Race, Gender and Diversity Initiative

2021 Competition

Value Up to $450,000
Duration 3 years
Application deadlineFootnote * November 15, 2021 Competition closed
Results announced March 2022
Apply Application and Instructions

On this page

The goal of the Race, Gender and Diversity Initiative is to support community-based and community-led research partnerships with postsecondary institutions that are grounded in the lived experience of underrepresented or disadvantaged groups and that analyze the causes and persistence of systemic racism and discrimination. Leadership by people from underrepresented or disadvantaged groups in research projects about race, gender and diversity is important to help ensure the research is grounded in the complexities of the lived experiences and histories of diverse groups and individuals, and to inform more rigorous and relevant policy and program design. The ultimate purpose of this initiative is to support partnership research and related activities to meet the needs of organizations working toward removing barriers and disparities for women; First Nations, Inuit and Métis Peoples; Black, Asian and other racialized peoples; people living with disabilities (both visible and invisible); LGBTQ2+ people; religious minorities; and others marginalized on the basis of their ethnicity and other identity factors.

This initiative encourages an intersectional approach. Intersectionality—a term first coined by African-American scholar Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw—is an approach to research that helps us understand how identities (e.g., race gender, class and sexuality) and power structures intersect to create various modes of discrimination and privilege, advantage and disadvantage. Research under this initiative can include learning from grant-supported or prior pilot projects to achieve greater justice and equity.

A note on Indigenous research
In keeping with the principles and strategic directions established in SSHRC’s Indigenous Research Statement of Principles and in the strategic plan of the federal granting agencies Setting new directions to support Indigenous research and research training in Canada 2019 - 2022, this initiative explicitly encourages research projects led by Métis, Inuit and First Nations researchers to respond to community priorities.

The initiative will seek to support a diverse portfolio of projects to ensure that complementary subthemes are addressed. The following represent examples of possible research topics, but applicants may choose other areas of focus relevant to the call.

Hate, racism and xenophobia: What are the current means by which hateful and racist discourses, including by organized hate groups online, are reproduced and gaining momentum in Canada, and how can they best be countered? What are the barriers preventing citizens from reporting hate crimes? Which mechanisms perpetuate White privilege and how can such privilege best be challenged? What are the most successful means by which groups that are socio-economically disadvantaged break poverty traps and cycles? How can reforms to policing and the corrections system best support inclusion and respectful and meaningful new relationships with First Nations, Inuit and Métis Peoples, Black Canadians, transgender people and people living with disabilities? What does an effective antiracist and anticolonial curriculum look like at the primary, secondary or postsecondary levels? How can the arts help support truth-telling, justice, inclusion and reconciliation?

Gender discrimination: Which approaches are most effective at removing economic, health and social barriers for those facing gender discrimination, including transgender, Two-Spirit and nonbinary people, as well as cisgender women and girls? What has been learned from decades of work against gender-based violence, and what remains to be done? How can cisgender and straight masculinity be reinvented for a gender-equitable world? How can the Canadian care economy be made more equitable when it continues to be overwhelmingly female and racialized (except in the higher echelons), as highlighted by the COVID-19 pandemic? How has resistance to colonial suppression of nonbinary or matrilineal Indigenous gender systems manifested and persisted, including in oral traditions, and how can it inform action to combat discrimination against transgender, Two-Spirit and non-binary people?

Disability discrimination and ableism: What shifts to policy and practice might reduce high rates of sexual violence experienced by those living with disabilities? How can we ensure that ableism as well as anti-Black and anti-Indigenous racism in Canada’s health-care system do not lead to coercion and maldistribution of assisted dying? What can neurodiversity, disability justice and Mad movements teach us about new ways to meaningfully support those whose mental health has been impacted by the pandemic? What resources—political, cultural, financial and otherwise—can be deployed to ensure that built environments allow people living with disabilities to thrive, in all their diversity? How can explorations of disability arts help illuminate how ableism limits cultural production and imagination?

