Gender-based analysis plus

Section 1: institutional GBA Plus governance and capacity

Governance

Implementation of GBA Plus and equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) at NSERC is guided by the Tri-Agency Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Action Plan for 2018-25, which outlines measures to increase fair access to agency funding opportunities and to promote equitable and inclusive participation in the Canadian post-secondary research system. In addition, NSERC launched its new strategic plan in September 2022. NSERC 2030: Discovery, innovation, inclusion emphasizes the overarching importance of equity, diversity, accessibility, and inclusion across all our programs and throughout the research ecosystem.

GBA Plus and EDI in the workplace are operationalized through federal legislation such as the Employment Equity Act, the Canadian Multiculturalism Act, the Official Languages Act, and the Accessibility Act.

NSERC’s co-champions for GBA Plus/EDI are the Associate Vice-President, Research Grants and Scholarships, and the Vice-President, Research Partnerships. The Committee on Equity, Diversity and Inclusion is a standing committee that provides advice to NSERC’s Council and Vice-Presidents on funding opportunities that support discovery, innovation, and equity, diversity and inclusion, as well as other related policy issues. The Interagency Committee on EDI coordinates implementation of the Tri-agency EDI Action Plan.

Capacity

In support of GBA Plus capacity, NSERC collects data through the Tri-agency self-identification questionnaire from stakeholders engaging in NSERC funding opportunities. The questionnaire covers eight dimensions: age, gender identity, sexual orientation, Indigenous identity, visible minority identity, population group, disability and language.

An integral element of GBA Plus at NSERC is the GBA Plus Community of Practice through which staff can meet to share ideas and expertise regarding GBA Plus in relation to design and delivery of programs and services. In 2022-23, NSERC began work on a synthesis of key findings from GBA Plus of funding opportunities completed to date. Once complete, this report will enable the agency to share progress with stakeholders and the research community, promoting transparency in its work.

Section 2: gender and diversity impacts, by program

Core responsibility: Funding Natural Sciences and Engineering Research and Training

Program name: Discovery Research Program

Program goals: This program provides grants to researchers and universities to maintain a diverse and competitive research base in Canada and support global excellence and leadership in discovery research. The creation and advancement of knowledge generated by these grants is necessary to fuel a strong, globally competitive research and innovation system in Canada. Funding allows researchers the freedom to explore and be less risk averse, train students in the art of creative and critical thinking for tomorrow’s challenges, support research salaries, purchase or develop research equipment, and facilitate national and international research collaboration.

Target population: All Canadians, members of the research community

Distribution of benefits

Distribution of benefits
    First group Second group Third group Fourth group Fifth group  
By gender Men x Women
Distribution of benefits
    First group Second group Third group  
By age group Youth   x   Senior

Key program impacts* on gender and diversity

Key program impacts* on gender and diversity
Statistic Observed results* Data source Comment
Percentage of newly funded recipients who self-identify as “Indigenous peoples” n/a Self-identification questionnaire Sample size not sufficient for reporting due to privacy guidelines.
Percentage of newly funded recipients who self-identify as “Women” 25.4% Self-identification questionnaire Target: year over year improvement.
Percentage of newly funded recipients who self-identify as “Persons with disabilities” 3.6% Self-identification questionnaire Target: year over year improvement.
Percentage of newly funded recipients who self-identify as “Visible minorities” 29.3% Self-identification questionnaire Target: year over year improvement.

*2022-23

Other key program impacts

  • GBA Plus of the Discovery Grants and Discovery Institutes Support grants funding opportunities were completed in 2022-23. Implementation plans have been developed to implement recommendations, including improvements to program policies, guidance, literature, and processes.
  • In 2022-23, NSERC provided the following enhanced EDI resources for the research community:
    • A new EDI at NSERC webpage launched in January 2023, helping the research community navigate NSERC policies relating to career interruptions and the review process as well as grants and awards that address barriers and biases experienced by underrepresented groups. Also available on this page are resources designed to assist natural sciences and engineering researchers with integrating EDI considerations into their work. Finally, the page includes information on concrete actions NSERC is taking to increase EDI and on the data it collects to support these initiatives.
    • NSERC published a new Guide on integrating equity, diversity, and inclusion considerations in research in June 2022. It includes two main sections: 1) guidance on embedding EDI considerations at each stage of the research process, and 2) EDI considerations in building research teams, including recruitment, retention and the roles of team members throughout the course of a research project.

