Call for Expressions of Interest: Indigenous Leadership Circle in Research

Canada’s three federal research funding agencies (the agencies)—the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council, and SSHRC—and the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) are seeking expressions of interest for First Nations, Inuit and Métis Peoples to participate in the Indigenous Leadership Circle in Research (Leadership Circle). This group will advise the presidents of the four organizations in implementing the Canada Research Coordinating Committee’s (CRCC) strategic plan, Setting New Directions in Support of Indigenous Research and Research Training in Canada 2019-2022.

The agencies and the CFI are seeking a minimum of 10 individuals to be members of the Leadership Circle who, collectively, have a deep understanding of Indigenous research, including Indigenous Knowledges. Members will help advance the strategic plan’s four strategic directions:

  • building relationships with First Nations, Inuit and Métis Peoples;
  • supporting research priorities of Indigenous Peoples;
  • creating greater funding accessibility to granting agency programs; and
  • championing Indigenous leadership, self-determination and capacity building in research.

Members have to self-identify as First Nations, Inuit or Métis. The Leadership Circle will have broad perspectives and include members who are Elders, youth, Knowledge Keepers and academics at various career stages.

The creation of this group aligns with the CRCC’s commitment to increasing the capacity of First Nations, Inuit and Métis Peoples to lead their own research and collaborate with the broader research community.


The Leadership Circle will be primarily responsible for:

  • monitoring progress of the strategic plan’s implementation;
  • identifying issues and opportunities, and recommending solutions to support the four organizations in implementing the strategic plan; and
  • providing advice and direction on other Indigenous matters that may have an impact on other areas of the four organizations’ business (as required).

Time commitment

Leadership Circle members will serve a mandate until the end of 2022. At the end of 2022, the members and four organizations will review the Leadership Circle’s role and mandate to determine its direction for the future. The members of the Leadership Circle will meet by tele- or video-conference twice a year or as needed. In addition, an in-person meeting will be held each year, if possible.


Service as a Leadership Circle member is voluntary. Expenses incurred to attend in-person meetings will be reimbursed at Government of Canada rates. Honoraria may be available for members who do not have paid employment and/or who do not receive paid compensation for their work outside of any voluntary work they provide to the agencies or the CFI.

Review process

Members will be selected using recommendations of an external expert committee of leaders, which will be composed of First Nations, Inuit and Métis scholars and community members, and will be approved by all the agencies and CFI’s presidents. Membership will be selected in a way that considers:

  • sufficient diversity to reflect First Nations, Inuit and Métis Peoples in Canada (including the perspectives of urban, rural, northern, and on/off reserve Indigenous Peoples);
  • different levels of experience and expertise (community and academic);
  • breadth across the agencies’ mandate areas;
  • gender equity; and
  • geography.

If gaps exist in the above areas in the expressions of interest received, additional members will be proactively sought out.

How to apply

Interested individuals are invited to submit the following documents to show their interest in being considered for membership.

  • A two- to three-page freeform document that:
    • confirms they are of Indigenous ancestry;
    • outlines the experiences and perspectives they have that would contribute to the mandate of the Leadership Circle; and
    • explains how being part of the Leadership Circle would benefit them and their community (see this definition of “community” for reference), collective and/or organization.
  • A signed letter of support from the individual’s community that describes the individual’s lived experience with research and involvement/role within the community.

All documents must be sent to with the subject line, “Indigenous Leadership Circle in Research.” 

The deadline for applications is January 15, 2021. Appointments to the Leadership Circle will be announced in winter 2021.

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