History, methodology and research on partnered research: What factors allow community-based research to be genuinely led by First Nations, Métis and Inuit groups and/or underrepresented or disadvantaged groups? Historically, how have power dynamics been acknowledged and disrupted in research partnerships between academia and communities? How can data management practices that support community ownership and control of research results best be implemented? How can knowledge mobilization practices be reimagined to create immediate, concrete positive outcomes for First Nations, Métis and Inuit communities and/or underrepresented or disadvantaged groups?

As stated in Federal Budget 2021, “systemic racism and discrimination are a painful reality for too many people, especially for marginalized groups, including Indigenous, Black, and racialized people, those living with disabilities, and members of the LGBTQ2 communities.” Budget 2021 provided $12 million over three years, starting in 2021-22, to SSHRC to fund research into systemic barriers facing diverse groups. This research will help inform actions to address social disparities related to race, gender and other forms of diversity.


The main objective of the Race, Gender and Diversity Initiative is to award approximately 20 grants to support community-led and community-based formal partnerships between one or more partner organizations from the not-for-profit, public and/or private sectors and at least one postsecondary institution, to support connection, research and training activities. These three-year partnership grants offered under the Race, Gender and Diversity Initiative will serve as hubs for challenge-oriented, community-led and community-based intersectional research and knowledge mobilization activities, and can be used to incubate new research partnerships.

The funded partnerships will use collaboration and mutual learning to foster the co-creation of new knowledge, capacity-building and knowledge mobilization on critical issues for non-academic partner organizations pertaining to systemic racism and discrimination of underrepresented or disadvantaged groups, including but not limited to women; First Nations, Inuit and Métis Peoples; Black, Asian and other racialized peoples; people living with disabilities (both visible and invisible); LGBTQ2+ people; religious minorities, and others marginalized on the basis of their ethnicity and other identity factors; as well as individuals who identify as or belong to more than one of these groups.

Specific objectives include support for:

  • partnerships addressing antiracist, equity, diversity and inclusion considerations in research practice (e.g., by supporting diversity in the composition of the partnerships and teams and in the recruitment of trainees; by fostering equitable and inclusive research work environments; and by highlighting diversity and equity in mentoring, training and access to development opportunities) and in research design (e.g., through approaches such as intersectionality, antiracist frameworks and gender-based analysis plus [GBA+]);Footnote *
  • partnered research activities responding to the needs of partner organizations from the not-for-profit, public and/or private sector, and which will inform their decision-making;
  • intersectoral collaborations and connection activities, such as public outreach activities, workshops and conferences;
  • innovative approaches that enrich partnered research training experiences for students and postdoctoral researchers; and
  • leveraging contributions from all partner organizations (cash and/or in-kind contributions).

As part of SSHRC’s and the federal research funding agencies’ commitments outlined in Setting new directions to support Indigenous research and research training in Canada 2019-2022—and, more specifically, to support the key principles of self-determination, decolonization of research, accountability and equitable access—at least three grants will be awarded to Indigenous not-for-profit organizations to conduct research and knowledge mobilization activities with partner organizations, provided such applications are recommended by the adjudication committee in the merit review process. There is no requirement for Indigenous not-for-profit organizations with a research mandate to partner with the postsecondary sector.

Grants offered under the Race, Gender and Diversity Initiative are valued at up to $80,000 annually for the first two years and up to $290,000 in the third year, for an overall total maximum of $450,000. A two-year automatic grant extension without additional funding is also available under this strategic initiative.

An in-person or virtual knowledge mobilization forum will take place three years after the grant has been awarded to promote research findings with cross-sectoral stakeholders and knowledge users. The format of the forum has yet to be determined. Grant applicants must include travel costs for a one-day forum in Ottawa as part of the budget submitted with their applications. If the forum takes place virtually, the funds set aside for travel can be reallocated towards additional knowledge mobilization activities. Successful applicants will receive further details on the forum after the grants are awarded.

