Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI)
The University of Waterloo’s Office of Research contracted the services of equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) consultants, Canadian Equality Consulting (CEC), to develop an EDI-focused strategy for the University’s commercialization of research and industry-sponsored contract research areas, particularly focusing on researchers (faculty, graduate students, postdoctoral scholars, research associates) who identify as a member of equity-deserving groups. Specifically, the engagement aims to identify and address barriers and challenges faced by women, people beyond the gender binary, 2SLGBTQ+, Indigenous Peoples, people from racialized communities, and persons with disabilities interested in participating in industry-supported contract research and commercialization activities.
On April 28, 2022, CEC hosted a webinar titled, Advancing Equity and Inclusion in Contract Research and Commercialization at the University of Waterloo, to explain why the University of Waterloo is conducting this work, what researchers can expect from the upcoming research/insights collection process, and how researchers can participate and have their voice heard. This page provides a brief primer on what was covered in the webinar and key details and FAQs regarding this initiative, which is supported by funding through the Government of Canada's Incremental Project Grants.
Over the next few months, CEC will be engaging in the following activities:
- Conducting a high-level environmental scan of the EDI implications in the broader commercialization landscape, which also includes start-ups and entrepreneurial pathways;
- Conducting a series of confidential consultations (one-on-one interviews) with faculty, graduate students, postdoctoral scholars, and research associates who identify as a member of equity-deserving groups, and other key stakeholders, who have participated in, are currently engaged in, or are interested in industry-sponsored contract research and commercialization; and,
- Developing a final report and EDI strategy and action plan.
Our aim is to gain insight into specific experiences and barriers faced by people who identify as a member of equity-deserving groups and who are participating in industry-supported contract research and commercialization activities. The primary output of this work is an EDI-specific research and commercialization strategic plan to address any barriers and inequities within the commercialization of research landscape at the University as experienced by researchers from equity-deserving groups, with specific recommendations on how to address these barriers to ensure a more inclusive and equitable experience for all researchers who are interested in engaging in commercialization activities.
- Consultations will consist of one-on-one interviews with senior CEC strategists, which will help to identify and understand barriers that could be impacting the participation of people from equity-deserving groups in contract research and commercialization activities.
- The interviews will be conducted via Zoom between May 9 and June 3, 2022 and will be 30 minutes in length. Sign up for an interview timeslot on Calendly.
- The interviews are an opportunity for you to share your ideas, thoughts and experiences in a confidential, supportive and safe space.
- CEC and the University of Waterloo recognize that confidentiality is very important in this process. No one from the University will be present at the interview nor will the interview be recorded. Any personal identifiable information will never be shared with the University. CEC will be conducting a thematic analysis of the feedback collected during interviews and reporting summaries/themes back to the University.
- If you have accessibility needs which may impact your ability to engage in the consultations process, please contact Ivana Lochhead (email@example.com) and/or Davy Sabourin (firstname.lastname@example.org) at Canadian Equality Consulting to ensure accommodation.
Calls to Action
- If you identify as a member of an equity-deserving group (women, people beyond the gender binary, 2SLGBTQ+, Indigenous Peoples, people from racialized communities, and people with disabilities) and you are interested in or are participating in industry-supported contract research and/or commercialization activities at the University of Waterloo, please sign up for an interview with CEC.
- Share this web page with your peers, especially people from equity-deserving groups, and encourage them to sign up for an interview with CEC.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why is the University of Waterloo’s Research Office doing this?
Both federal and provincial governments have increasing expectations to derive tangible economic and societal benefits from the public’s investments in research activities. Thus, it is important to ensure that the research and commercialization landscape at the University offers opportunities for all researchers to engage in research translation activities to drive outcomes important to ranking agencies, government funders, and regional economic partners. To support the broadest engagement of the research community, the University is focusing on identifying barriers and inequities that may hinder the participation of equity-deserving groups who have an interest in pursuing commercialization and research contract activities.
What does this mean for me as a researcher/graduate student/postdoc?
The University wants to hear from researchers who identify as members of equity-deserving groups to understand the unique challenges and barriers they face in commercialization and industry-supported research contract activities. Your input is vital to make the commercialization and industry research landscapes at the University more equitable and inclusive. If you do not identify as a member of the equity-deserving groups, are involved in commercialization or industry-supported research contract activities at the University, and would like to provide feedback, please reach out to WatCo at email@example.com.
Is this project really necessary?
Yes. Greater diversity of perspective and lived experience among innovators will improve our ability to discover solutions to the world’s biggest challenges. Diversity is key to unlocking innovation.
How can I contribute to the efforts?
If you identify as a member of an equity-deserving group (women, people beyond the gender binary, 2SLGBTQ+, Indigenous Peoples, people from racialized communities, and people with disabilities) and you are interested in or are participating in industry-supported contract research and/or commercialization, please sign up for an interview with CEC. Your feedback will be instrumental in designing an EDI strategy for commercialization at the University.
Who do I talk to at the University if I would like more information about this initiative?
If you have any questions, comments, or concerns, please email Harriet Bigas, Project Manager, at firstname.lastname@example.org.