Framework on Equity, Diversity and Inclusion


The evidence is clear. Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) strengthen the scientific and engineering communities and the quality, social relevance and impact of research. Sound equity, diversity and inclusion practices increase access to the largest pool of qualified potential participants, enhance the integrity of a program’s application and selection processes, strengthen the research outputs, and increase the overall excellence of research.

NSERC’s programs and peer review system are intended to ensure fair treatment of all applicants. NSERC is committed to implementing policies, processes and initiatives to identify and mitigate barriers and biases that may exist within its own programs and systems, and to work collaboratively with other stakeholders, when appropriate, to do the same.


Recognizing that challenges remain in achieving the full participation of equity-seeking groups (including women, visible minorities, Indigenous peoples, people with diverse gender identities and people with disabilities) in science and engineering careers, NSERC is committed to the implementation of its Framework on Equity, Diversity and Inclusion to increase equity in all of its programs and awards and enhance research excellence.

What this means for applicants

NSERC encourages applicants to explain their process of identifying, recruiting and selecting research personnel based on equity and diversity best practices as one means to enhance excellence in research, training and outreach. Details are provided in specific program descriptions and application instructions, where relevant.

Additional information
Guide for Applicants: Considering equity, diversity and inclusion in your application

What this means for selection committee members

At this time equity, diversity and inclusion factors are only included in the evaluation criteria for applications to some specific programs. Details are provided in the relevant program descriptions and application instructions. Selection committee members will be provided with resources and guidance on evaluating the integration of these considerations in applications in specific programs.

A Guide for Reviewers is forthcoming.

Online learning module: Bias in Peer Review

Framework Framework
Issues Actions Status

Agency-wide systemic changes are needed to integrate and monitor increased equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI).

Implement gender-based analysis plus (GBA+) NSERC-wide; monitor progress.

2017: GBA+ integrated into program, policy and guideline updates and development (ongoing).

Self-identification data needed to monitor gender equity and diversity of applicants, trainees and selection committee members in NSERC’s programs.

Collect, analyze and report gender and designated equity group data for all participants in NSERC programs.

2017-18: Establishing expanded data collection systems to request self-identification according to gender, visible minority, indigeneity and/or disability.

Adopt EDI best practices in selection / peer review, governance and advisory committee composition.

Increase diversity and gender equity on committees and panels.

2016: Selection committee guidelines revised; recommend 20% women starting in 2016; 30% women by 2020.

2018: Expand EDI guidelines beyond gender equity criteria and apply to all committees.

Selection committee members need to recognize and assess how EDI strengthens the scientific and engineering communities and NSE research.

Provide resources to mitigate unconscious bias and increase selection committees’ effectiveness in recognizing and assessing merits of (a) integrating sex, gender and diversity considerations in research design; (b) equity and diversity in research teams and among trainees; and (c) science promotion, outreach and mentorship; and leadership in increasing equity and diversity in NSE.

2016-17: Updates/revisions to PRMs; EDI integrated into orientation sessions.

2017: On-line training modules produced for and made available to selection committee members.

2018: Additional tools and resources provided: Guide for Committee Members on assessing EDI. Spring 2018: Staff enhance EDI competence.

Applicants are invited to increase research excellence by integrating sex, gender and diversity considerations into their research design, by having equitable and diverse research teams, and by emphasizing science promotion, outreach, mentorship and leadership.

Provide resources and guidelines to applicants on effectively recognizing and integrating sex, gender and diversity considerations in their research design, building equitable and diverse research teams, including trainees, effectiveness in science promotion, outreach and mentorship, and on leadership in increasing equity and diversity in NSE.

2016-18: Program descriptions and application instructions encourage diversity and equity in research teams and among trainees.

2017: Guide for applicants on equity, diversity and inclusion in NSE research provided (fall).

2018: Program descriptions and instructions to include more specific EDI requirements.

We need to go beyond current norms for assessing NSE research excellence by recognizing the broader range of relevant competencies and contributions to research.

Update and improve evaluation criteria to recognize equity, diversity and inclusion; and sex- and gender-based analysis plus (SGBA+) as components of research excellence.

2017: Wording added to multiple programs regarding the value of equity and diversity in research teams and among trainees.

2018-19: Grants and Scholarships evaluation criteria recognize integration of sex, gender & diversity considerations in research, as appropriate; diversity in research teams; and EDI in science promotion, outreach, mentorship and leadership as factors that contribute to research excellence.

Current research excellence evaluation criteria assume a linear, full-time, uninterrupted career path. This model does not reflect the experience of many scientists and engineers.

Ensure that work/life balance circumstances do not impact how accomplishments, contributions, competencies and expertise are assessed.

2015: Students’ PPL supplements increased to 6 months.

July 31, 2017: PPL supplements harmonized across the three agencies.

2018-19: Identify and implement best practices for assessing researcher excellence unbiased by work/life balance circumstances.

The successful implementation of the Framework requires input from stakeholders and experts who understand the significance of equity, diversity, inclusion and SGBA+ in NSE research.

Consult and engage relevant stakeholders and experts in the implementation of the Framework. 

2017: Implementation plans for the Framework are developed for each division of NSERC.

2017: Stakeholders and external experts are consulted on Framework actions with external impacts.


Anne Webb
Policy and Planning Analyst | Equity, Diversity and Inclusion
Email :
Tel : 613-996-2009

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