Current Research

 

I am fortunate to be executing and collaborating on a variety of projects spanning various research areas. This includes several projects projects exploring gender; diversity; women, especially racialized women, and the Canadian labour market; which I am collaborating with other University of Waterloo researchers on. I am also exploring the connection between ethnocultural communities and the spread of disinformation, as well as the geopolitical security risk disinformation is posing both nationally and internationally. In addition, many of my research activities assess the defence and security threats existing to Canada, whether it be from a geopolitical context; due cyber threats; and or emerging technology.

At the core of all of my research is a desire to identify opportunities for our outputs to address existing policy concerns and gaps. I also highly value interdisciplinary work and am keen to involve experts in different areas and fields in our work to strengthen insights and outputs.

You can find out more about our projects and their associated outcomes below:

  • Women, Work, and the Economy
  • Cybersecurity and Emerging Technology
  • Defence and Security Foresight Group
  • International Relations and Geopolitics
  • Gender and the Workforce

 

 

women work and the economy logoWomen, Work, and the Economy

The research we are completing under the umbrella of Women, Work, and the Economy is housed on its own website which can be found here.

In collaboration with Drs. Ana Ferrer, and Nada Basir we have been collaborating to complete interdisciplinary research exploring the impact gender, diversity, and immigration status have on access and success when it comes to the Canadian labour market.

Racialized Immigrant Women and the Labour Market

This 5-year research project focuses on bringing visible minority women into the Canadian economy. This project seeks for Canada to realize the economic, social, and cultural benefits of immigration, newcomers must integrate successfully into Canadian society. To provide newcomers with the information required to make informed decision, language skills adequate to their settlement and integration goals, and the support they need to build networks within their new communities.

This project is being funded in part through Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada's (IRCC) Settlement Program Funding.

Kitchener-Waterloo Immigrant Women Entrepreneurs

The purpose of this study is help us understand the factors that have helped and hindered immigrant women entrepreneurs' success. We will use our findings to work with the Maker's Collective –– a business development hub and community for creative entrepreneurs, freelancers, and makers in the Kitchener-Waterloo area that helps women entrepreneurs through their tools, resources, and events––to produce tailored resources for this under-served community. This research will also improve our understanding of the relationship between gender and immigration to enrich our knowledge of entrepreneurship in general.

This project is funded through a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Partnership Engagement Grant.

Digital Transformation of Work

This project culminates in a knowledge synthesis report that brings together Canadian and international reports and studies of academics, governments, non-profit organizations, industry/sectoral reports, and international economic and financial organizations, noting the successes and challenges experienced by racialized immigrant women in the labour market to take advantage of the digital transformation in work. In addition, we seek to enhance public policy understanding by better informing policymakers, stakeholders, academics and workplaces. The aim of this report is to benefit racialized immigrant women workers in the Canadian economy, thereby positively impacting their families, communities, and societies.

This project is funded by a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Knowledge Synthesis Grant exploring Skills and Work in the Digital Economy.

 

 

Cybersecurity and Emerging Technology

In collaboration with Dr. Michele Mosca, from the Department of Combinatorics & Optimization, we have undertaken several initiatives exploring the interconnection between the technical side of cybersecurity and emerging technology and its impact on Canadian policy and security.

We are currently working on a review of the defence and security impact of a ransomware attack on Canadian critical infrastructure. This project included a tabletop exercise which brought together critical infrastructure personnel in varying public and private sectors. This event was done in collaboration with Public Safety Canada.

This project is being funded by a Department of National Defence Targeted Engagement Grant.

Our previously completed research activities have included:

  • An examination of the real and potentially adverse consequences of cyber-attacks on critical infrastructure including air transport, energy grids, health, food, safety, and financial systems. This was done through a mapping process completed by two postdoctoral fellows and funded through the University of Waterloo Trailblazer Fund and a Cybersecurity and Privacy Institute Seed Grant.

 

 

Defence and Security Foresight GroupDSFG logo

I am the Director of the DSFG, a network of academics from across Canada who will provide forecasting on pivotal security and defence flashpoints to the Department of National Defence (DND) over the next three years.

We have five thematic teams and one GBA+ team - 1) North American security, led by Dr. Brian Bow (Dalhousie University) and Dr. Veronica Kitchen (University of Waterloo); 2) Sub-Saharan Africa and Multinational Stabilization Operations, led by Dr. Jennifer Baechler and Dr. David Black (Dahousie University); 3) Russia, Eastern Europe, and NATO led by Dr. Alexander Lanoszka (University of Waterloo) and Dr. Christian Leuprecht (Royal Military College of Canada); 4) the Middle East and North Africa led by Dr. Thomas Juneau (University of Ottawa) and Dr. Aisha Ahmad (University of Toronto); 5) Asia Pacific led by Dr. Stéphanie Martel (Queen's University) and Dr. Brian Job (University of British Columbia); and 6) our Gender Based Analysis + (GBA+) Application team led by Dr. Maya Eichler (Mount Saint Vincent University).

