Equity, diversity and inclusion in research practice and research design

As part of its commitment to excellence in research and research training, SSHRC is promoting integration of EDI considerations in research practice and design.

Research practice includes the research team’s composition and recruitment, as well as training, mentoring and decision-making in the research context. EDI-focused measures boost participation and inclusion of underrepresented and disadvantaged groups, so research teams are more representative of the diverse pool of Canadian talent. They also increase the excellence of research projects, by valuing and fostering the inclusion of diverse experiences, approaches, knowledge and ways of knowing.

Research design includes elements of the research itself, such as why, how and with whom research is done; approaches to analysis; and how resulting knowledge is shared. It involves considering and incorporating relevant identity factors (such as age, disability, education, ethnicity, gender expression and gender identity, immigrant and newcomer status, Indigenous identity, language, neurodiversity, parental status/responsibility, place of origin, race, religion, sexual orientation and socio-economic status, among possible others) that can affect research findings and impacts. EDI in research design helps increase the relevance of research to and positive impacts on the groups it concerns.

Some tri-agency programs—such as the New Frontiers in Research Fund, Canada Excellence Research Chairs, and Canada First Research Excellence Fund, all administered by SSHRC; and the Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships and Banting Postdoctoral Fellowships—already incorporate EDI requirements in one or both of these ways. For instance, since its launch in 2018, the New Frontiers in Research Fund has formally embedded EDI requirements in its program design. These requirements promote diverse research teams and inclusive research environments, and help ensure that all research projects are informed by gender-based analysis plus and best practices in Indigenous research, as applicable.

SSHRC is piloting EDI requirements in SSHRC-specific funding opportunities, namely its doctoral programs, postdoctoral fellowships and Partnership Grants. The outcomes will shape integration of EDI considerations or requirements into other SSHRC funding opportunities in the near future.

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