College and Community Innovation program

Guide to addressing equity, diversity and inclusion in College and Community Innovation program grant applications

The three federal granting agencies (the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada [NSERC], the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada [SSHRC], and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research [CIHR]) are committed to achieving a more equitable, diverse and inclusive Canadian research enterprise. This commitment is an essential measure to creating the excellent, innovative and impactful research necessary to advance knowledge and understanding, and to respond to local, national and global challenges.

When applying to funding opportunities within the College and Community Innovation (CCI) program, you must include equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) considerations in two major components of your research proposal: composition of the research team and student training. You must explain and demonstrate how

  • you will intentionally and proactively consider EDI in recruiting, selecting and/or integrating personnel into the research team
  • you will promote the participation of a diverse group of students and other trainees, including those from underrepresented groups, as well as provide an equitable, inclusive and accessible training environment

You must give examples of specific initiatives and measures that you have or will put in place to support EDI in the composition of your research team and in your training plan. It is not enough to simply state that you will follow your institution’s EDI policy or that your team is complete and/or diverse.

Your actions to support EDI should be guided by the following overarching objectives:

  • Remove systemic barriers to the recruitment and full participation of individuals from underrepresented groups, including women, Indigenous Peoples (First Nations, Inuit and Métis), persons with disabilities, members of visible minority/racialized groups and members of LGBTQ2+ communities
  • Increase diversity in the composition of teams
  • Integrate diversity and equity in mentoring, training and access to development opportunities
  • Foster the equitable, inclusive and accessible research environment needed to enhance excellence in research and training

Questions for reflection to understand challenges and opportunities

The following questions are provided as examples only, to help you consider what types of best practices could be implemented to support EDI. You do not need to answer any of these questions in your application.

  • Are the opportunities within the team communicated to all potential candidates in an open and transparent way (i.e., made publicly available)?
  • When selecting trainees and other team members, how will you mitigate unconscious bias in the selection process (e.g., when shortlisting CVs, interviewing candidates, etc.)?
  • What types of EDI training should the team receive, based on the team members’ current level of EDI competencies and the team’s work environment?
  • If your institution has an EDI action plan or EDI commitments and initiatives in its strategic plan, how could the team build on this to foster an equitable, diverse and inclusive research environment?
  • What steps will you take to ensure that individuals with family, care, cultural or community responsibilities are supported and not disadvantaged within the team?
  • What steps will you take to ensure that team members feel comfortable speaking on diverse ways of knowing, methods and/or experiences (such as Indigenous ways of knowing and being)?
  • How do you plan to ensure that mentorship responsibilities, as well as training, mentorship and development opportunities associated with the grant, are distributed equitably and communicated clearly to team members?

Please consult Appendix A in the guide Best Practices in Equity, Diversity and Inclusion in Research for definitions of some of the terms used in this document. For additional information on unconscious bias in particular, you are encouraged to complete a Bias in Peer Review training module, which takes approximately 20 minutes.

Privacy and confidentiality

Team members’ self-identification or demographic information are not necessarily evidence of an equitable, inclusive and accessible environment. You are not required to provide such information and, in fact, you must protect the privacy and confidentiality of all team members, including students and trainees. How an individual self-identifies (in terms of belonging to one or more underrepresented groups) is considered personal and confidential information. Do not ask past, current or potential team members to share individual self-identification data with you, and do not make assumptions regarding self-identification. Do not provide personal information on team members, or information about the composition of your research team in a way that could identify any of your team members, in your application.

Additional resources

For additional guidance on how to consider EDI in the composition of the research team and in your training plan, consult the following resources:


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