For more information, visit our website.

This project was funded through a Department of National Defence MINDS Collaborative Network Grant.

 

International Relations and Geopolitics

Canada and the Middle East

Canada’s relations with the Middle East have attracted significant attention in recent years. While not always seen as a pivotal player in international relations, Canada has arguably increased its presence and interest in the Middle East. Some of this increased attention is due to the heightened instability of the Middle East after the Arab Spring, but it is also reflective of a renewed attempt to ‘bring Canada back’ in international affairs. While the media and policy efforts have increased their attention on Canada’s relationship with the Middle East, academic analysis and contribution to the study of Canada-Middle East relations remains limited: very few articles and books have been written on the topic. With Dr. Thomas Juneau, from the University if Ottawa, we will be developing an edited volume which proposes to fill this important academic gap by bringing together many of Canada’s leading experts on Canada’s relations with the Middle East.

This project was funded by a Department of National Defence Targeted Engagement Grant.

 

Populism

The goal of this project is to build knowledge and understanding of resiliency to right-wing populism, which over the past few years has achieved electoral success hitherto unseen in the post-war era. Drawing from a literature review of populism and resiliency, this project will probe new research questions, test ideas about resiliency, and generate foundational empirical material that will provide a crucial starting point for further research to inform policy on this important political phenomenon. The project’s specific objectives are: 

Bessma Momani - Center for Pluralism

  • to develop a comprehensive set of questions addressing the gaps in the existing body of knowledge on resilience to right-wing populism
  • to test new research questions about resiliency to right-wing populism; and,
  • to contribute new knowledge to a nascent political science literature on modes of resiliency;

We will be replicating the Global Party Survey designed by Harvard University’s Pippa Norris at the provincial level in Canada entitled “Assessing Populism in Canada.” Participation to this study is done by invitation only, and the Consent Letter can be found here: Assessing Populism in Canada_Consent Letter.pdf

This project is funded through a Social Science and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Insight Development Grant.

 

Previously completed research banner

Gender and the Workforce

Best Practices in Gender DiversityLangdon Hall Event 2019 - Lieutenant Governor Elizabeth Dowdeswell, Bessma Momani, Kathleen Wynne, and Shari Graydon

In March 2019, we brought together a carefully-selected group of 50 professionals from male-dominated industries whose companies had a track-record of excellence in the representation of women and other underrepresented groups. These professionals participated in a day-long workshop to brainstorm best-practices in both the recruitment and retention of women and under-represented groups in their companies. We were fortunate to have a number of prominent individuals provide keynote speeches and participate on discussion panels, such as Lieutenant Governor Elizabeth Dowdeswell, and Former Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne. 

Please read our report here: Best Practices in Gender Diversity Report

This project was funded by an Innovation for Defence Excellence and Security (IDEaS) Grant.

Gender in the Academy

I am currently completing research on the relationship between gender and academia, specifically assessing gender equity in Canadian universities among faculty deans.

We have received funding to host a book workshop, and subsequently publish an edited volume on this topic. This collection will feature evidence-based, Canadian focused work on all aspects of gender in academia, from undergraduate degrees through to high level administration. The aim of the book is to create a pool of Canada-specific data to lay the groundwork for substantive policy change in this area.

This project was funded through a University of Waterloo Gender Equity Research Grant and a Social Science and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Connection Grant.

 

Canadian Defence and Security

Canadian Network for Defence and Security Analysis (August 2018 - August 2019)

The Canadian Network for Defence and Security Analysis (CNDSA), led through a partnership between Bessma Momani and Brian Bow, has been assembled to forge closer ties between Canadian defence organizations and the academic community. It is a prototype for a larger network-building program supported by the Department of National Defence’s (DND) Defence Engagement Program.CNDSA Network 2018

The key objective of this network is to build a comprehensive network of scholars and technical experts who are driven to develop advanced foresight and strategic analysis in the domain of Canadian defence and security. Research undertaken is to be informed by methodological rigour in reference to multidisciplinary academic and policy research, in a manner that is responsive to the needs and capacity of the DND. Future scenario forecasting will be used to produce policy-relevant knowledge to inform and guide DND and the defence and security policy community, as the government proceeds with the implementation of the new Strong, Secure and Engaged (SSE) defence policy. The majority of network members are established scholars, defence and security experts, and recognized authorities in their respective fields; however, early-career scholars have also been recruited, in order to support and encourage a new generation of defence experts through professional development and mentoring.

Please see our 2019 report here: CNDSA 2019 Report

This project was funded through a Department of National Defence Engagement Program - Special Projects.