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The Provost’s Program for Black and Indigenous Postdoctoral Scholars is designed, in part, to address the historic and current underrepresentation of Black and Indigenous scholars in the postsecondary landscape and reduce barriers for emerging Black and Indigenous researchers. The program will offer opportunities to develop mentorship skills and provide networking opportunities while supporting and contributing to a richer, more diverse pipeline of scholars within the broader academic community. The program will also provide economic support to (i) ensure that Black and Indigenous individuals have access to resources that facilitate their involvement in research; and (ii) create a more robust program where scholars and society will benefit from equitable participation, knowledge, and perspective of Black and Indigenous individuals.

Based on an analysis conducted in 2022, the University of Waterloo recognizes that there is an underrepresentation of Black and Indigenous scholars at all career levels (undergraduate, graduate, postdoctoral, and faculty members) and is establishing this funding opportunity, following the provisions for a special program under the Ontario Human Rights Commission

Specifically, addressing the underrepresentation for Black and Indigenous postdocs can also be anticipated to provide benefits like:

  1. Diversity and a favorable institutional climate impact retention, which is a concern for many public universities. Discrimination, lack of support, lack of collegiality, and other climate-related factors were found to have a negative impact on retention. 
  2. Empirical research has shown that a diverse faculty body improves all students' teaching and learning environments (Piercy et al., 2005). 
  3. A growing body of evidence suggests that diverse teams produce higher quality research outcomes and unique solutions to problems (Milem, 2001; National Institutes of Health [NIH], 2012). 
  4. Diversity in higher education is associated with enhanced economic growth as universities graduate a workforce that is prepared to excel in a globalized economy (Milem, 2003; Pugh, Dietz, Brief, & Wiley, 2008). 

This program will support four emerging scholars annually to advance research for global impact, as outlined in theme 2 of the 2020 – 2025 strategic plan Connecting Imagination with Impact. The scholars will be empowered to advance research that is of societal importance, and better understand human experiences and the human dimensions of global challenges.

Financial Details

Annual salary of $60,000, a research fund of $5,000.

The term of the appointment is two years.


With the purpose of understanding the contribution and impact of this postdoctoral funding, recipients will be asked to complete a report annually. This is a non-evaluative report that allows scholars to share their activities and progress over the duration of their fellowship. The reporting will also provide an opportunity for the scholars to report on strengths and opportunities in terms of the support they have received as part of the program. The information will be used to provide outcome metrics to the Provost, identify progress in meeting strategic plan initiatives, and marketing/advancement promotion for future postdoctoral funding.