Equity, Diversity and Inclusion

Tri-Agency EDI Action Plan for 2018–2025

In recent years, the federal research funding agencies have undertaken several initiatives to foster a more equitable, diverse and inclusive research ecosystem in Canada. Despite these efforts, much more needs to be done. In order to achieve world-class research, we must address systemic barriers that limit the full participation of all talented individuals. Moreover, we must create a culture where embedding equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) considerations into all aspects of research is second nature.

The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), under the leadership of the Canada Research Coordinating Committee (CRCC), have developed an action plan that will guide initiatives and decisions to contribute to a system-wide transformation.

The Tri-Agency Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan outlines measures to increase equitable and inclusive access to granting agency funding opportunities. It also details how the granting agencies can influence the achievement of an inclusive post-secondary research system and culture in Canada.

Beyond efforts targeting equity-seeking groups, we recognize that First Nations, Métis and Inuit are rights-holding as First Peoples of Canada, and initiatives should be developed through distinctions-based approaches, as found in the strategic plan Setting new directions to support Indigenous research and research training.

The Tri-Agency Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan will adapt to new realities and insights gained through feedback, literature and national and international promising practices. It is the foundation for a concerted long-term commitment to enhancing EDI in the Canadian research landscape. The funding agencies will continue to listen to and engage with the community to support concrete change.

Objective 1

Fair access to tri-agency research support
Equitable and inclusive access for all members of the research community to granting agency funding opportunities
Objective-level key performance indicators:
  1. Application rates from underrepresented groupsFootnote 1 in grant and scholarship competitions and prize nominations
  2. Award rates of applicants from underrepresented groups in grant and scholarship competitions and prize nominations
  3. Application-award differential
Target (for all indicators): year-over-year improvement
Outcome Initiative


Comprehensive data is available to help identify equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI)Footnote 2-related barriers and inform decision-making in granting agency funding programs


Establish mechanisms to collect, monitor, and report self-identification data on applicants to agency funding programs, peer reviewers/selection committee members, and advisory/governance board members


Systematically monitor and use external quantitative and qualitative data to inform EDI-related granting agency decision-making


All policies, plans, programs and processes related to allocating granting agency support are equitable and inclusive, and mitigate bias against underrepresented groups


Provide staff, peer review/selection committee members and advisory/governance board members with EDI resources and training


Apply EDI analysis to agency policies, plans, programs and processes to identify and address barriers to equitable participation of members from underrepresented groups


Diverse participants are included in peer review/selection committee and advisory/governance board decision making


Put in place policies and processes so that granting agency peer review/selection committee and agency-appointed advisory/governance boards are inclusive and reflect Canada’s diversity


Equity, diversity and inclusion considerations are integral to criteria used to assess research excellence, understood to include contributions of members of the research community, research design and practices, and approaches to team-based research and training


Put in place mechanisms to review and apply comprehensive criteria used to understand, recognize and assess research excellence

Objective 2

Equitable participation in the research system
Influence the achievement of an inclusive post-secondary research system and culture in Canada
Objective-level key performance indicators:
  1. Proportion of those who teach or conduct research at Canadian post-secondary institutions from underrepresented groups
  2. Proportion of students enrolled at Canadian post-secondary institutions from underrepresented groups
Target (for both indicators): year-over-year improvement, with the goal of each group’s participation being representative of the Canadian population
Outcome Initiative


Tri-agency helps drive systemic and research culture change within Canada’s post-secondary system


Implement two pilot initiatives: a Canadian adaptation of the UK’s Athena SWAN program (Dimensions) and an institutional EDI capacity-building grants program


Implementation of the 2019 Addendum to the 2006 Canadian Human Rights Settlement Agreement for the Canada Research Chairs Program
(CRCP)Footnote 3


Establish tri-agency EDI policy instruments to promote equitable practices and mitigate systemic biases


Tri-agency demonstrates leadership at the most senior levels, by engaging with the research community on EDI issues and by supporting and participating in EDI activities and outreach


The number of individuals from underrepresented groups entering, participating and remaining in the research ecosystem is more representative of the Canadian population


In collaboration with institutions, implement measures to enhance the participation and retention of individuals from underrepresented groups within the research talent pool

Download a PDF version of the Action Plan.

Related documents

Tri-agency logos



Equity, diversity and inclusion


Equity, diversity and inclusion


Equity, diversity and inclusion


Contact Newsletter

Get highlights of things happening at NSERC delivered to your email inbox. View all Newsletters

  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Youtube
  • Instagram