Supplementary information sources

GBA Plus data collection plan

Applicants and peer reviewers for funding opportunities included under the Discovery Research program are required to complete the self-identification questionnaire.

NSERC’s Chief Data Office has developed a privacy-secured repository of self-identification data in a standardized, linkable, and analysis-ready format to facilitate GBA Plus and EDI-related analysis using data collected in NSERC funding opportunities.

Program name: Research Training and Talent Development

Program goals: This program provides grants, scholarships and fellowships to attract, retain and develop the next generation of scientists and engineers, as well as to promote science to Canadian youth to encourage an early interest in science. The student support provided at all postsecondary levels helps Canada develop a talented, skilled and inclusive workforce.

Target population: All Canadians, students, members of the research community

Distribution of benefits

Distribution of benefits
    First group Second group Third group Fourth group Fifth group  
By gender Men x Women
Distribution of benefits
    First group Second group Third group  
By age group Youth   x   Senior

Specific demographic group outcomes

  • The range of underrepresented groups considered for the equalization process was expanded for doctoral scholarship and postdoctoral fellowship funding opportunities. NSERC aims for the proportion of short-listed or funded applications from those who self-identify as members of underrepresented groups to be at least similar to the proportion of applications received from these groups. This equalization process is performed as needed, and only amongst meritorious applications.
  • Budget 2022 provided funds to increase the number of Black students and postdoctoral researchers directly supported by the three federal granting agencies’ scholarships and fellowships programs. NSERC developed a mechanism in collaboration with CIHR and SSHRC to provide additional support for Black students and postdoctoral researchers, which was implemented in the 2023 competition.

Key program impacts* on gender and diversity

Key program impacts* on gender and diversity
Statistic Observed results* Data source Comment
Percentage of newly funded recipients who self-identify as “Indigenous peoples” 3.8% Self-identification questionnaire Target: year over year improvement.
Percentage of newly funded recipients who self-identify as “Women” 47.7% Self-identification questionnaire Target: year over year improvement.
Percentage of newly funded recipients who self-identify as “Persons with disabilities” 7.1% Self-identification questionnaire Target: year over year improvement.
Percentage of newly funded recipients who self-identify as “Visible minorities” 31.8% Self-identification questionnaire Target: year over year improvement.

*2022-23

Other key program impacts

  • In 2022-23, GBA Plus was completed for the following funding opportunities: Postdoctoral Fellowships and NSERC Prizes (Herzberg, Polanyi, Brockhouse). Implementation plans are currently being developed. For prizes, recommendations in the following key areas have been partially or fully addressed: strategically increase communication to attract diverse candidates; decrease barriers to nomination; reflect a diversity of valued research contributions in the literature; remove value statements and gendered language in the literature; provide more guidance for members and chairs around best practices for recognizing and reducing biases during deliberations. Additional recommendations, including developing clear selection criteria and rating grids, have been identified for implementation in upcoming competition cycles.

Supplementary information sources

GBA Plus data collection plan

Applicants to funding opportunities included under the Research Training and Talent Development program are required to complete the self-identification questionnaire.

NSERC’s Chief Data Office has developed a privacy-secured repository of self-identification data in a standardized, linkable, and analysis-ready format to facilitate GBA Plus and EDI-related analysis using data collected in NSERC funding opportunities.

Program name: Research Partnerships

Program goals: This program supports research partnerships between postsecondary researchers and partner organizations from the private, public or not-for-profit sectors to generate new knowledge and accelerate the application of research results to create benefits for Canada. The program enhances the investments partners make in research by adding value and supporting innovation on the path from ideas to commercialization. These partnerships also allow firms to access the knowledge base supported through the Discovery Research program.

Target population: All Canadians, members of the research community

Distribution of benefits

Distribution of benefits
    First group Second group Third group Fourth group Fifth group  
By gender Men x Women
Distribution of benefits
    First group Second group Third group  
By age group Youth   x   Senior

Key program impacts* on gender and diversity

Key program impacts* on gender and diversity
Statistic Observed results* Data source Comment
Percentage of newly funded recipients who self-identify as “Indigenous peoples” n/a Self-identification questionnaire Sample size not sufficient for reporting due to privacy guidelines.
Percentage of newly funded recipients who self-identify as “Women” 22.4% Self-identification questionnaire Target: year over year improvement.
Percentage of newly funded recipients who self-identify as “Persons with disabilities” 2.6% Self-identification questionnaire Target: year over year improvement.
Percentage of newly funded recipients who self-identify as “Visible minorities” 38.4% Self-identification questionnaire Target: year over year improvement.

