presentation to a government-wide audience on the results of the network’s research;
  • Conduct at least one (1) briefing to the Department’s senior officials to present the network’s findings to support the decision-making process;
  • Organize at least one (1) networking event which will gather experts and practitioners interested in the network’s research field; 
  • Provide quarterly (4) information notes on the research topic to the client organization;
  • Develop a creative way to help foster the next generation of experts in line with the network’s work (e.g. fellowship, course work, etc.); and,
  • Respond to short-term requests for information (within 48 hrs) at any point during the trial period.

Additionally, the applicants must be ready to develop a performance management report at the end of the trial period and provide regular feedback (orally or in writing) to the evaluating team. The applicants must endeavor to leverage technology to bring together experts across the country.


The selected proposal will receive a total of $100,000, divided in two separated grants of $50,000 over a year. The first tranche will be provided in May 2018 and the second tranche will be provided later in 2018. Please note that this level of funding is for the trial only. Funding levels will change once a network model has been chosen and implemented.

Additional Information

  • The Department of National Defence will review receipts and other documentation to assess how project funds are used.
  • Funding cannot be used to offset expenses related to insurance, interest charges, utilities, amortization, rent, capital assets, or for purposes other than those stated in the proposal.
  • Funding cannot be used to pay for the participation of Government of Canada employees or Canadian Armed Forces members.
  • In accordance with the Government of Canada’s commitment to use Gender Based Analysis Plus (GBA+) in the development of policies, program and legislation, we strongly suggest that you consult our website ( in order to incorporate this approach into your project application.
  • The Department reserves the right to participate in events.
  • Applicants must acknowledge the support of the DEP by providing written recognition in all materials produced.
  • Unspent funds must be returned to the Department of National Defence by cheque payable to the Receiver General of Canada.
  • Recipients will grant a free licence to reproduce or use any information or publications produced from a project for Government of Canada purposes.

If you wish to discuss the eligibility of your proposal prior to submitting it for evaluation, please contact the DEP Program Manager by email at

While we strongly encourage applicants to submit their applications by email, mailed applications for the trial network may be forwarded to the attention of:

Defence Engagement Program Manager

Assistant Deputy Minister Policy

National Defence Headquarters

101 Colonel By Drive, 18 NT

Ottawa, Ontario

K1A 0K2

Privacy Notice Statement

DND will comply with the federal Access to Information Act and Privacy Act with respect to applications received. By submitting personal information, an applicant is consenting to its collection, use and disclosure in accordance with the following Privacy Notice Statement, which explains how the applicant's information will be managed.

Applicants shall note that for all agreements, information related to the funding agreement (amount, grant or contribution, name of the recipient and project location) will be made available to the public on DND's website.

Should you wish to apply, please provide your detailed business proposal before 6 April 2018. While not all applications will be successful, we thank you in advance for your interest and creativity in assisting the Defence Engagement Program in this important endeavor.

[1] Incorporating diverse viewpoints means that deliberate efforts are made to mitigate unintended bias related to intersecting identity factors (including but not limited to age, gender, ethnicity, race, disability, religion, and geographic region).



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