Equity, Diversity, Inclusion & Decolonization in Research

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Watch our June 2023 Lunch & Learn session on incorporating EDI-D in grant applications.

The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) have developed the Tri-Agency Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan to guide initiatives and decisions contributing to a system-wide transformation and adapt to new realities and insights gained through feedback, literature and national and international promising practices. It is the foundation for a concerted long-term commitment to enhancing EDI in the Canadian research landscape. The funding agencies will continue to listen to and engage with the community to support concrete change.

What do the terms Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, Decolonization and Indigenization mean?


Equity is a principle rooted in human rights, tied to human dignity and integral to the principle of justice and the ethical practice of fairness. It requires we acknowledge we do not all start from the same place. Equitable approaches are specifically tailored and designed to address inequities, reducing and removing systemic barriers which prevent specific people and groups in accessing opportunities and resources.

Equity is the process and equality is the goal.


Diversity refers to the spectrum of differences in racial identity, place of origin, religious and spiritual affiliation, immigrant and newcomer status, ethnic origin, ability, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, age and more. Diversity also consists of conditions, expressions, and experiences of different groups and a breadth of characters, ways of thinking, knowledge and worldviews. It includes both visible and invisible traits, like neurodiversity.

Diversity is sometimes seen as an effort to increase representation or numeracy, but fundamentally, it is the cultivation of an environment in which those who have been historically disadvantaged and are currently under-represented gain access to and flourish within the community. Diversity can only truly be integrated and embraced with active inclusion.


Inclusion refers to the active, intentional, equitable and continuous engagement of all individuals, resulting in respectful and welcoming environments. Inclusion encompasses norms, practices, and intentional actions to promote participation, engagement, empowerment and a sense of belonging. An inclusive research environment results in research excellence and contributes to more relevant research with higher societal impact.


Decolonization refers to deconstructing and de-centering colonial thinking, practices, policies, systems and places. Decolonizing research means centering concerns and world views of non-Western individuals and respectfully knowing and understanding theory and research from previously “Other(ed)” perspectives (Battiste, 2000; Datta, 2018; Smith, 2012). 


Indigenization refers to the process of naturalizing Indigenous knowledges, knowledge systems and recognizing the validity of Indigenous worldviews, knowledge and perspectives. It does not mean replacing Euro-Western knowledge systems.

Looking to incorporate Indigenous considerations in your research?

Does your research have implications for Indigenous People, land or knowledge? Refer to our Indigenous Research page for an in-depth resource to better understand Indigenous matters, or contact Mariam Hayward directly for further assistance.

Contact Us

For support related to EDID and Indigenous Research, please fill out this form with your information and the Inclusive Research Excellence and Impact team will assist with your request – or contact Mariam Hayward directly.