Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan and Report

Infographic: EDI action plan, as listen on this page

Text in diagram above is shortened summary of information below.

View the full EDI Action Plan and Report.

Long-term Goal

Act as a leader in EDI at McGill and beyond, facilitating action at the institutional level and serving as a model for future interdisciplinary research initiatives

Short-term Goal

Build an inclusive environment among HBHL- and McGill neuroscience-affiliated faculty, staff and trainees

Areas of Focus

HBHL emphasizes the following five areas in our efforts towards facilitating an inclusive, diverse, and equitable academic environment:


Ensuring meaningful inclusion of diverse voices in HBHL decision-making.

Specific objectives

  • Ensure the composition of HBHL governance committees reflects the diversity of the McGIll neuroscience community.
  • Integrate EDI as a key consideration in HBHL planning and decision-making.


  1. HBHL will integrate an EDI Committee into its governance structure. The committee will include HBHL-related faculty and trainees, as well as McGill equity staff to ensure coordination between HBHL’s EDI initiatives and McGill initiatives. The committee will be responsible for:
    1. Providing guidance to HBHL staff and leadership on the continuous development and progress review of HBHL’s equity plan,
    2. Developing a process for EDI data collection and analysis, and
    3. Approving processes and decisions related to funding and hiring of faculty, staff and trainees to ensure adherence to EDI principles and commitments.
  2. HBHL will fill open positions on its governance committees through open calls, which will include an equity statement. Individuals from underrepresented groups who may fit an open role will be encouraged to apply. Where candidates do not differ in merit, a candidate from group(s) underrepresented within HBHL will be selected.
  3. HBHL will maximize transparency regarding its governance, such as sharing committee Terms of Reference, key decisions and statistics on HBHL initiatives publicly on the HBHL website.

Recruitment and rentention

Facilitating equitable recruitment and creating a positive climate to promote retention of faculty and staff.

Specific objectives

  • Ensure that at least 50% of HBHL-related hires, faculty and staff separated, are members of McGill Equity Groups.
  • Exceed by 3% the national average of representation of designated equity groups by discipline.
  • Raise awareness of EDI best practices among faculty leaders, members of search committees, and new recruits.
  • Facilitate positive climate to promote long-term success, growth and retention of faculty and staff, including new recruits as well as those who have been at McGill prior to HBHL.
  • Require applications for HBHL-related faculty and staff positions from candidates with a variety of backgrounds.
  • Ensure that candidates from designated groups are considered in an equitable manner throughout the hiring process by identifying and reducing unconscious bias in the review process.
  • Distribute speaking, research dissemination and other HBHL-related communication opportunities to HBHL-supported faculty and staff in an equitable manner that reflects the diversity of the HBHL community.


  1. HBHL will exceed McGill’s Employment Equity requirements. Existing McGill requirements include EDI training for all members of academic search committees, public job postings including an equity statement, inclusion of at least one member of an equity group on the shortlist for each position and submission of a post-search equity report. HBHL will add the following requirements to integrate EDI best practices into the application and evaluation processes for all HBHL faculty hires (i.e. recipients of HBHL Start-up Supplements):
    1. Candidates must be hired through an open search. The hiring faculty must notify HBHL at the start of any search process that may result in an HBHL hire.
    2. No exceptions will be permitted for the requirement of at least one member of a McGill Equity Group on the shortlist.
    3. The hiring faculty must assign a mentor for the new recruit. In the application, they must describe the mentorship plan as well as the EDI best practices that were implemented in the search committee formation and search process.
    4. In the application, the candidate must provide a statement describing how EDI best practices will be implemented in their proposed research program and team.
    5. The HBHL EDI Committee (see Governance section) must approve the above-listed components of the application in order for it to be sent for scientific review.
  2. HBHL will disseminate Information regarding the Start-Up Supplements program and the above-listed EDI requirements to all McGill faculties.
  3. HBHL will provide open networking opportunities to facilitate a sense of community among new recruits and existing hires. Additional networking and public visibility opportunities will be offered to facilitate connections specifically for HBHL new recruits and HBHL-funded researchers, aimed at maximizing the number of individual researchers benefiting from these opportunities.
  4. HBHL will develop and implement a plan for the measurement of career growth and retention of HBHL-affiliated faculty and staff.


Providing accessible professional development for neuroscience trainees and promoting EDI best practices in research training environments.

Specific objectives

  • Facilitate inclusive training environments to promote academic success and career growth for neuroscience trainees.
  • Encourage supervisors to implement EDI best practices when recruiting and interacting with their team.
  • Host/co-host at least 2 EDI training activities per calendar year and ensure that at least 50% of the HBHL community participates in EDI training.
  • Distribute speaking, research dissemination and other HBHL-related communication opportunities to HBHL-supported trainees in an equitable manner that reflects the diversity of the HBHL community.
  • Expose participants of HBHL training activities to many speakers and event leaders with various backgrounds and areas of expertise.
  • Contribute to diversifying the future neuroscience research community through outreach activities.