*2022-23

Other key program impacts

Supplementary information sources

GBA Plus data collection plan

Applicants to funding opportunities included under the Research Partnerships program are required to complete the self-identification questionnaire.

NSERC’s Chief Data Office has developed a privacy-secured repository of self-identification data in a standardized, linkable, and analysis-ready format to facilitate GBA Plus and EDI-related analysis using data collected in NSERC funding opportunities.

Program name: Internal Services

Program goals: Internal Services are groups of related activities and resources that are administered to support the needs of programs and other corporate obligations of the agency, such as communications services, financial management, human resources management, information management, information technology, management and oversight services, material, travel and other administrative services. Internal Services include only those activities and resources that apply across an organization and not to those provided specifically to a program.

Target population: All Canadians, NSERC staff

Key program impacts* on gender and diversity

One of the pillars of NSERC’s new Strategic Plan, NSERC 2030, is to empower our organization and our people. By promoting GBA Plus, EDI, bilingualism and accessibility in the workplace, and by identifying and removing barriers so employees can achieve their full potential, NSERC cultivates a working environment that fosters creativity and excellence, promotes employee well-being and rewards all forms of success.

Highlights for 2022-23 include:

  • Published NSERC’s Accessibility Plan in December 2022;
  • Established a direction for hybrid work and provided continued flexibility for employees to work effectively based on work and personal needs;
  • Facilitated hiring diversified talent anywhere in Canada;
  • Offered access to safe and confidential services and support for addressing individual and organizational workplace issues through the Office of the Ombuds and Workplace Well-Being;
  • Continued to strengthen a culture of equity, diversity, and inclusion and leadership accountability.

All NSERC staff are required to complete the Introduction to GBA Plus online course, with 77% of employees having completed the training as of March 2023. Staff are also required to complete The Uncomfortable Truth: A Brief History of the Relationship Between Indigenous Peoples and the Government of Canada, offered through the Canada School of Public Service, and the Introduction to Security Awareness course. Furthermore, staff members who handle self-identification data must take the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Data and Privacy Protection course.

NSERC promotes GBA Plus and EDI internally and externally. Engaging Canadians with clear messaging that is relevant to everyday priorities demonstrates the impact of natural sciences and engineering research and helps keep our research ecosystem robust and active. In 2022-23 the following initiatives were completed:

  • Promoting GBA Plus Awareness Week and associated events to all NSERC staff (May 2022)
  • Promoting National Indigenous History Month and National Indigenous Peoples Day on social media, highlighting NSERC activities and NSERC-funded researchers (June 2022)
  • Updating communications approaches to encourage diversity in nominations for NSERC Prizes (October 2022)
  • Social media campaigns for Pride in STEM Day (November 18)
  • International Day for Persons with Disabilities (December 3); publishing an original impact story featuring a researcher with disabilities
  • Marking the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women (December 6)
  • Social media campaigns to highlight International Day for Women and Girls in Science (February 11) and International Women’s Day (March 8)

Scales

Target Population: See Finance Canada definition of Target Group in the User Instructions for the GBA Plus Departmental Summary)

Gender scale

  • First group: predominantly men (80% or more men)
  • Second group: 60% to 79% men
  • Third group: broadly gender-balanced
  • Fourth group: 60% to 79% women
  • Fifth group: predominantly women (80% or more women)

Income level scale

  • First group: strongly benefits low income individuals (strongly progressive)
  • Second group: somewhat benefits low income individuals (somewhat progressive)
  • Third group: no significant distributional impacts
  • Fourth group: somewhat benefits high income individuals (somewhat regressive)
  • Fifth group: strongly benefits high income individuals (strongly regressive)

Age group scale

  • First group: primarily benefits youth, children or future generations
  • Second group: no significant intergenerational impacts or impacts on generations between youths and seniors
  • Third group: primarily benefits seniors or the baby boom generation

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