In July 2021, when the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) introduced the Risk Assessment Questionnaire as a necessity for all Alliance Program grants, a decision was made by Office of Research leaders at the University of Waterloo to take the lead in supporting and completing the assessment on behalf of researchers. To satisfy NSERC’s requirements, the Questionnaire would need to outline the responsibility of the Principal Investigator in understanding the research and their industry partners, and to identify potential risks and develop a Risk Mitigation Plan with the support of the University.
As a result, an increased level of activity regarding research security was added to the responsibilities of Jennifer Ranford, Senior Manager, Research Partnerships. For every new project and contract with a new or existing industry partner, Jennifer Ranford would meet with the faculty members, conduct background research on the industry partner, and discuss the proposed research to assess risk and develop a mitigation plan.
As a result of this monumental addition to her duties, Jennifer Ranford now primarily supports the NSERC risk assessments, and her position negotiating research contracts has been backfilled with help from the Research Support Fund.