Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Universities Must Create Diversity Plan or Lose Research Money: Council

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Universities Must Create Diversity Plan or Lose Research Money: Council

Article excerpt

More equity or less cash for universities


OTTAWA - Universities have less than two years to find ways to recruit more women and minorities for Canada Research Chairs, or they won't get any more positions funded by the federal government.

The Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, which reviews and approves applications from universities for Canada Research Chair positions, issued that edict this week.

Council president Ted Hewitt said the policy comes after a review process showed a lack of progress from existing efforts to get more women, minorities, people with disabilities and indigenous people appointed to research chairs.

"We said 'OK, that's it' we have to think about what we can do here to speed up progress," said Hewitt. "That was a very serious catalyst for us."

Last week Science Minister Kirsty Duncan told The Canadian Press she was dismayed about data she had just received showing universities had not improved the rate at which they recruited women for the lucrative research jobs and was prepared to force their hand.

"The action plan was in the works for some time but it was expedited after I received the news of the latest Canada Research Chair competition results," she said.

The plan means universities with at least five of the research positions will be required to submit an equity plan by Dec. 15 showing how they intend to meet the equity targets laid out by the granting council. They have until December 2019 to recruit and appoint enough researchers to meet their targets.

If their appointment applications do not match their equity targets by then, the council will withhold funding for new positions until they do.

Hewitt said universities submit twice as many male applicants as female applicants, so the council wants to find a way to force them to seek out more diverse applicants.

"At this pace, they're never going to meet their targets," he said. …

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