Gender-Based Analysis Plus (GBA+)

General Information
Governance structures

Recognizing that systemic barriers remain in achieving the full participation of underrepresented, disadvantaged, or equity-seeking groups (including, but not limited to, women, Indigenous Peoples, persons with disabilities, members of visible minority/racialized groups and members of LGBTQ2+ communities) in science and engineering careers, NSERC is committed to the implementation of the Tri-Agency Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Action Plan to increase equity in all of its programs and awards and enhance research excellence. (As a “tri-agency” Action Plan, it is being jointly implemented with the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC).)

Achieving a more equitable, diverse and inclusive Canadian research enterprise is essential to creating the excellent, innovative and impactful research necessary to advance knowledge and understanding, and to respond to local, national and global challenges.

With these goals in mind, the agency is committed to:

  • Supporting equitable access to funding opportunities for all researchers and trainees
  • Promoting the integration of equity, diversity and inclusion-related considerations in research design and practices
  • Increasing equitable and inclusive participation in the research system, including on research teams
  • Collecting the data and conducting the analyses needed to include equity, diversity and inclusion considerations in decision-making

The Tri-Agency EDI Action Plan comprises close to two dozen initiatives developed around three key objectives:

  • equitable access to funding opportunities
  • equitable and inclusive participation in the research system
  • data and analyses for decision-making informed by equity, diversity, and inclusion

These initiatives are designed to strengthen both the research community and the quality, social relevance and impact of research.

Examples of initiatives and corporate-wide measures that have been undertaken to ensure that GBA+ is integrated into departmental decision-making processes and programs include:

  • Training plans for staff, peer reviewers and members of governance committees on GBA+ and unconscious bias
  • 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 training on Bias Awareness in Staffing Selection Process
  • GBA+ review of new principle-based Tri-Agency Guide on Financial Administration (TAGFA) and of NSERC’s funding opportunities (research grants and scholarships)
  • 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, Tri-Agency and Government of Canada-wide committees on GBA+/EDI, including:

  • NSERC Working Group on Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, including a number of division-specific committees on equity, diversity and inclusion (internal);
  • Inter-Agency EDI Policy Group (with the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research);
  • Inter-Agency Committee on EDI;
  • Taskforce on Inclusive Language (Inter-agency);
  • WAGE’s GBA+ Interdepartmental Committee;
  • WAGE’s Interdepartmental DG Gender Equality Committee;
  • Canada Research Coordinating Committee (EDI is one of the strategic priorities of the Committee).

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:

  • A new Tri-agency EDI Statement (published online in 2019)
  • Reporting on NSERC’s progress in implementing the Tri-Agency EDI Action Plan, through the department of Innovation, Science and Economic Development (ISED)’s Agency review
  • All program evaluations include a GBA+ component
  • 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 2020–21 include:

  • Director, Policy & Interagency Affairs (1 FTE)
  • Deputy Director, Interagency Affairs (1 FTE)
  • Senior Policy Advisor, EDI (including NSERC’s GBA+ Focal Point) (2 FTE)
  • Project manager, EDI (1 FTE)
  • Policy Analysts, EDI (3 FTE)
  • Junior Policy Analysts (2 FTE)
  • Tri-agency lead on EDI for the CRCC (0.1 FTE)
  • Research Grants and Scholarships (10 FTE)
  • Research Partnerships (1.5 FTE)
  • Networks of Centres of Excellence (0.1 FTE)
  • Policy and International Relations (0.3 FTE)
  • Communications (1 FTE)
Planned initiatives

NSERC will develop or continue to implement major initiatives to apply GBA+ to its programs, processes and policies in 2020-21, including:

1. Baseline cohesion in EDI and foundational policy work around research excellence, including:

  • Advancing the inclusion of EDI considerations in research design, towards a more comprehensive understanding of research excellence;
  • Develop tools and resources to support researchers in embedding sex, gender and diversity considerations and analysis into natural sciences and engineering research;
  • Continued training of agency staff as well as review committee members in order to establish NSERC as a leader in embedding EDI in research.

2. Provide support to institutions as they adapt to policy and program changes, including:

  • Pursuing the implementation of the Dimensions Pilot Program, by working with pilot and affiliate institutions, towards facilitating a post-secondary transformation to increase EDI and help drive deeper cultural changes within the research ecosystem; and
  • Providing pilot funding to institutions to enhance their own capacity to enhance EDI.

3. Self-identification data collection: NSERC developed and implemented systems to collect and monitor voluntary self-identification data on the participation of individuals from underrepresented groups in its funding programs, committees, and peer review processes. NSERC is currently updating the questionnaire based on best practices and new policy developments, including the new Accessible Canada Act as well as the requirements from the 2019 Addendum to the 2006 Canadian Human Rights Settlement Agreement for the Canada Research Chairs Program. These data will inform future diversity and inclusion activities and/or decisions.

Reporting capacity and data

The collection of data on underrepresented groups in research is a priority area for the Canada Research Coordinating Committee (CRCC) and NSERC has started collecting data on applicants (2018) and peer reviewers (2019) in its core programs (Discovery Research; Research Training and Talent Development; Research Partnerships)

Data currently are collected on the following identity factors/questions:

  • Age
    • date of birth
  • Gender
    • Select the option you identify with: woman/man/gender-fluid, non-binary, and/or Two-Spirit/I prefer not to answer;
  • Indigenous Identity
    • Do you identify as Indigenous; that is, First Nations (North American Indian), Métis, or Inuit?;
    • If “Yes”, select the options that you identify with: First Nations/Métis/Inuit/I prefer not to answer
  • Disabilities
    • Do you identify as a person with a disability? Yes/No/I prefer not to answer;
  • Visible Minorities
    • Do you identify as a member of a visible minority in Canada? Yes/No/I prefer not to answer;
    • If “Yes”, select the options that you identify with: Arab; Black; Chinese; Filipino; Japanese; Korean; Latin American; South Asian; Southeast Asian; West Asian; Other visible minority – specify; I prefer not to answer.

Data on participation rates and success rates, using the aforementioned information, are publicly released.

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