Statement from Dr. Jane Aubin: Promoting Equity and Excellence in Health Research

(2017-03-24)

Equity is an integral part of a sustainable health research ecosystem. Beyond the obvious reality that all researchers should have equitable access to funding for their research, equity also allows for diversity in the system. There have been countless studies that show that diversity—not just of scientific expertise, but of the people conducting and participating in the research—leads to more creativity, more innovation, and more meaningful outcomes. 

As such, CIHR, in alignment with the Government of Canada's broader Gender-Based Analysis Plus (GBA+) Initiative, is proactively evaluating equity throughout its organizational activities. CIHR's GBA+ activities focus on three main areas:

  • Sex and Gender-Based Analysis (SGBA) in Research: This focuses on the research that CIHR funds, and aims to ensure that sex and gender considerations are taken into account in the design, conduct, and reporting of all funded research projects;
  • Equity in CIHR's Funding System: This focuses on the individuals who apply for CIHR funding and those who are awarded CIHR funding, and aims to ensure equitable access to CIHR funds across all eligible individuals; and
  • Equity in how CIHR conducts its business internally (e.g., hiring practices).

Recently, CIHR developed an Equity Strategy with a vision of creating an equitable funding system by:

  • Identifying and eliminating systemic biases towards any individual or group that would hinder access to CIHR funds; and
  • Influencing the larger health research enterprise to adopt more equitable practices.

The scope of CIHR's Equity Strategy is to ensure equitable access to CIHR funds based on the following variables:

  • Gender
  • Career Stage
  • Official Languages
  • Indigenous Status
  • Size and Location of the Institution

Since this work represents a large undertaking, our current efforts are focused on gender equity. CIHR has committed to sharing data related to gender equity with the larger health research community. The first wave of this data, along with CIHR's Gender Equity Framework, is now available on our website.

CIHR is committed to fulfilling its mandate to support excellence in health research. Through its Equity Strategy, and, in particular, its Gender Equity Framework, we also strive to achieve gender equity in our programs and peer review processes. 

Dr. Jane E. Aubin
Chief Scientific Officer and
Vice-President, Research, Knowledge Translation and Ethics
Canadian Institutes of Health Research

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