Subject matter

Proposals may involve any disciplines, thematic areas, approaches or subject areas eligible for SSHRC funding. See subject matter eligibility for more information.

Projects whose primary objective is curriculum development are not eligible for funding under this funding opportunity.


Applications may be submitted by a team of researchers (consisting of one applicant / project director and participants such as co-directors, co-applicants and collaborators). The applicant / project director prepares the application with the team on behalf of the partner organizations of the formal partnership.

Applicants must be affiliated with an eligible Canadian institution (universities, colleges, not-for-profit organizations) at the time of application. Researchers who maintain an affiliation with a Canadian postsecondary institution, but whose primary affiliation is with a non-Canadian postsecondary institution, are not eligible for applicant status.

Applicants who have received a SSHRC grant of any type but have failed to submit an achievement report by the deadline specified in their Notice of Award are not eligible to apply for another SSHRC grant until they have submitted the report.

Federal scientists who are affiliated with a Canadian postsecondary institution must demonstrate that their proposed research or research-related activity is not related to either the mandate of their employer or the normal duties for which they receive payment from that employer.

If the proposal falls within the mandate of the federal government and the research or research-related activity is performed in government facilities, funding can be allocated for student salaries or stipends and travel costs only.


Grant funds may only be administered by an eligible Canadian institution. Institutions proposing to administer a grant awarded under this funding opportunity must hold or obtain institutional eligibility. See SSHRC’s list of eligible institutions.

If your institution does not currently have institutional eligibility to manage SSHRC funding, please have a representative contact Institutional Eligibility as soon as possible to discuss the required steps. The deadline for the institutional eligibility application is the same as the deadline for the grant application (i.e., November 15, 2021). 

To start the grant application in the Convergence portal, you must have started the institutional eligibility process so that the organization can be added to the list and the administering organization can be selected in the Affiliations step when creating an application. An institutional representative will need to be identified as the research administrator and will be responsible for forwarding the grant application to SSHRC by the deadline. The creation of a research administrator role for your organization in the Convergence portal can take up to approximately five business days; however, during this time you can continue to work on key sections of your grant application (e.g., attachments in the Supporting Documents section). See the application instructions for more details.

Co-directors and co-applicants

An individual is eligible to be a co-director or co-applicant if they are formally affiliated with any of the following:

  • Canadian: Eligible postsecondary institution; not-for-profit organization; philanthropic foundation; think tank; or municipal, territorial or provincial government.
  • International: Postsecondary institution.

Postdoctoral researchers who are affiliated with a postsecondary institution are eligible to be co-directors or co-applicants.


Any individual who makes a significant contribution to the project is eligible to be a collaborator. Collaborators do not need to be affiliated with an eligible Canadian postsecondary institution.

Individuals from the private sector or federal government can participate only as collaborators.

Partner organizations

Partner organizations can be Canadian or international institutions or organizations (public, private, not-for-profit) of any type.

Multiple applications and holding multiple awards

See SSHRC’s regulations on multiple applications and holding multiple awards for more information.


Grant holders will be expected to report on the use of grant funds, on funded activities undertaken during the grant period, and on outcomes. Successful applicants will be informed of reporting requirements upon receiving their Notice of Award.

Applicants must complete the application form in accordance with accompanying instructions. Applications must be submitted electronically by an authorized research grants officer, or equivalent, from the host institution, or by a representative of the not-for-profit organization that has financial signing authority and is not participating in the project.

Applicants needing help while preparing their application should communicate with SSHRC well in advance of the application deadline.

Evaluation and adjudication

Applications are adjudicated, and available funds awarded, through a merit review process. SSHRC bases funding decisions on the recommendations of the adjudication committee and on the funds available. Committee discussions are guided by the principle of minimum essential funding.

