‘Improve diversity or lose funding’, Canadian universities warned

Country’s funding councils say institutions must offer research chairs positions to diverse pool of candidates

May 10, 2017
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Canadian universities will lose out on funding for a research chairs scheme if they fail to offer the awards to a more diverse range of candidates.

That is the warning from the country’s funding councils, which gave institutions a deadline of 15 December 2017 to create action plans on how to achieve more diversity among their candidates for the Canada Research Chairs programme.

The universities will then have another 18 to 24 months to put the plan into practice and ensure the demographics of those given the awards reflects the demographics of the academics eligible to receive them.

The federal granting councils said that if universities with five or more chairholder allocations do not meet these equity targets in time, the programme will withhold peer review and payments for those nominations until the requirements are fulfilled.

The scheme, which was created in 2000 and provides around C$265 million (£150 million) of funding each year, underrepresents women, indigenous people, those with disabilities and “members of visible minorities”, according to the government.

Only 30 per cent of the 1,600 current chairholders are women. The funding councils said this was due to the low number of women being nominated by universities, which receive an allotted number of chairs from the government based on the institution’s size.


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