Gender-Based Analysis Plus (GBA+)

General Information
Governance structures

The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) recognizes the challenges for achieving full participation of individuals from underrepresented groups in natural sciences and engineering research, including equitable access and increased participation of women, visible minorities, Indigenous Peoples, LGBTQ2+ individuals and persons with disabilities, in NSERC’s programs.

To address these challenges, NSERC has committed to the implementation of its Framework on Equity, Diversity and Inclusion.This framework is an eight-point action plan outlining corporate-wide actions and initiatives to integrate equity, diversity and inclusion considerations into its policies, indicators of research excellence, evaluation criteria, and processes in order to eliminate systemic biases that hinder equitable access to its programs. NSERC has undertaken additional initiatives to ensure that GBA+ is integrated into agency decision-making and processes, including:

  • NSERC Statement on Equity, Diversity and Excellence in Natural Sciences and Engineering Research
  • A commitment to building a diversified and competitive research base in the agency’s Strategic plan (NSERC 2020)
  • Requirement that all new NSERC employees complete the GBA+ online training module developed by Women and Gender Equality Canada (WAGE)
  • Requirement that managers, human resources and other employees involved in staffing complete the Bias Awareness in Staffing Selection Process online training module
  • A commitment to WAGE’s GBA+ Departmental Action Plan on Gender-based Analysis
  • Reporting on WAGE’s GBA+ Implementation Survey annually

The agency participates in several internal and tri-agency EDI or GBA+ related committees including:

  • NSERC Working Group on Equity, Diversity and Inclusion
  • EDI Inter-Agency Committee (with the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research)
  • GBA+ Inter-Departmental Committee
  • Canada Research Coordinating Committee (NSERC’s Vice-President of Communications, Corporate and International Affairs is the tri-agency lead on EDI)

The Canada Research Chairs (CRC) program is currently implementing its EDI Action Plan in response to the recommendation in the program’s 15th-year evaluation that requires the adoption of greater transparency and accountability in the allocation of chairs, including in the selection and renewal processes for chair holders. NSERC collaborates with the Tri-agency Institutional Programs Secretariat (TIPS) to develop policies that promote early-career researchers and increase diversity in chair holders, including increasing the number of women who are nominated.

Accountability, monitoring and reporting mechanisms:
NSERC is developing several mechanisms to increase transparency and accountability in reporting and monitoring its progress on GBA+/EDI initiatives, including:

  • Developing a Tri-agency EDI Framework performance management plan
  • Publishing NSERC’s EDI Framework on the agency’s website
  • Including questions to collect GBA+ data in NSERC program evaluations
  • Completing the GBA+ Supplementary Table annually
Human resources

The total number of planned full-time equivalents (FTEs) that will be dedicated to GBA+ implementation in the department in 2019–20 include:

  • Director, EDI (1 FTE)
  • Deputy Director, Interagency Affairs and EDI (1 FTE)
  • Senior Policy Advisor, EDI (NSERC’s GBA+ Focal Point) (1 FTE)
  • Project manager, EDI (1 FTE)
  • Policy Analysts, EDI (2 FTE)
  • Policy Analysts, EDI (2 FTE, projected 2019)
  • Tri-agency lead on EDI for the CRCC ( 0.1 FTE)
Planned initiatives

NSERC will develop or continue to implement major initiatives to apply GBA+ to its programs, processes and policies in 2019–20, including:

1. Self-identification data collection: NSERC is developing and implementing systems to collect and monitor voluntary self-identification data on the participation of individuals from under-represented groups in its funding programs, committees, and peer review processes. This data will allow NSERC to develop a strategy to increase diversity and inclusion in its programs and committees. The collection of data on underrepresented groups in research is a priority area for the Canada Research Coordinating Committee (CRCC). This data collection initiative is being coordinated through an interagency working group involving representatives from the three granting agencies, as well as Genome Canada and the Canada Foundation for Innovation.

2. EDI elements are being integrated into funding application expectations and the assessment of applications by selection committees, including:

  • Recognition of consideration and application of EDI lens in research proposals and personnel selection, alongside other research excellence indicators
  • Updating and improving evaluation criteria to recognize equity, diversity and inclusion; and GBA+ as components of research excellence
  • Policies and practices to increase diversity and gender equity on NSERC committees and panels
  • Expanding EDI guidelines beyond gender equity criteria and applying to all NSERC committees
  • Integrating best practices into NSERC peer review guidelines, application instructions and resources for selection committees and applicants
  • Monitoring the impact on NSERC programs of best practices adopted

3. Implementation of GBA+ Budget 2018 initiatives, including:

  • Developing and implementing a Made-In-Canada Athena SWAN Program pilot
  • Publishing an annual report for Canadians on progress in addressing equity and diversity issues, as required by Budget 2018
  • EDI Institutional Capacity Building Grants
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