  1. HBHL will require all supervisors of graduate students and postdoctoral fellows applying for HBHL fellowships to provide a reference letter that includes a description of how they implement EDI best practices with their team. We will develop a public resource for supervisors including a list of EDI training opportunities at McGill and online, and best practices for recruiting and maintaining their team.
  2. HBHL will provide open networking opportunities to facilitate a sense of community among neuroscience trainees at McGill and partnering institutions, and connect them to faculty, staff and industry professionals. Additional networking and visibility opportunities will be offered to facilitate connections specifically for HBHL-affiliated trainees, aimed at maximizing the number of individual trainees benefiting from these opportunities.
  3. HBHL will provide open professional skills training allowing all McGill neuroscience trainees to access a wide range of learning opportunities. Additional leadership and mentorship experiences will be provided specifically for HBHL-affiliated trainees.
    1. The following steps will be taken to ensure that these and all other HBHL activities are inclusive and accessible:
      1. Event organization will follow EDI best practices as outlined by McGill Sustainable Events.
      2. An Event Code of Conduct will be developed, to which all organizers and participants of HBHL events must agree to abide by at the time of registration for any event.
      3. At the time of registration for HBHL events, participants will be invited to indicate any accessibility needs and accommodation will be provided as needed.
      4. Organizing committees will be formed for major HBHL events (e.g. Symposium, Research Day) to solicit a range of perspectives on event activities, schedule and speakers.
      5. The position of EDI Officer will be included in the HBHL Trainee Committee, who will be responsible for ensuring the Committee’s activities (Trainee Get-Togethers, Research Day, trainee communications) are inclusive, accessible and highlight speakers that are representative of the McGill neuroscience community.
      6. Speakers/leaders at training events will be varied across events, including researchers, trainees, university staff and industry professionals with diverse backgrounds and areas of expertise.
  4. HBHL will promote McGill’s institution-wide EDI training and resources through its public (e.g. social media) and targeted communications (e.g. newsletters to the HBHL community).
  5. HBHL will organize targeted EDI activities for the McGill neuroscience community, including a combination of public events and specialized, small-group workshops. Collaborations and consultations with McGill’s equity education staff will be integrated into the development of these activities.
  6. HBHL will develop a paid summer internship program to provide research experience and professional development training for undergraduate students from underrepresented groups.

Distribution of funding

Implementing equitable application and selection processes for HBHL funding programs.

Specific objectives

  • Obtain applicant pools for each funding program that reflect, at a minimum, the population of eligible researchers and trainees at McGill.
  • Ensure that funding recipients reflect the applicable applicant pool.
  • Award funding amounts within programs that are not lower for underrepresented groups.
  • Track the flow of individuals from underrepresented groups through the application and selection processes in order to identify and address barriers.
  • Identify and reduce unconscious bias in the peer review process.


  1. HBHL will promote open funding opportunities publicly through HBHL communications, other McGill communications and external communications, as appropriate for each competition, to facilitate a diverse applicant pool.
  2. The HBHL EDI Committee will review all funding calls for inclusive language and an equitable application/selection process.
  3. HBHL will extend a funding call if an insufficient number of applications or non-representative applicant pools are obtained from a first call. A minimum number of applications will be determined prior to the launch of each funding call dependent on the size of the pool of eligible applicants (e.g. faculty or trainees, general or related to a specific type of research) and number of available awards.
  4. HBHL will implement an “excellence levels” selection process for HBHL funding programs where more than 10 applications are received; this process firstly prioritizes application quality, and allows for the selection of candidates from underrepresented groups in cases where merit is equal and not all candidates at a particular merit level can be awarded. Scores and comments from individual reviewers will be considered in this process.
  5. HBHL will include an optional self-identification section accompanied by an equity statement in the application process for HBHL funding. Self-identification responses will not be sent to reviewers.
  6. HBHL will send an equity statement and an EDI resource list to reviewers along with the applications to review.

Research content

Considering sex- and gender-based analysis plus (SGBA+) factors (e.g. sex, gender, age, ability, Indigeneity, geography, culture, income, sexual orientation, education, ethnicity, religion and language) in scientific research to inform equitable health care, technology and policy.

Specific objectives

  • Educate all HBHL-funded researchers and trainees on the importance and proper implementation of SGBA+.
  • Encourage researchers to reflect on the use of SGBA+ in their projects and seek information or adjust projects as needed.
  • Integrate SGBA+ as a key component in funding decisions.


  1. HBHL will require all applicants to HBHL funding programs to submit a certificate of completion of online training in SGBA+ in order to be eligible to apply.
  2. HBHL will require all applicants to HBHL funding programs to describe how SGBA+ will be integrated in their proposed project, as applicable, consistent with the requirements for other federal research support programs.
  3. HBHL will require peer reviewers for funding programs to provide a review of the SGBA+ description for each application, and applications with insufficient or inappropriate use of SGBA+ will not be funded.
  4. HBHL will require all recipients of HBHL funds to describe how SGBA+ is/was implemented in their project in their mid-term and end-of-grant reports.


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