Applications are adjudicated by a multidisciplinary committee with relevant expertise from the academic community and significant involvement from the public, private and/or not-for-profit sectors. Participants in the review process, if not in a conflict of interest with the applicant or any team members, will be asked to evaluate proposals based on the evaluation criteria below and to ensure that a wide variety of proposal topics are recommended within the scope of the initiative’s objectives.

Indigenous research

SSHRC’s Guidelines for the Merit Review of Indigenous Research are relevant for researchers (applicants and project directors) and students preparing SSHRC applications related to Indigenous research. SSHRC provides these guidelines to merit reviewers to help build understanding of Indigenous research and research-related activities, and to assist committee members in interpreting SSHRC’s specific evaluation criteria in the context of Indigenous research. SSHRC relies on a community of merit reviewers with experience and expertise in Indigenous research to judge the extent to which the guidelines can be applied to a particular research proposal. The guidelines may also be of use to postsecondary institutions and partner organizations that support Indigenous research.

Equity, diversity and inclusion

Applicants are required to consider equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) in both research practice (EDI-RP) and research design (EDI-RD):

  • EDI-RP involves promoting diversity in team composition and trainee recruitment; fostering an equitable, inclusive and accessible research work environment for team members and trainees; and highlighting diversity and equity in mentoring, training and access to development opportunities.
  • EDI-RD involves designing the research so that it takes EDI into account, through approaches such as intersectionality, antiracist frameworks, gender-based analysis plus (GBA+) and disaggregated data collection, and analysis that includes consideration of diversity and identity factors such as, but not limited to, age, culture, disability, education, ethnicity, gender expression and gender identity, immigration and newcomer status, Indigenous identity, language, neurodiversity, parental status/responsibility, place of origin, religion, race, sexual orientation, and socio-economic status.

EDI-RP and EDI-RD will be evaluated as part of the Challenge and Feasibility evaluation criteria, as outlined below. Consideration of EDI-RP and EDI-RD should be embedded throughout the relevant sections of the application, as applicable.

For more information, see the Guide to Addressing Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Considerations in Partnership Grants Applications.

Evaluation criteria and scoring

The following criteria and scoring scheme are used to evaluate the applications:

  1. Challenge—The aim and importance of the endeavour (40%):
    • originality, significance and expected contribution to the overall goal and objectives of the Race, Gender and Diversity Initiative;
    • relevancy of the proposal to address issues of systemic racism and discrimination of underrepresented or disadvantaged groups, including but not limited to women; First Nations, Inuit and Métis Peoples; Black, Asian and other racialized people; people living with disabilities (both visible and invisible); LGBTQ2+ people; religious minorities, and others marginalized on the basis of their ethnicity and other identity factors;
    • appropriateness of the methods/approach (including the co-creation of knowledge), literature review and theoretical approach or framework;
    • appropriateness of considerations related to equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) in the research design (e.g., questions, methods, theoretical framework, literature review, analysis and interpretation, and knowledge mobilization activities);
    • quality of training and mentoring to be provided to students, emerging scholars and other highly qualified personnel, as well as opportunities for them to contribute, and quality of equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) considerations in the recruitment, training and mentoring plan;
    • potential for the project results to have influence and impact for partner organizations from the not-for-profit, private and/or public sector; and
    • identification of progress indicators.
  2. Feasibility—The plan to achieve excellence (40%):
    • appropriateness of the proposed timeline and probability that the objectives will be met;
    • quality and genuineness of the formal partnership, associated management and governance arrangements, and leadership of partner organizations from the not-for-profit, private and/or public sector, including their involvement in the design and conduct of the research and/or related activities;
    • expertise of the team and appropriateness of partner organizations in relation to the proposed project;
    • quality of the equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) plan for promoting a diverse team, inclusive working environment and equitable opportunities within the partnership;
    • appropriateness of the requested budget, and justification of proposed costs;
    • indications of other planned resources, including leveraging of cash and in-kind support from the host institution and/or from partner organizations; and
    • quality and appropriateness of the knowledge mobilization plans, including effective dissemination, exchange and engagement with stakeholders within and/or beyond the research community, where applicable.
  3. Capability—The expertise to succeed (20%):
    • quality, quantity and significance of past experience and published and/or creative outputs of the project director and any co-directors or co-applicants, relative to their role in the partnership and the stage of their career;
    • evidence of other knowledge mobilization activities (e.g., films, performances, commissioned reports, knowledge syntheses, experience in collaboration / other interactions with stakeholders, contributions to public debate and the media) and of impacts on professional practice, social services and policies, etc.; and
    • quality and quantity of past contributions to the training and mentoring of students, postdoctoral researchers and other highly qualified personnel.

