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Security-Policy Nexus of Emerging Technology (SPNET) is a Concordia-led, cross-faculty collaboration between government, industry, researchers and the US Government FAA’s Center of Excellence for UAS Research (ASSURE).

Our work

National defence faces new challenges with the proliferation of autonomous systems (including unmanned aerial vehicles [UAVs]), Artificial Intelligence (AI), Cyber-Physical Systems (CPS) and the Internet of Things (IoT).

SPNET, funded by Canada’s Department of National Defence’s MINDS program, investigates ways to develop and implement systematic and innovative policy frameworks with the aim of providing transparency, predictability, assurance, and accountability of autonomous, AI, and cyberspace systems. The goal is to ensure trust and safety by incorporating legal and ethical requirements into the technology’s design, development and integration.

Motivated by the above, SPNET researchers focus on how public policy, defence decision-makers and technology developers can address the following:

  • Accountability
  • Explainability
  • Transparency
  • Security and safety
  • Fairness
  • Privacy
  • Ethics
  • Human dignity and rights
  • Inequality
  • Economic impacts
  • International cooperation
  • Governance

Our goals

  • Pioneer the development of a policy framework that builds best ethical and legal practices into the design and deployment of new autonomy, AI, IoT, and cybersecurity technologies
  • Create a strong, cross-Canada network of academics, industry, tech leaders and government
  • Support the Department of National Defence
  • Nurture a working relationship between the US Government FAA’s Center of Excellence for UAS Research (ASSURE) and Concordia University — the only Canadian university that is a partner with ASSURE
  • Train Highly Qualified Personnel (HQP), providing hands-on expertise on defence policies related to autonomous systems, machine learning, deep learning and AI, cyberspace, cybersecurity, trust and assurance
  • Prepare the current and next generation of innovators, creators, and developers, regulators and operators in aerospace, defence, transport, technology and engineering to work with industry and government on best practices for emerging technology


Khashayar Khorasani, Director and PI

Rasha Moustapha, Network Project Manager

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