Second round of successful Kanishka Project research proposals
The Kanishka Project Contribution Program is a multi-year investment in terrorism-focused research funded by the Government of Canada. Its primary focus is on research, but it also supports other activities necessary to build knowledge and create a vibrant network of researchers and students that spans disciplines and universities. Through this project, the government is funding policy-relevant projects that will help to better understand terrorism in the Canadian context, how that is changing over time, and how policies and programs can best counter terrorism and violent extremism in Canada.
Funding has been awarded in this second round for the following projects. The third call for proposals closed on November 30, 2012, and is currently being assessed. The call for proposals for the fourth round of funding will close April 15, 2013.
Right wing extremism in Canada (University of Ontario Institute of Technology; Dr. Barbara Perry, Lead Investigator)
This project will study the current state of right-wing extremist activity in Canada, to assess implications for national security and counter-terrorism. Research will consist of interviews with front-line officers and other officials responsible for national security, community organizers, and members of right-wing extremist groups, along with an examination of web content, court records and media.
The study will seek to: identify those right wing groups that plan, engage or incite violence; assess the frequency, nature and severity of the violence; and identify internal and external factors that might give rise to violence. The project will also seek to develop a law enforcement training module, with the assistance of law enforcement officers, based on the results. The Department will contribute up to $77,305 to this project over three years.
A system for measuring population response to a crisis in online social networks (McGill University; Dr. Derek Ruths, Lead Investigator)
Researchers will analyze real-time social responses to sudden or rapidly evolving social conditions in crisis or emergency situations, using data streams from the Twitter online social platform. Information gathered and measurements produced by the system being developed will provide insights into Canadians’ responses to both acts of terrorism and other emergencies, in part through comparison with responses to other crises.
The research is about understanding population-level patterns in crisis and emergency situations, rather than particular individuals, such as which topics are being discussed, how different populations feel about such topics, their demographics (gender, age, educational level), and their geographic distribution. In addition, this project aims to support improving the ways in which government organizations engage with communities in mitigating, preparing, responding and recovering from crises. The Department will contribute up to $85,100 to this project over two years.
Understanding and responding to terrorist threats to critical infrastructure (Dalhousie University; Dr. Kevin Quigley, Lead Investigator)
This project will examine how owners and operators of critical infrastructure understand terrorist threats, what issues influence the manner in which they respond, how they manage threats related to distinct but interdependent infrastructure sectors, and what lessons can be drawn in terms of resilience and cooperation. The approach pays particular attention to differences between complex regular risks (such as recurring natural disasters) and uncertain, potentially catastrophic risks (such as terrorism or rare and unpredictable natural disasters).
The project builds on a previous research project which interviewed owners and operators of critical infrastructure, and which suggests critical infrastructure sectors focus much more on complex regular risks. This project proposes to conduct new interviews and further analyze data from the previous research, to explore how owners and operators understand and manage uncertain risks, looking at terrorism in particular, and how these processes can be improved. The sectors to be examined are transport (marine, air and surface), agriculture, and dangerous chemicals. The Department will contribute up to $104,420 over three years to this project.
Terrorist and extremist organizations’ use of the internet for recruitment (Donnybrook Research and Analysis; Dr. Garth Davies, Lead Investigator, with support from Simon Fraser University)
This project will develop and implement a customized web program to gain a better understanding of terrorist organizations’ use of the Internet for recruitment. This research builds on a previous project where a similar web program was created and used to investigate child pornography. The research team will adapt the tool for application in the context of terrorism.
The software tool proposed is a custom-written program that automatically browses the Internet, based on pre-set rules and specified criteria so as to identify relevant sites, and then collects information about the pages visited. This information, in turn, will support analysis to determine the prevalence of recruiting materials, offer insights into the process and nature of recruitment, and inform our understanding of who might be targeted for recruitment. The Department will contribute up to $116,146 to this project over three years.
Cultural Competency training as a response to radicalization leading to violence (Jewish General Hospital; Dr. Myrna Lashley, Lead Investigator, in partnership with the University of Saskatchewan, the University of Quebec in Montreal, Ryerson University, and the Environics Institute)
This proposal will assess how cultural competency training programs are perceived by police personnel to contribute to organizational performance on national security – e.g. engagement activities with communities; creation of tools specific to particular communities; hiring practices; and reduction of perceptions of racial profiling. Further, this research will also examine community members’ perceptions of such interactions with police.
Research is to be conducted in Montreal, Toronto and Saskatoon, and results are intended to provide information and recommendations on the value of cultural competency training relative to the national security needs of Canada, as well as the value of such training in promoting trust with communities. The project is supported by law enforcement organizations, and would contribute to enhancing front-line training. The Department will contribute up to $350,264 over four years.