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New round of Canadian Research Excellence – competing on gender-level playing field

The Canadian Excellence Research Chairs (CERC) programme, is now to step up its efforts for promoting more women and underrepresented groups to gain representation in the country’s prime initiative on world class academia and science.

CERC that runs since 2008, is one of Canada’s mayor initiatives where higher education institutions compete to be awarded up to EUR 6.9 million (10 million Canadian Dollars), to support top researchers over a seven-year period in building world-class programmes.

Responding to criticisms over inclusivity and unite scientific excellence and equity - seen as key to shaping diverse working environments with the capacity to generate innovative breakthroughs - the programme’s new competitive round sees an attempt for an adjusted competitive framework and selection criteria.

This month’s launch of the new competition for 11 Excellence Research Chairs, is to address imbalances, particularly related to gender, by requiringinstitutions to include detailed equity plans and recruitment strategies that promote the participation of women and other underrepresented groups’. New Chairs will also be awarded to priority areas as clean and sustainable technologies, business sector innovation as well as open areas of inquiry that will benefit the public.  

With currently a mere 1 of 27 CERC’s being held by a woman, it will be seen how necessitating institutions to thoroughly state and design their 'plans' on fostering inclusivity, can bridge an 8 year long representational imbalance, and deliver a breakthrough for diversity of world class research environments.

Government of Canada / CERC – Press release