Wednesday, January 1, 2020

The CDSN's Year Ahead

In planning the SSHRC grant for the Canadian Defence and Security Network, the idea was to start slowly and then do more in year 2.  In the first seven months or so, we have hired staff, re-arranged the office a few times, developed a logo and associated branding stuff like banners, engaged our partners (adding two), started a podcast, and started a series of research workshops (each of the five themes will be holding annual workshops).  What are we adding in year 2? 
  • A Capstone Seminar: On March 10th at the Canadian Forces College, we will be bringing together some of the best presenters and presentations that took place in 2019 across Canada.  The idea is to give both our partners' events and an all-star team of mostly emerging scholars with the folks getting some mentoring along the way.  We will be setting up a registration page with info about the presentations.  It will be free, but will require registration since the event is at CFC.
  • A Post-Doc competition: Each year over the remaining six plus years of the grant, we will fund a post-doc working on one of the five themes (personnel, procurement, operations, civ-mil, security).  We will be circulating the application info shortly with the post-doc to start in July.  The site of the post-doc will depend on which theme the successful applicant is working on and on the needs of the research project.
  • A Book Workshop: Each year, we will hold one book workshop.  A junior scholar's book will be read by members of one of our research centres plus a couple of experts brought in.  We will circulate application info in the early spring with an aim to having the workshop in the early fall.
  • A Summer Institute: In August, we will bring together emerging scholars, junior policy officials, and military officers for a week-long course in Ottawa on Canadian defence and security.  We will advertise this in February.   
  • A CDSN Conference:  While our partners have a variety of conferences over the year, which we will advertise and amplify, we plan to hold a conference alongside the IUS-Canada event in late October in Ottawa.  The plans regarding this are, um, thin.  
  • Internships: In the second year of the grant and onwards, we will have funds to place undergrads either in research positions at universities or in practical positions as interns.  This will vary across the country depending on the opportunities arranged by each research theme.
  • A Survey:  JC Boucher at Calgary and Nik Nanos of the Nanos survey firm will be conducting a nationwide survey on knowledge and attitudes about defence and security.  While organized by the civil-military relations theme, the questions will address a variety of issues.
  • A Youtube Channel:  It will contain the stream of the Capstone Seminar, presentations from the Year Ahead conference, and more!
We will be holding another series of workshops (one for each theme), supporting the conferences and other events held by our various partners, organizing additional events as things arise (potential speakers coming to Ottawa for other events, responding to requests from partners, etc). 

All in all, it will be a very busy year.  I am very grateful for the excellent work by the CDSN HQ staff-- Melissa Jennings, Alvine Nintai, Jeffrey Rice--and our team of MA students: Jonathan Jung, Ammar Shirwani, and Ramesh Balakrishnan.  The Theme Directors (Alan Okros, Alex Moens, Anessa Kimball, Erin Gibbs van Brunschot, Irina Goldenberg, JC Boucher, Phil Lagassé, Stéfanie von Hlatky,Srdjan Vucetic, Stéphane Roussel) have been key creative forces behind much of the stuff you see above, and, sorry, will be doing a lot of the heavy lifting of evaluating the various applications, serving as presenters for the Summer Institute, and organizing the various Theme Activities. 

Keep an eye on our news page of the CDSN webpage at for announcements. .  We will, of course, be tweeting at @cdsnrcds about what we are up to, and we will announce our initiatives in our semi-weekly podcast, Battle Rhythm, which is available at all of the usual podcast outlets.  If you have ideas or want to participate in our efforts, let us know at

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