Gender-Based Analysis Plus (GBA+)

General Information
Governance structures

NSERC’s GBA+ implementation plan

In 2018-19, NSERC built upon the initiatives included in NSERC’s Framework on Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) to develop a Tri-agency EDI Action Plan in collaboration with the Canada Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC). This plan aims to harmonize efforts towards promoting and integrating EDI /GBA+ considerations across the three federal research agencies.

Implementation of the Tri-agency EDI Action Plan commits NSERC to integrate GBA+/EDI considerations into its policies, indicators of research excellence, evaluation criteria, and departmental decision-making processes in order to eliminate systemic biases that hinder equitable access to its programs.

In 2018-19, NSERC continued initiatives to ensure that GBA+/EDI is integrated into agency decision-making and processes, including:

  • Introducing a requirement that all new NSERC employees complete the GBA+ online training module developed by Women and Gender Equity Canada (WAGE).
  • A requirement for managers, human resources staff, and other employees involved in staffing to complete training on Bias Awareness in the Staffing Selection Process.
  • Continuing its commitment to WAGE’s GBA+ Departmental Action Plan on Gender-based Analysis.

Monitoring and reporting mechanisms

NSERC mechanisms to increase transparency and accountability in reporting and monitoring progress on GBA+/EDI initiatives include:

  • Having NSERC’s EDI Framework on the agency’s website, to be transparent and accountable to the public.
  • Including questions to support GBA+ analysis as part of NSERC program evaluations.
  • Completing the GBA+ Supplementary Table annually and GBA+ appendices to TB submissions.
  • Reporting on WAGE’s GBA+ Implementation Survey annually.

Governance bodies

NSERC’s Working Group on EDI is responsible for the implementation of NSERC’s Framework on EDI and acts as the GBA+ Responsibility Centre. The working group includes representatives from all divisions and directorates within NSERC. The working group reports to the Senior Management Roundtable and, when relevant, to the Executive Management Committee; it can also be called upon to provide updates to other management committees including NSERC’s President Management Committee, the Tri-Agency Management Committee, and the Tri-Agency Executive Vice-Presidents.

As part of efforts to increase coordination among the funding agencies, NSERC participates in the Inter-agency Committee on EDI and related working groups to coordinate implementation of the Tri-Agency EDI Action Plan across the NSERC, SSHRC and CIHR, and works towards increased harmonization of data and performance for EDI.

Human resources

In 2018-19, the total full-time equivalents (FTEs) dedicated to GBA+ implementation in the agency included:

  • A GBA+ Responsibility Centre which includes 15 divisional/directorate staff members who contribute approximately 20% of their time annually to embedding EDI in NSERC programs (approximately 2.5 FTE)
  • NSERC’s VP Research Grants and Scholarships, the EDI lead on the Canada Research Coordinating Committee (0 .1 FTE)
  • NSERC’s GBA+ Champion (0.5 FTE)
  • A Senior Policy Advisor for GBA+/EDI who is also NSERC’s GBA+ Focal Point (1 FTE)
  • A Project Manager, EDI (1 FTE)
  • A Program Assistant, EDI (1 FTE)
  • Two Policy Analysts, EDI (2 FTE)
Major initiatives: results achieved

In 2018-19, NSERC implemented the following major initiatives where GBA+ was applied and monitored:

Development of tools and systems to collect and monitor data on under-represented group participation in programs, funding opportunities, peer review and committees:

  • The collection of self-identification data is a central piece of the agencies’ commitment to EDI/GBA+. GBA+ analysis found that data collection for most of NSERC programs was limited to the sex of applicants, which was found to be insufficient for understanding participation in NSERC programs. To address this gap, in 2018-19 NSERC reviewed its self-identification requirements to collect data from its applicants on the following additional identity factors: age, gender, Indigenous identity, person with a disability and visible minority. The questions for collecting self-identification data from all applicants were harmonized across the three federal research funding agencies (NSERC, SSHRC and CIHR). Collection of self-identification data from reviewers is scheduled to start in 2019-20.
  • NSERC, SSHRC and CIHR publicly reported aggregate statistics on participation of underrepresented groups in major funding competitions during fiscal year 2018-19, as part of the Canada Research Coordinating Committee Progress Report 2018-19 (Annex I: Self-Identification Data Collection in Support of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion). NSERC reported data collected on the Discovery Grants, Partnership Grants, Postdoctoral Fellowships, Postgraduate Scholarships, and tri-agency funding opportunities.
  • This initiative aligns with the Goal on Leadership and Democratic Participation in the Gender Results Framework.

Inclusion of guidance and resources relating to GBA+/EDI consideration in research, research teams and institutions:

  • NSERC has developed guidance for embedding EDI in training, research teams and research design to assist applicants to its funding opportunities (Guide for Applicants: Considering equity, diversity and inclusion in your application), and directs its reviewers to NSERC’s policy statement on EDI, training modules on GBA+, Bias in Peer Review, and on sex and gender in research.
  • In 2018-19, NSERC also undertook an initiative to update evaluation criteria for its funding opportunities in order to recognize EDI considerations in research excellence by updating program documents including: descriptions, application instructions and requirements, and review guides. These updates to evaluation criteria have been made to recognize EDI as a component of research excellence and to reflect NSERC’s commitment to GBA+/EDI.
  • In 2018-19, NSERC expanded EDI related requirements in a number of funding opportunities: Discovery Grants, Discovery Accelerator Supplements, Northern Research Supplements, Research Tools and Instruments, Ship Time, Subatomic Physics grants, Postgraduate/Canada Graduate Scholarships – Doctoral, Postdoctoral Fellowships, CREATE and Promo Science).
  • This initiative aligns with the Goal on Leadership and Democratic Participation in the Gender Results Framework.

