Strategic Directions: Research & Innovation

York University will cultivate inclusive and equitable research environments that nurture multiple and intersectional ways of knowing, create and nurture diverse research teams and encourage research programs in traditionally equity-deserving settings. 

Research encompasses all areas of research and innovation activities, including funding; who conducts research; what informs how the research is carried out; what gets recognized as scholarly work and scholarly excellence; how research is approved and conducted; power dynamics in research groups; and how a researcher pathway is cultivated. All aspects of innovation work and how a group may intersect with this area of activity are also included here.
“I find myself energized with the introduction of the DEDI Strategy, as I often was engaged in during its development. While I identify as a gay racialized man, I understand that identities can be transient, unstable, and shift according to the historical times in which they are embedded. It is exciting to know that the DEDI strategy is a natal moment in a long and important conversation that will likewise shift, change, and respond to the needs of its community accordingly. I am hopeful and confident that it will serve as a nexus to help consolidate efforts of the community to continue fostering inclusion and working toward equity, inclusion, and decolonization.”


Simon Adam, RN, PhD

Associate Professor, School of Nursing, Faculty of Health

Recommendations for new campus-wide initiatives

Under the leadership of the Division of Research and Innovation, in collaboration with divisions and faculties: 

  • Conduct education sessions for tenure & promotion committees on the ways to recognize community-engaged research, mentoring and other forms of service and knowledge creation. 

  • Develop a best practice guide for researchers on DEDI in the lab for researchers (for graduate students and research teams). 

  • Identify opportunities to support tri-council funding opportunities related to DEDI; equity-deserving faculty in writing grant applications; and to further advocacy efforts related to DEDI and research with grant-funding bodies and agencies. 

  • Identify opportunities to develop and implement strategies and programs to improve knowledge mobilization, entrepreneurship, and innovation pathways for equity-deserving groups and research. 

  • Support the strengthening of research partnerships with equity-deserving communities with the goal of knowledge mobilization, recognizing that knowledge mobilization for those working with equity-deserving communities may take non-traditional formats. 

  • Identify educational opportunities for researchers on how to meaningfully incorporate DEDI principles and practices into their research programs including addressing DEDI considerations in research design and practices, recruitment, data collection and sex- and gender-based analysis plus (SGBA+) analysis, trainee recruitment, and research team participation. 

  • In collaboration with the Indigenous Council and the Centre for Indigenous Knowledges and Languages, support the establishment of an Indigenous Research Ethics Board. 

Recommendations for continuing initiatives

  • Embed DEDI principles into the review processes for all funding programs and award nominations including Division of Research and Innovation administered internal funding competitions; internal research awards; institutional nominations for external awards and honours; and funding programs that require adjudication and peer-review, ensuring transparent and equitable criteria and processes. 

  • Continue to support seed research funding for diverse scholars from equity-deserving groups (professorial, postdoctoral) to support capacity building in applying for external funding. 

  • Continue to assess and address representation from equity-seeking groups in faculty hiring including research chairs in fields of study as deemed necessary while also ensuring inclusive and equitable processes in all faculty hiring. 

  • Continue to advance the York-Canada Research Chairs EDI Action Plan and the Dimensions Charter, as well as other existing and future government funding programs. 

  • Continue the implementation of the Decolonizing Research Administration Report and Action Plan, co-led by the Office of the Vice-President Research and Innovation and the Office of the Vice-President Equity, People and Culture. 

  • Evaluate and further develop the Place of Online Learning for the Adjudication of Researchers Inclusively and Supportively (POLARIS) to address decolonization in the training of those who rank, judge, adjudicate, or provide feedback on researchers and their applications. 

Taking action, making impact

We call on faculties, divisions, units, departments, and individual York community members (including students) to identify and implement actions to: 

  • Ensure that DEDI principles and practices are embedded into research plans. 

  • Develop dedicated access and outreach to research opportunities for diverse student populations (e.g. Black, racialized, Indigenous, people with disabilities, 2SLGBTQIA+, first-generation, international), recognizing that there are significant barriers to inclusion for students that need to be addressed in program design. 

  • Support initiatives to create inclusive research environments in work and learning, specifically in research labs and teams, including mentoring. 

  • Embed DEDI principles and practices in the review processes for all funding programs and award nominations that are localized in unit. For example, ensure that nominees for research and other scholarly awards are representative, including under-represented equity-deserving individuals, and are sought out using inclusive practices. 

  • Identify opportunities to strengthen meaningful research partnerships with equity-deserving communities. 

  • Ensure research-related committees, research teams and supervisory committees have representative membership and operate with inclusive practices. 

  • Ensure that conference representation enables participation of researchers, students and partners from equity-deserving groups and settings. 

  • Ensure that research is not only disseminated in traditionally scholarly formats but also mobilized in formats accessible to the diversity of broader society. 

  • Ensure that recommendations related to tenure and promotion encompass all the examples in the Tenure and Promotions Policy, Criteria and Procedures and not recapitulate the sole reliance on traditional forms of scholarly production and dissemination. 


Understanding that benchmarks will need to be established over time, and the mechanisms put in place to be able to track University progress, the following benchmarks and/or monitoring systems are recommended: 

  • DEDI practices and principles are embedded in University and faculty research plans. 

  • The Research Office will explore tracking application and award rates from equity-deserving groups in grant and scholarship competitions, award nominations, and CRCs/ York Research Chairs. Evaluate the progress over time. 

  • Track the implementation of actions from the Decolonizing Research Administration Action Plan. 
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