Scoring table

Adjudication committee members assign a score for each of the three criteria above, based on the following scoring table. The appropriate weighting is then applied to arrive at a final score. Applications must receive a score of 3.0 or higher for each of the three criteria to be recommended for funding.

Score Descriptor
5-6 Very good to excellent
4-4.9 Good to very good
3-3.9 Satisfactory to good
Below 3 Unsatisfactory

Communication of results

Research offices will be informed of their applicants’ competition results via SSHRC’s secure site. Applicants from not-for-profit organizations will receive their competition results by email. All applicants will be provided, in addition to SSHRC’s notice of decision, a summary of the adjudication committee’s evaluation of their proposal.

SSHRC reserves the right to determine the eligibility of applications, based on the information included. SSHRC also reserves the right to interpret the regulations and policies governing its funding opportunities.

All applicants and grant holders must comply with the Regulations Governing Grant Applications and with the regulations set out in the Tri-Agency Guide on Financial Administration.

Grant holders must also comply with the Tri-Agency Open Access Policy on Publications. See the Open Access overview for more information. The SSHRC Research Data Archiving Policy has been retired. In March 2021, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) and SSHRC launched the Tri-Agency Research Data Management Policy. As of April 1, 2021, this new policy replaces SSHRC’s Research Data Archiving policy, for all active grants.

Specific rules for the use of grant funds

  • Project co-ordinator/manager positions are an eligible expense, with three restrictions:
    • an individual cannot be a participant on the grant;
    • an individual cannot be paid for administrative services that the institution normally provides; and
    • an individual cannot be paid to conduct research activities.
  • Not-for-profit organizations can request a salary research allowance to cover up to 50% of the cost of temporarily replacing their employee involved in the project as project director, co-director or co-investigator.
  • Consultation fees are eligible for expert and/or professional and technical services that contribute directly to the proposed research as long as the service is not being provided by a team member or other persons whose status would make them eligible to apply for a SSHRC grant.
  • Refer to the statement on equity, diversity and inclusion and the use of grant funds in the Tri-Agency Guide on Financial Administration. Expenses to facilitate equitable, inclusive and accessible participation in the research are eligible and encouraged.
  • As outlined in the Tri-Agency Guide on Financial Administration, grant funds can be used to hire research support personnel (students, trainees, research assistants, etc.) to work on the research activities, provided that the directive on Employment and compensation expenditures is met and that the hiring is in accordance with the organization’s (administering institution’s) policies and processes. Individuals employed to work on funded research/activities are not considered employees of SSHRC and can be compensated via salary or stipend from the grant funds. If employment includes the provision of compensation benefits, the organization’s (administering institution’s) share of the costs of mandated compensation benefits is eligible for reimbursement from grant funds. Subject to the restrictions identified in the directive above, individuals employed and compensated by another organization for the time spent on the funded research/activities cannot be compensated from grant funds. In addition, SSHRC grant funds must not be used to pay compensation to grant recipients or individuals who conduct research independently (including but not limited to the principal investigator / project director, co-applicants and collaborators) as part of the terms and conditions of their employment.

Guidelines and related support material

All applicants for SSHRC funding should consult the following guidelines while preparing their applications:

Contact information

For more information, contact:

Toll free: 1-855-275-2861
Email: partnerships@sshrc-crsh.gc.ca

Date modified: