Graduate Student Conference 2024

Submissions are now closed.

Date: May 9-10, 2024

Location: KPMG, 150 Elgin St Suite 1800, Ottawa, ON

This event is complimentary for all participants, including audience members. If you would like to be a part of our audience, please register. Capacity is limited.

The Graduate Student Conference provides students with a unique platform to present their research, create professional connections, and hone their skills for the future.

Who’s coming?


Participants will be given the opportunity to present their research and receive constructive feedback from a panel of high-profile judges who are active decision-makers in industry, government, academia, and think tanks across Canada. Our judges and audience will be taking note of who you are and the quality of your work. This is your chance to get your name out there, showcase your research to senior-level practitioners, and have it shared broadly within the Canadian defence and security community.

FORMAT: The Conference will take place on May 9-10, 2024 at the KPMG office in Ottawa, Ontario. Travel stipends are available and will be awarded on a first come first serve basis.

An evening social will be held for all participants of the Graduate Student Conference. ID required for entry. 

Questions on format/travel stipends can be sent to

  • First Place/The Peter Hunter Award by the Royal Canadian Military Institute: $1000* / Publication featured on CDA Institute social media and newsletter with 20,000+ followers and subscribers
  • Second Place: $750
  • Third Place: $500
  • A fellowship contract (value $8,000$) will be awarded to the presenter who not only offered an outstanding presentation but also focused on a timely and important aspect of national security on which the Institute is seeking in-house expertise. This bursary is supported by our Strategic Partner Metro Supply Chain.


*To be eligible for the Peter Hunter Award your presentation must clearly provide a Canadian security & defence policy response to the topic at hand.

If you are a young professional (age 30 and under), and a doctoral (Ph.D.), master’s level student, or recent graduate (up to 2 years) from an accredited university, you are eligible to participate in the CDA Institute’s Graduate Student Conference as a presenter.


  • Clearly state the topic of your research that you wish to present at the Conference. Areas of interest include but are not limited to: Climate Security / Food & Water Security / Emergency Response / Force Development (C4ISR, NORAD modernization, submarines, etc.) / Recruitment, Retention, and Culture in the Military Profession / Canada-China Relations / Indo-Pacific / North Atlantic security relationships / Radicalization & Disinformation / Technology & New Emerging Threats / Supply Chains.
  • Your research should aim to solve a problem in Canadian national security and defence. Clearly state what that problem is, and how your research can contribute to the solution.
  • Abstracts should be 250 words max.
  • Submit as a PDF or Word document. 

*You do not need to include your full research paper. Only the winner of the Graduate Student Conference will be asked to submit their full research paper for publication.

Presentations are 8-10 minutes in length. All presenters will be asked at least one question by our panel of judges. Presenters may use PowerPoint. More information on what to expect on the day of the event will be provided to applicants whose abstracts are selected.

LGen (Ret’d) Guy R. Thibault, CMM, MSC, CD
President, CDA & Chair of the Board, CDA Institute
Former Vice Chief of the Defence Staff

Dr. Youri Cormier
Executive Director
CDA & CDA Institute

VAdm (Ret’d) Bob Davidson, CMM, MSC, CD, MBA
Board Member, CDA Institute
Former Canadian Military Representative to NATO

LCol Dan Doran
Director, Public Sector Solutions & Client Lead – Defence and Security
KPMG Canada

Col (Ret’d) Rick Fawcett, OMM, CD, BEng, MPA
Vice-President, Strategy & Business Development
ADGA Group Consultants Inc.

Dr. Mike Fejes
Assistant Professor
The Royal Military College of Canada

Alison Grant
Director General, International Security Policy
Global Affairs Canada

Daniel Jean
Board Member, CDA Institute
Former National Security and Intelligence Advisor to the Prime Minister of Canada

MGen (Ret’d) Michel Lalumiere
Director, International Strategic Development – Canada
General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc.

Eric Morse 
Member, Defence and Security Studies Committee and Director of Publications
Royal Canadian Military Institute

Dom Spiers
Director, Canadian Defence and Public Sector

Ray Townsend
Chief of Operations
Lockheed Martin Canada


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