Plan to increase women’s leadership in higher education yields results

Canada Research Chairs Program reaches historic recruitment milestones

September 10, 2018, Ottawa, Ontario—Tri-agency Institutional Programs Secretariat

Historic change is coming to Canada’s research community—it is becoming more equitable, diverse and inclusive to all people who want to make a difference in engineering and the natural sciences, health sciences, humanities, and social sciences.

Today, the Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science and Sport, reported that the Canada Research Chairs Program’s Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan is achieving results. In the latest round of applications, the program reached an historic high, with women accounting for over 43% of nominations submitted.

This demonstrates that Canadian universities are responding to the urgent call made by the Minister to address underrepresented groups among chairholders.

But there is still more work to be done. In Budget 2018, the Government of Canada invested an additional $210 million to support early career researchers and to increase diversity among nominated researchers.

Together, these efforts give talented people the chance to make a difference for Canada’s future, through science and research.


“When our labs and classrooms reflect the Canada we see today, all Canadians benefit. I am immensely proud of this historic achievement and commend our institutions for their hard work. This is a big step forward for Canada in attracting diverse talent, including more women and other underrepresented groups. We must keep this momentum going.”

—Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science and Sport

“Our overarching goal is to achieve excellence by ensuring the establishment of a research community that truly reflects Canadians and our changing society. The Canada Research Chairs Program is one of the most prestigious research funding programs in this country and it’s great to see that we are getting results in achieving a nomination and merit-based adjudication process that strongly promotes equity, diversity and inclusion.”

—Ted Hewitt, President, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada and Chair of the Canada Research Chairs Program Steering Committee

Quick facts

  • The Government of Canada is also achieving equity, diversity and inclusion in other tri-agency programs, including the Canada 150 Research Chairs Program, where women account for 60% of all chairholders.
  • The Canada Research Chairs Program invests approximately $265 million per year to help postsecondary institutions attract and retain some of the world’s most accomplished and promising minds. Research chairs deepen our knowledge, enhance our quality of life and grow our economy.
  • The Government of Canada invests in research excellence in the areas of health sciences, engineering, natural sciences, social sciences and humanities through its three granting agencies; the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.
  • The Tri-agency Institutional Programs Secretariat is responsible for administration of the Canada Research Chairs Program, the Research Support Fund, the Canada Excellence Research Chairs Program, the Canada First Research Excellence Fund, and the Canada 150 Research Chairs Program.

Additional links


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Zachary Caldwell
Parliamentary Affairs and Issues Advisor
Office of the Minister of Science and Sport

Julia Gualtieri
Media Relations Advisor
Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council