Reflect on your own
What behaviours and practices have helped you to feel comfortable enough to have open and transparent communication among your research peers in the past?
How can you ensure that everyone has equitable access to the same resources, training and mentorship opportunities in your research environment?
How might you further develop your understanding of the experiences of marginalized and underrepresented people, especially beyond your own experience?
Adopting research practices that are informed by principles of equity, diversity and inclusion can enrich our research outputs and the research environment itself.
Furthermore, embedding considerations for equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) throughout the research lifecycle can help us to mitigate against bias and enhance the integrity of our research. Together, upholding scholarly standards and incorporating EDI best practices within research settings and activities will ensure the best possible environment that supports scholarship and research excellence.
All members of the research community have a role and responsibility in fostering a research environment and culture that embodies the principles of equity, diversity and inclusion.
Seek and incorporate diverse perspectives
It’s important for us to learn from and interact with diverse research networks and to be purposeful in doing so. For example, you can do this by reading the work of diverse groups, including those individuals from underrepresented groups, as you draw from multiple perspectives when formulating your research question. Reflect on your design of the research project to reduce the potential for an influence of bias in both your methods and results, which enhances the integrity of the work.
Continually develop your understanding of EDI
When developing grant applications, we’re increasingly required to demonstrate how we are addressing the systemic barriers and inequities experienced by people who are historically underserved, marginalized or excluded. To be effective at both articulating and implementing practices that support our commitment to addressing these barriers, we should first educate ourselves and expand our understanding of EDI. Seek training and workshops that not only develop your understanding of EDI so that you can address the requirements of grant applications, but that also help you to develop practices and processes that embody EDI principles throughout the research itself and your research culture.
Develop practices that support and include all team members
We should all strive to create a safe, respectful and supportive work environment that supports team members to share their perspectives and engage in ongoing learning. Invest the time to establish shared expectations for working together, clarify how contributions will be appropriately acknowledged and credited, and establish a process for how to raise concerns and resolve conflicts. The mentoring relationships that can result from an inclusive and collaborative team also promote the responsible conduct of research.
Our unique life experiences can create unconscious biases that influence our behaviour without our knowledge, control or intention. These biases can affect our research design, our choices on who or what to cite and our decisions in the peer-review process. If left unchecked, our biases can affect our research practices, and threaten the quality and the integrity of our work. Seek training and engage in reflection to better understand your own biases and to develop your understanding of EDI in the research environment.
Different comfort levels and understandings of EDI
To fully embrace and benefit from diversity within a research team, we may have to engage in uncomfortable conversations. This requires us to develop our skills in initiating and facilitating respectful discussions. When faced with challenging topics, try to maintain an open mind and curious disposition and ask for clarification if you need it. Encourage others to learn and ask questions by modeling inclusive behaviours and using inclusive language regularly, but also be open to expanding your learning when told that an honest attempt at inclusivity was not successful. UBC’s Equity and Inclusion Office, Human Resources, and SPARC offer resources and training that can help you develop your understanding of equity, diversity and inclusion throughout your research and that can support you to have open conversations about EDI in your research environment.
Did you know?
UBC is participating in a pilot project of the federal Dimensions program. As part of the pilot, the university will develop an action plan to help address the systemic barriers faced by members of marginalized and underrepresented groups within the university’s research ecosystem.
- CIHR Integrating Sex & Gender in Health Research Training Modules
- Tri-Agency Equity, Diversity and Inclusion resources
- UBC Equity, Diversity and Inclusion in the Research Ecosystem: Dimensions Pilot
- UBC Equity & Inclusion Office
- UBC Indigenous Research Support Initiative
- UBC Support Programs to Advance Research Capacity (SPARC)
- UBC VPRI EDI in Research Resources for UBC Researchers
The developed content is adapted from the following:
- Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (n.d.) Guide for Applicants: Considering Equity, Diversity and Inclusion in your Application
- Tri-Agency Canada Research CHairs Program Unconscious Bias in Peer Review Learning Module
- Tri-Agency Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans, Chapter 9: Research Involving the First Nations, Inuit and Métis Peoples of Canada
- Tri-Agency New Frontiers in Research Fund Best Practices Guide in EDI
- UBC Equity & Inclusion Office and VP Research & Innovation (2020). Making Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Matter in Research,