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Robbins-Ollivier Award for Excellence in Equity

Funding Amount

$150,000 for one year ($100K from the award with $50K match from VPRI and VPEPC)

Nomination Due Date

September 1, 2023


Contact Abby Vogus, SIRI Specialist, Office of Research Services,


The offices of the Vice-President of Research & Innovation (VPRI) and the Vice-President Equity, People and Culture (VPEPC) invite nominations for the Robbins-Ollivier Award for Excellence in Equity.  

The three federal research funding agencies—the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) (the tri-agencies)—are pleased to launch the inaugural Robbins-Ollivier Award for Excellence in Equity. Awarded through the tri-agency Canada Research Chairs Program (CRCP), the award will recognize significant and impactful contributions to increase the level of equity in the CRCP and Canada’s research ecosystem more broadly.  

Any faculty member meeting the eligibility criteria below are eligible for nomination; it is not restricted to Canada Research Chairholders. 

About the Robbins-Ollivier Award for Excellence in Equity 

This award recognizes the significant and impactful contributions that Marjorie Griffin Cohen, Louise Forsyth, Glenis Joyce, Audrey Kobayashi, Shree Mulay, Susan Prentice, Michèle Ollivier and Wendy Robbins have made to increase the level of equity in the CRCP and Canada’s research ecosystem more broadly, by way of their 2003 Canadian Human Rights complaints and their concerted efforts in the mediation processes, which led to both the 2006 Settlement Agreement and its addendum in 2019.  

The award recognizes the contributions of the entire group, while being named after the late Michèle Ollivier and Wendy Robbins, who passed away in 2010 and 2017, respectively, prior to the signing of the 2019 Addendum.  

Award Objectives 

The objectives of the annual Robbins-Ollivier Equity Award are to: 

  • fund bold and potentially game-changing institutional-level initiatives that will challenge the status quo, spark change and take action to address persistent systemic barriers in the research ecosystem and academia more broadly;  
  • recognize faculty members who contribute their time, expertise and lived experience to help address inequities in their institution, the research ecosystem and academia; and 
  • provide opportunities for students and trainees to contribute to this important work. 

The award provides a total of $100,000 over one year to a faculty member or a team of faculty members nominated by an eligible institution, to fund the implementation of bold and potentially game-changing projects led by the nominated individual or team that: 

  • contributes to the understanding of the persistence of systemic barriers in the nominating institution and, by extension, the research ecosystem and academia more broadly; and/or
  • identifies innovative measures that could be implemented to change the status quo and break down those barriers in the long term. 

In addition to the award funding, VPRI and the Office of the Vice President Equity, People and Culture (VPEPC) will be providing matching funds of $50,000 to support the institution’s nominee.


To be eligible for nomination, the faculty member(s) must: 

  • be eligible to receive grant funding from the agencies
  • be holding a full-time academic appointment at York University at the time of nomination and for the duration of the award (adjunct faculty are not eligibile); and 
  • be in good standing with CIHR, NSERC and SSHRC (e.g., they cannot have eligibility limits placed on them due to not meeting grant reporting requirements for the CRCP or have sanctions in place tied to the agencies’ responsible conduct of research policy). 

Institutional administrators who are eligible to hold grant funding from the agencies are also eligible to be nominated.

The CRCP is an institutional program and does not accept applications from or fund researchers directly. York University may submit only one nomination, with the Office of the VPRI, in collaboration with the VP Equity, People and Culture, administering the internal nomination process. 

Award Funds

The award is not intended to “top up” or be added to pre-existing, on-going initiatives.

Eligible expenses include:

  • Teaching/administrative release for individual(s)
  • Student/trainee stipends or salary
  • Research costs according to the Chairs Administration Guide

Selection Criteria 

The CRCP’s Advisory Committee on Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Policy, which is made up of individuals from research and academia from Canada and abroad, will select award recipients according to the selection criteria of the award and using best practices in adjudication, using the following criteria: 

  • Project (60%) – Evidence that the proposal is bold and potentially game-changing
  • Leadership and commitment to equity (20%) – Evidence of leadership and commitment of the nominee(s) to making the research/academic environment and/or society more equitable. 
  • Institutional nomination process and support for the initiative (20%)

Further details on the selection criteria are available on the call website.  

Internal Nomination Process 

  • Faculties and individuals are asked to submit nominations for review by the Office of the VPRI (via the Strategic and Institutional Research Initiatives (SIRI) team). There is no limit as to the number of nominations that Faculties may bring forward. 
  • A joint committee with representatives from the VPRI, the Office of VP Equity, People and Culture, and other Faculty representatives will review nominations to assess which nominations best met the following criteria: 
  • To what extent has the nominee(s) shown leadership at York or other research institutions in advancing EDI initiatives and/or breaking down or understanding systemic barriers for researchers from equity-deserving groups? (25%)  
  • Does the proposed project demonstrate potentially game-changing results toward addressing persistent systemic barriers in the research ecosystem and/or academia? Has the nominee(s) created a plan and indicators to measure the projects’ success in meeting its aim? (50%) 
  • Does the proposed project include meaningful roles for students/trainees? (5%) 
  • To what extent has the nominee(s) demonstrated engagement with the communities it seeks to benefit? How has the nominee(s) considered unintended harms to the communities? (15%).  
  • Has the proposal effectively considered and addressed intersectionality?  (5%) 

Abby Vogus, SIRI Specialist, Office of Research Services, and representatives from VPEPC will work with nominees to prepare final nomination packages for submission. 

York Internal Nomination Package  

A complete internal nomination package includes:  

  • A two-page project overview with the following sections: 
    • Overview of the project objectives and activities 
    • Expected impacts/outcomes, including how these will be measured 
    • Project Roles, including trainee/student roles 
    • Community engagement 
  • Nominee’s CV, highlighting relevant service and leadership related to EDI 
  • Budget plan, including the $50,000 from VPRI/VPEPC and any other matched funding (1 page). Any matched funding outside of the VPRI/VPEPC match should include an email or other written confirmation of the commitment.

To apply, submit the nomination package to Abby Vogus ( by September 1, 2023

Completed Nomination Package  

The selected nominee(s) will be notified by VPRI and VPEPC in late September. The SIRI team and the Office of VPEPC will support the nominee(s) in preparing the final nomination package.  

Nominee(s) will be primarily responsible for the following: 

  • Description of the proposed project (4 pages max for English/5 pages max for French) 
  • Budget (1 page) 

SIRI and VPEPC will prepare the remaining parts of the nomination: 

  • Institutional nomination letter and rationale 
  • Institutional nomination process and support for the nomination 

Completed nomination package due November 3, 2023 by email to Abby Vogus, 

Nominations will be submitted to the funder by VPRI. 

Relevant Deadlines 

June 2023 Program launches
September 1, 2023 Faculties/individuals submit internal nominations to VPRI
Mid-SeptemberJoint review committee review
Late SeptemberVPRI decisions and feedback provided to nominees
November 3, 2023 by 10 a.m.Final submission to SIRI
November 7, 2023Funder deadline
April 2024Results announced


For more information, please contact Abby Vogus, SIRI Specialist, Office of Research Services,