Gender-Based Analysis Plus (GBA+)

Institutional GBA+ capacity

NSERC’s Implementation of GBA+ through the Tri-agency EDI Action Plan

In 2019-20, NSERC continued to advance implementation of the Tri-agency EDI Action Plan (2018-2023), working closely with the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), and other agencies and institutions. 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 September 2019, the agencies jointly released the Tri-agency Statement on Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI).

NSERC’s GBA+ Responsibility Centre is in the Corporate Planning and Policy Division. Responsibility Centre staff coordinate and promote GBA+ and EDI activities across the agency; provide input and guidance; support capacity building; generally lead on the integration of GBA+ into Treasury Board submissions; promote GBA+ Awareness Week annually; and, convene NSERC’s Working Group on EDI, a cross-divisional group that facilitates the internal strengthening of GBA+ capacity. In 2019-20, an internal survey of training needs was conducted across NSERC divisions and units, to inform development of tailored capacity training approaches on applying GBA+ and embedding EDI principles and practices throughout agency policies and programs.

NSERC ensures that GBA+/EDI is integrated into agency decision-making and processes. GBA+ was used to inform the 2019 update to the Tri-agency Guide on Financial Administration, requiring institutions that receive agency funding to make concerted efforts to develop and implement policies and procedures that advance the goals of EDI in the use of grant funds, to promote equitable participation in the research system.

Program development and updates
Within the context of the Tri-agency EDI Action Plan, the following actions have been taken, or are underway, to foster greater EDI in Canada’s research ecosystem and strengthen research excellence:

  • On May 9, 2019, the Dimensions: equity, diversity and inclusion Canada pilot program was launched to mobilize the transformational and cultural change needed to increase EDI within post-secondary institutions and the research ecosystem. The program recognizes institutional progress made towards instilling a culture of EDI and addressing systemic barriers in research, particularly those experienced by members of underrepresented or disadvantaged groups, including, but not limited to, women, Indigenous Peoples, persons with disabilities, members of visible minority/racialized groups, and members of LGBTQ2+ communities. As of March 2020, 118 institutions had endorsed the Dimensions charter, most of which were post-secondary institutions; other signatories were research-oriented organizations and federal departments and agencies.
  • The Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Institutional Capacity-Building Grant pilot program awarded $5.3 million in March 2019 to small universities and colleges to help advance EDI. Fifteen institutions received up to $200,000 per year for up to two years to support efforts in eliminating systemic barriers that impede the career advancement, recruitment and retention of underrepresented or disadvantaged groups.
  • NSERC partnered with the U.S. National Science Foundation to support a workshop on February 6-7, 2020 in Alexandria, VA. Thirty-five participants from across the US and Canada from the research and administrative, policy and peer-reviewed journal communities discussed ways to promote rigorous, reproducible and responsible science and technology by incorporating intersectional sex, gender, and diversity analysis into research design, with a focus on engineering and computer science.

In 2019-20, NSERC, SSHRC, CIHR and the Canada Foundation for Innovation CFI) developed a Federal Funding Agency Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Training Plan, presented to the CRCC in January 2020. As part of this plan, agency staff are required to complete the Introduction to GBA+ online course as well as training on Diversity and Inclusion, and Civility and Respect. Recent training completion rates for staff are as follows:

Training Deadline Completion by NSERC Staff
(as of March 31, 2020)
Introduction to GBA+ October 1, 2019 81%
Diversity and Inclusion* March 31, 2022 32%
Civility and Respect* March 31, 2021 24%

* new course introduced in 2019-20

Data collection, monitoring and reporting

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

  • Collecting self-identification data from stakeholders engaging in NSERC funding opportunities (gender, age range, whether they identify as a member of a visible minority group, as Indigenous, and/or as a person with a disability). The availability of these data enables NSERC staff to undertake GBA+ and other EDI-focused analyses in support of enhancing equity, diversity and inclusion in research funding and in the broader research enterprise in Canada.
  • Publishing tri-agency statistics annually in the Canada Research Coordinating Committee (CRCC) progress report.
  • Publishing data for individual NSERC programs and competitions, as it becomes available. For example: 2020 Competition Statistics – Discovery Grants, Research Tools and Instruments and Subatomic Physics Programs.
  • Providing training on data security awareness and privacy protection to agency staff who handle self-identification data.
  • 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.
Highlights of GBA+ Results by Program

Discovery Research

  • In 2019-20, NSERC started collecting self-identification information from review committee members. In 2019-20, 38% of review committee members were women.
  • GBA+ of the following funding opportunities was ongoing in 2019-20:
    • Discovery Grants
    • Research Tools and Instruments
    • Discovery Institutes Support grants

Research Training and Talent Development

  • Paid parental leave for graduate students and postdoctoral fellows who receive granting agency funding was expanded from six to twelve months.
  • Introduced mandatory training on unconscious bias for grants and scholarships review committee members.
  • GBA+ of the following funding opportunity was ongoing in 2019-20:
    • Undergraduate Student Research Awards

Research Partnerships

  • Alliance Grants were created and implemented in 2019-20. Applicants were asked to consider sex, gender and diversity in the project’s research design as well as among the group of co-applicants, collaborators and trainees. 73% of the teams that applied and 72% of awarded teams included a participant from at least one of the following underrepresented groups: women, Indigenous peoples, persons with disabilities and visible minorities.
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