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Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Institutional Capacity-Building Grant

The EDI Institutional Capacity-Building Grant is a pilot funding opportunity for post-secondary institutions. It is designed to support the federal government’s commitment to tackling challenges encountered by underrepresented and/or disadvantaged groups in Canadian research institutions.

For the 2021 pilot competition, this initiative will be open to small institutions and colleges only.

Value Up to $200,000 per year, for up to two years, non-renewable
Application deadline January 11, 2021, before 8:00 p.m. (ET)
Application procedures See below
Notice of decision March 2021
How to apply To view instructions and other resources, select Application guidelines.

To create an application, select EDI Institutional Capacity-Building grant application form.

To submit an application, select EDI Institutional Capacity-Building grant secure upload site.
For more information See below


The objective of the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Institutional Capacity-Building grant is to foster EDI in the Canadian post-secondary research enterprise through a focus on the identification and elimination of systemic barriers that impede the career advancement, recruitment and retention of underrepresented and/or disadvantaged groups.

Barriers that inhibit EDI may exist in areas such as policy, practice, culture and organizational climate. For example, practices that result in the inequitable allocation of service or teaching assignments may impede research productivity, delay advancement and create a culture of differential treatment and rewards. Policies and procedures that do not mitigate implicit bias in hiring, tenure and promotion decisions could mean that individuals from underrepresented and/or disadvantaged groups are evaluated less favourably, perpetuating their underrepresentation or disadvantage and contributing to a climate that is not inclusive.1


To foster EDI in the Canadian post-secondary research enterprise, the EDI Institutional Capacity-Building grant supports institutions as they adapt and implement organizational and systemic change informed by evidence and meaningful engagement with affected groups. These funds will allow institutions to undertake activities to advance their own EDI objectives.

Institutions can request up to $200,000 per year for up to two years, for projects to develop and implement policies, plans, resources and training. Institutions are required to contribute their own resources toward achieving the goals of the project. Such support can be in the form of, for example, matching funds, travel support, salary support and/or in-kind support.

Projects are expected to draw from and use existing EDI action plans or institutional EDI programs (e.g., This link will take you to another Web site Canada Research Chairs EDI Action Plans), if applicable.

For the purposes of this funding opportunity, underrepresented and/or disadvantaged groups should include women, Indigenous Peoples, members of racialized minorities, people with disabilities and LGBTQ2+ individuals.



To be eligible to receive this grant, an institution must be, at the time of application:

All eligible institutions will receive an invitation to apply for this funding opportunity. Institutions that received an award in the first round of the pilot are excluded from this round.

On a case-by-case basis, other institutions may be invited to apply for this funding opportunity. If your organization is eligible, according to the above criteria, but has not received an invitation, contact for information.


To be eligible to apply, you must:

  • be an authorized institutional official acting on behalf of an eligible institution;
  • agree to the Terms and Conditions for Applying to the EDI Capacity-Building Grant.

EDI Institutional Capacity-Building Grants are institutional grants. As such, the applicant is expected to be a senior manager in the administration of the institution, such as a vice-president responsible at the organizational level for all faculties. Submission of the application must be authorized by the president (equivalent or designate) of the institution.


Eligible expenses for grant funds are expenses directly associated with the project. Resources must be used in accordance with the directives listed in the Tri-agency Guide on Financial Administration.

Examples of expenses for which grant funds may be used include, but are not limited to:

  • staff salaries for work related to the project;
  • travel costs associated with the project;
  • development of institutional EDI resources and training materials;
  • externally-sourced training courses and materials;
  • costs associated with organizational restructuring or design;
  • development of communication strategies and/or plans;
  • venue costs for events related to the project.

Eligible expenses do not include direct support to faculty members and/or students through a grant, fellowship, scholarship or supplement.

Application procedures

Applicants should consult the EDI Institutional Capacity-Building Grant – Instructions for completing an application.


  • Application deadline: January 11, 2021 before 8:00 p.m. (ET). Complete applications must be submitted by the deadline using the EDI Institutional Capacity-Building Grant Secure Upload Site.

Selection process

The merit review of EDI Institutional Capacity-Building Grant applications will be based on the following evaluation criteria:

Evaluation criteria Description
  • Demonstrated need: how the proposal identifies current EDI barriers (if known);
  • Appropriateness of the proposed strategy to address the demonstrated need within the current EDI context of the institution;
  • Alignment of the proposal with the objective of the funding opportunity;
  • Integration of current and/or past EDI initiatives: how the proposed strategy draws upon existing or previous EDI initiatives at the institution, when relevant. Note: Institutions that do not yet have a This link will take you to another Web site Canada Research Chairs EDI Action Plan or a similar plan in place are not at a disadvantage for this funding opportunity.
Merit of proposed project
  • Vision: clear statement of the major goal(s), and how the proposed strategy aligns with that statement;
  • How the proposed project is informed by evidence, meaningful engagement with affected groups and/or real-world examples of past success with similar approaches;
  • Organizational integration: how the proposed strategy encompasses multiple organizational structures (e.g., different departments and/or faculties) within the institution. These grants are meant to affect institution-wide change. Some activities can be targeted to individual faculties or departments;
  • Appropriateness of the proposed budget;
  • Expertise, experience and complementarity of the personnel involved in the proposal;
  • Appropriateness of the implementation plan, including initiating, planning, implementing, monitoring, and concluding the project;
  • Appropriateness of proposed timeline: defined and relevant short-, medium- and long-term goals;
  • Measurability of success: how progress and success will be determined using key indicators;
  • Feasibility: how the major goal(s) of the strategy can be realistically achieved within the proposed timeframe;
  • **NEW** Intersectionality: how the proposal incorporates the targeted groups and takes into account intersections and interdependencies between these groups in the implementation of the plan.
Institutional commitment
  • Institutional resource contributions: relevance, quantity and appropriateness of proposed institutional contributions, including financial, in-kind or personnel contributions;
  • Institutional accountability: the level of engagement of upper-level management in the proposed project; the appropriateness of the governance and management plan for the project;
  • Lateral scope of engagement across the institution;
  • Long-term institutional commitment to the proposed project, beyond the duration of the grant.


Notification of results

Successful institutions will be notified in March 2021.


Institutions are expected to implement their proposed strategy in a timely fashion and to demonstrate progress annually, if applicable, and in a final report.

Use and disclosure of information

All personal information collected as part of this funding opportunity is used by NSERC to review applications and to administer and monitor grants. Details are described in the Use and Disclosure of Personal Information Provided to NSERC and in the relevant funding opportunity literature.

NSERC may disclose or publish the names of recipients and other limited information about awarded grants on its website or in other public fora.

For more information

For more information about this funding opportunity, contact

1Adapted with permission from the This link will take you to another Web site ADVANCE program description of the US National Science Foundation.