Graduate Research Awards

for Disarmament, Arms Control and Non-Proliferation 2013-2014

Competition Details

Graduate Research Awards for Disarmament, Arms Control and Non-Proliferation 2013-2014 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 early 2014. For applicants pursuing studies abroad, a limited number of Canadian international students’ travel costs may be covered.

  • Deadline for applications:                      October 15, 2013
  • Selection of short-listed candidates:  November 12, 2013
  • Deadline for position papers:             December 12, 2013
  • Selection of eight award recipients:    January 17, 2014

How to Apply:

Applications should be sent to Elaine Hynes at The Simons Foundation by email to: by the close of business (PST) on October 15, 2013.  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.


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 NACD issues.

Selection Process:

Following the initial review of applications, up to 16 candidates will be short-listed for further consideration.  Applicants will be advised by November 12, 2013 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 1000 to 1500 word position paper arguing in favour or against, as instructed. Suggested readings for each topic will be provided, along with a position paper template.  Position papers must be submitted by December 12, 2013.  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 January 17, 2014.

GRA Debates:

Award winners will be invited to present their positions at the GRA Debates hosted by DFATD in Ottawa in  February 2014.  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 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 in 2013-2014 1

Debate #1 (Humanitarian Dimensions of Nuclear Weapons):

Be it resolved that the participation of Nuclear Weapon States in negotiations towards a legally-binding instrument banning the possession and/or use of nuclear weapons is a prerequisite for the establishment of an international norm “delegitimizing” and recognizing the severe humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons.

Debate #2 (Middle East WMD Free Zone and the NPT):

Be it resolved that the 2010 decision to convene a conference to establish a Weapons of Mass Destruction Free Zone in the Middle East (MEWMDFZ) should be implemented prior to the 2015 NPT Review Conference, irrespective of whether the prerequisites of peace and security in the region and the attendance of all regional partners can been achieved.  

Debate #3 (Australia Group membership):
Be it resolved that the prevention of the development of chemical and/or biological weapons, and/or their diversion to illicit networks and non-state actors, would be significantly improved by expanded membership in the Australia Group export control regime.

Debate #4 (Counter-Proliferation and Iran):

Be it resolved that the international community can effectively prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapons capability without the need to strengthen existing legal tools and verification measures through the UN Security Council and IAEA as well as multilateral counter-proliferation initiatives such as the Nuclear Suppliers Group and the Proliferation Security Initiative.

To Apply and For More Information Please Visit: The Simons Foundation

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