Identify and implement best practices for assessing researcher excellence unbiased by leave taken:

  • In 2018-19, NSERC undertook an analysis on the relationship between types of applicants (male, female, early Career Researchers, established Researchers), types of leave taken by applicants, and the success rates for the Discovery Grants.
  • As a result of this analysis, NSERC strengthened and harmonized procedures for consideration of eligibility for delays in research within the Discovery Grants review process. NSERC will continue to monitor the relationship between reported leaves and competition outcomes.
  • This initiative aligns with the Goal on Economic Participation and Prosperity in the Gender Results Framework.

Participation in public forums across the country and internationally to convey and consult on agency EDI initiatives; collaboration with stakeholders and EDI experts:

  • In 2018-19, NSERC participated in EDI related public forums across Canada such as the national event From Principles to Action: Collaborating to Create and Inclusive Research Culture organized by Ryerson University.
  • This initiative aligns with the Goal on Education and Skills Development in the Gender Results Framework.

Tri-Agency Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan:

  • Developed in 2018-19, the Tri-Agency Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan encompasses three broad objectives:
    1. Fair access for all researchers to funding opportunities;
    2. Equitable participation of researchers from underrepresented or disadvantaged groups for a more inclusive research system and culture in Canada’s postsecondary education institutions;
    3. Collecting the data and conducting the analyses necessary to include EDI/GBA+ considerations in decision-making, and reporting on progress.
  • The EDI Action Plan includes broad initiatives that will be implemented through multiple actions related to the agency’s policies, programs and activities. A public version of the plan will be posted on NSERC’s website in 2019-20.
  • This initiative was designed to increase EDI throughout agency policies, programs and activities, as a result of the GBA+ analysis conducted.
  • This initiative aligns with the Goal on Leadership and Democratic Participation

Dimension Pilot Initiative:

  • A GBA+ analysis supported the adaptation of the Athena SWAN model to the Canadian context.
  • The design and early development of the made-in-Canada version of the UK Athena SWAN initiative, now known as Dimensions: equity, diversity and inclusion Canada, was informed by in-person consultation sessions held at several post-secondary institutions across the country that took place in September and October 2018. The summary report from these consultations is publicly available.
  • Dimensions is a tri-agency initiative led by NSERC, that intends to publicly recognize post-secondary institutions seeking to increase equity, diversity and inclusion in their environments. The program follows a well-established model of using shared standards, evaluation and benchmarking, to raise performance.
  • Dimensions aims to guide Canadian colleges, CEGEPs, polytechnics and universities in developing policies and measures that recognize and address the realities and barriers experienced by members of underrepresented or disadvantaged groups including, but not limited to, women, Indigenous Peoples (First Nations, Inuit and Métis), persons with disabilities, members of visible minority/racialized groups and members of LGBTQ2+ communities.
  • This initiative aligns with the Goal on Equal opportunities and diversified paths in education and skills development
Reporting capacity and data

Program: Discovery Research

For the following funding opportunities data on the sex of applicants was previously collected, and starting in mid-2018-19 data on age, gender (instead of sex), Indigenous identity, persons with a disability and visible minorities is being collected:

  • Discovery Grants
  • Subatomic Physics
  • Collaborative and Thematic Resources Support in Mathematics and Statistics
  • Research Tools and Instruments
  • Major Resources Support
  • General Support
  • EDI Capacity Grant
  • Climate Change and Atmospheric Research Fund
  • Canada Research Chairs*
  • Canada First Research Excellence Fund*
  • Canada Excellence Research Chairs/Canada 150*

Program: Research Training and Talent Development

For the following funding opportunities data on the sex of applicants was previously collected, and starting in mid-2018-19 data on age, gender (instead of sex), Indigenous identity, persons with a disability and visible minorities is being collected:

  • Canada Graduate Scholarships*
  • NSERC Undergraduate Research Awards
  • NSERC Postgraduate Scholarships
  • NSERC Postdoctoral Fellowships
  • CREATE (Collaborative Research and Training Experience)
  • Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships*
  • Banting Postdoctoral Fellowships*
  • Women in NSE/Aboriginal/Gender-Net
  • Prizes

Program: Research Partnerships

Some funding opportunities under this program collect and maintain sufficient individual microdata to be able to undertake GBA+ analysis:

  • Strategic Projects and Networks
  • Advancing Climate Change
  • Automotive Partnerships Canada
  • Industry-Driven Collaborative R&D
  • Idea to Innovation
  • Networks of Centres of Excellence (including NCE-KM, NCE IKTP, CIRCE)
  • Business-Led Networks of Centres of Excellence
  • Centres of Excellence for Commercialization and Research

* Tri-agency funding opportunity managed by NSERC, CIHR and SSHRC.

Public reporting that uses GBA+ data collected by NSERC funding opportunities includes:

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