Graduate Research Awards for Disarmament, Arms Control and Non-Proliferation 2014-2015

-Report of the 2014-2015 Graduate Research Awards for Disarmament, Arms Control and Non-Proliferation Debates - Ottawa, February 20, 2015

-Recipients of the 2014-2015 Graduate Research Awards

The 2014-2015 competition is now closed for applications.

(message en français)

Graduate Research Awards for Disarmament, Arms Control and Non-Proliferation (GRA) 2014-2015 are offered by The Simons Foundation and The International Security Research and Outreach Programme (ISROP) of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada (DFATD).

The primary objective of the Graduate Research Awards is to enhance Canadian graduate level scholarship on disarmament, arms control and non-proliferation issues.

A total of eight awards of Cdn$3,000 will be available to Canadian Masters and/or Doctoral students to support the research and writing of short position papers that will be presented at the Graduate Research Awards (GRA) Debates in Ottawa hosted by DFATD.  Awards include travel support to Ottawa (domestic transportation, accommodation, and meals) where successful candidates will be invited to present their completed position papers in the form of a one-to-one debate during a special event at DFATD in February 2015.  For applicants pursuing studies abroad, a limited number of Canadian international students' travel costs may be covered. 

Deadline for applications:                             October 27, 2014
Selection of short-listed candidates:             December 3, 2014
Deadline for position papers:                        January 5, 2014
Selection of eight award recipients:              February 4, 2015


Applications should be sent to Elaine Hynes at The Simons Foundation by email to: by the close of business (PST) on October 27, 2014.  Hard copies of official transcripts and other documents may be sent to follow by mail. Your application must include:

  • An introductory letter of interest that supports your candidacy for the GRA programme.
  • A writing sample (up to 1,500 words) that addresses non-proliferation, arms control and disarmament (NACD) issues.
  • Your resume, including proof of citizenship status.
  • A complete, official transcript of your grades.
  • A letter of reference from your supervisor.
  • A second letter of reference.

Note: Letters of reference may be faxed or scanned and sent by email but should be shown on letterhead and include the writer's signature.  


Canadian citizens and Canadian permanent residents/landed immigrants are eligible to apply, including Canadian graduate students currently studying abroad.  Previous recipients of a Graduate Research Award are eligible to apply, but priority will be given to students who have not already participated in the programme in order to expand the community of Canadian scholars working on non-proliferation, arms control and disarmament (NACD) issues.


Following the initial review of applications, up to 16 candidates will be short-listed for further consideration.  Applicants will be advised by December 3, 2014 if they have been short-listed.  Each of the short-listed candidates will be assigned one of the four pre-determined debate topics (see below) and will be required to research and write, individually and independently, a 1,000 to 1,500 word position paper arguing in favour or against, as instructed.  Suggested reading lists for each topic will be provided, along with a position paper template.  Position papers must be submitted by January 5, 2015. Short-listed applicants may be re-assigned a debate topic for presentation at the GRA debates, to ensure appropriate debate pairings. The eight students whose position papers make the strongest argument for their assigned position, and are chosen to receive the award, will be notified by February 4, 2015.


Award winners will be invited to present their positions at the GRA Debates hosted by DFATD in Ottawa in February 2015.  At the debates, an additional monetary award of $1,000 will be presented to the students who make the most effective arguments in support of their positions in each of the four debates.   The debates will be subject to the Chatham House Rule and a report of the GRA Debates, including the position papers presented, will be published online by The Simons Foundation. Please note that attendance at the GRA Debates is a mandatory requirement of the award.  Travel, accommodation and meal expenses will be provided by ISROP, in accordance with Government of Canada Treasury Board Guidelines and with the supplementary support of The Simons Foundation, if required.

GRA DEBATE TOPICS* for 2014-2015:

Debate #1:  Arms Control (WMD and conventional) in Conflict Zones and Non-permissive Environments
In favour vs Against
Be it resolved that effective arms control is a necessary component and precondition for a sustainable peace settlement.

Debate #2:  Non-proliferation and Disarmament
In favour vs Against
Be it resolved that Cold War era instruments are sufficient in achieving crucial nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament objectives in the current post-Cold War international context.

Debate #3:  Space and Export Controls
In favour vs Against
Be it resolved that existing provisions under international export control regimes (e.g. the Wassenaar Arrangement) are sufficient, to effectively regulate the export of sensitive space technologies.

Debate #4:  Nuclear Cooperation Agreements
In favour vs. Against
Be it resolved that the conclusion of a bilateral Nuclear Cooperation Agreement (NCA), resting on the inclusion of certain preconditions, can have a net positive result for nuclear non-proliferation, for nuclear safety and security objectives, and for broader regional security goals.

*Positions will be assigned to the short-listed candidates; Each topic will require arguments “for” and “against”.

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, Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada or the Government of Canada.