Equity, diversity and inclusion are essential to achieving scientific excellence and the full potential of the research ecosystem.
They enrich the research community and the quality, relevance and impacts of the research it produces. As granting agencies, the Fonds de recherche du Québec (FRQ) have the duty and the power to exercise leadership with respect to equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) in research. In their 2018-2022 strategic plans, the Fonds therefore committed to strengthening equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) in research. Their EDI strategy is part of this committment.
Québec’s research ecosystem as a leader in EDI
The FRQ aspire to achieve a research ecosystem whose strength lies in:
- Greater equity and inclusive practices that allow all individuals to be recognized for their skills and ability to contribute to research excellence.
- A diversity of people, perspectives, methodologies and research questions that reflect the concerns and needs of society as a whole.
- Diverse and inclusive models of excellence that make Québec research stand out for its quality, relevance, creativity and impact.
A concerted approach within the research ecosystem is paramount.
It is important to ensure coherence between the actions of the FRQ, the federal granting agencies and the higher education institutions with respect to EDI. In addition, these actions must take into account the work of researchers and students who have long advocated for EDI within the research community. Collaboration and dialogue will be essential to achieve the systemic changes that a real culture shift entails.
Diversity is broad and intersectional.
The FRQ have a broad vision of diversity, which includes, but is not limited to, gender, disability, Indigenous identity, ethnic origin, sexual orientation, religion, age, language, parenthood, immigration, geographic location, and socioeconomic status.
Additionally, EDI actions must be part of an intersectional approach, i.e., one that takes into account interactions between the multiple forms of discrimination (linked to racism, to sexism, or to homophobia, for instance) or privilege that an individual may experience.
EDI objectives go far beyond diversity statistics.
In order to avoid the tokenism of underrepresented groups, efforts must be directed not only at diversity, but also at equitable and inclusive practices that allow every individual to participate in research, develop his or her full potential, and feel respected and valued.
The principles of EDI must be integrated in all aspects of research.
Every step of the research process must be equitable and inclusive and take diversity into account. For the FRQ, this applies to program development and management, and to the evaluation of funding applications. For the community, this applies to the creation of research teams; the training and mentoring of the next generation of researchers; the formulation of research questions and choice of methodological approach, where relevant; the planning and execution of projects, including fieldwork; and the interpretation and dissemination of results to a relevant target audience.
Objective 1. Make EDI core values within the organizational culture of the FRQ
- Provide FRQ staff with an equitable, diverse and inclusive workplace
- Integrate EDI in all spheres of activity of the FRQ
- By 2026, have representation of groups targeted in the Act respecting equal access to employment among FRQ staff be proportional to their demographic weight in Québec
- Offer EDI training to 100% of new staff members during their first year with the FRQ
Objective 2. Ensure equitable access to FRQ funding
- Collect data to better understand the barriers faced by different groups in accessing FRQ funding
- Correct inequities and contribute to reducing barriers identified in the access to FRQ funding
- Publish an annual portrait of diversity among applicants, award recipients and evaluation committee members
- Support at least three initiatives per year aimed at increasing the representation of marginalized or underrepresented groups in science and research
Objective 3. Support and accelerate the research community’s move toward inclusive excellence
- Mobilize the research community to include EDI in all facets of research
- Work with university and college communities to promote an inclusive and diverse vision of research excellence
- Support the research community in the cultural shift toward greater consideration of EDI
- Have 100% of FRQ-funded research groups reporting concrete actions to promote EDI by 2026
- Produce a roadmap on inclusive excellence by 2023
- Hold or support at least one awareness or training activity per year
Objective 4. Accelerate the advancement and sharing of knowledge on EDI
- Better recognize and support EDI expertise
- Use the FRQ’s EDI process to build knowledge on EDI practices
- Launch at least one competition to support EDI research by July 2023
- Publish an annual strategy report