Equity, diversity and inclusion
Grants and awards
NSERC encourages all eligible individuals from the diverse pool of potential applicants in Canada’s research ecosystem to apply for funding. NSERC continues to update its funding opportunities to promote equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) and reduce barriers, and further details on this initiative can be found in each individual program description. Refer to the Students and fellows, Professors, and Colleges tabs on NSERC’s home page for more information.
Some initiatives with specific elements designed to promote EDI and address barriers and biases experienced by underrepresented groups are highlighted below.
- Chairs for Women in Science and Engineering (CWSE) program and Chairs for Inclusion in Science and Engineering (CISE)
The goal of the CWSE program is to increase the participation and retention of women in science and engineering and to provide role models for women active in, and considering, careers in these fields. The CISE program is a two-year pilot in the Atlantic region that builds on the successful CWSE program, continuing to promote the participation of women in science and engineering while expanding to address issues faced by a broader range of underrepresented groups.
- Discovery Horizons
Discovery Horizons grants support interdisciplinary research, including research involving Indigenous Peoples and communities. Priority may be given to letters of intent and/or applications from those who self-identify as members of underrepresented groups, amongst similarly ranked LOIs and applications. The Discovery Horizons program is also piloting a narrative CV as part of its application elements to facilitate the assessment of a wide range of contributions to research, training and mentoring.
- Some programs are designed to support specific groups of researchers: see Arthur B. McDonald fellowships (early-stage academic researchers), Discovery Launch Supplements (early-career researchers), Discovery Development Grants (researchers at small universities) and Northern Research Supplements (researchers collaborating with communities in Canada’s North).
For students and postdoctoral fellows
- NSERC Indigenous Student Ambassadors
This program aims to engage Indigenous students and fellows in promoting interest and participation in the natural sciences and engineering by visiting Canada’s Indigenous communities and schools and sharing their research and education experiences or participating in science promotion events and activities.
- NSERC and L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science Supplement
This program recognizes outstanding women scientists engaged in a promising postdoctoral research project who have demonstrated exemplary involvement in science promotion and leadership.
- Undergraduate Student Research Awards (USRA)
These awards are meant to nurture undergraduate students’ interest and fully develop their potential for a research career in the natural sciences and engineering. Institutions may recommend applications from self-identified Indigenous applicants to the USRA program beyond their quota allocation.
- Indigenous Scholars Awards and Supplements Pilot Initiative
The Indigenous Scholars Awards and Supplements Pilot Initiative provides financial support to meritorious Indigenous students who have applied to the Canada Graduate Scholars—Master’s program (CGS M).
- Several other supplements include aspects related to EDI and/or are designed to support applicants from underrepresented groups (see the Canadian Forest Sector Workforce Diversity undergraduate supplement, CMHC-NSERC Postdoctoral Fellowship, Fisheries and Oceans Canada Aquatic Science supplement, and Supplement for Research in the Field of Impact Assessment descriptions).
NSERC administers two tri-agency programs to support institutional efforts to improve EDI:
Dimensions consists of a charter and a pilot program. The program objective is to foster transformational change within the research community at Canadian postsecondary institutions by identifying and eliminating obstacles and inequities. This will support equitable access to funding opportunities, increase equitable and inclusive participation, and embed EDI-related considerations in research design and practices.
- Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Institutional Capacity-Building Grant
This pilot funding opportunity aims to foster EDI in the Canadian postsecondary research ecosystem through a focus on the identification and elimination of systemic barriers that impede the career advancement, recruitment and retention of underrepresented groups.
For science promoters
PromoScience supports initiatives that promote the natural sciences and engineering to Canada's young people, particularly to groups that are underrepresented in scientific and engineering careers.