ECU Receives Federal Grant to Support Equity, Diversity and Inclusion in Research Areas

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By Emily Carr University

Posted on May 12, 2021 | Updated November 29, 2021, 3:36pm

The two-year grant will help ECU identify and eliminate systemic barriers to equity among faculty.

Emily Carr University is a 2021 recipient of a two-year federal grant aimed at fostering greater equity, diversity and inclusion within the post-secondary research sector.

The $400,000 Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Institutional Capacity-Building Grant will help ECU identify and eliminate systemic barriers that may impede the recruitment, advancement and research of under-represented and minoritized faculty.

The grant structure also allows for a focus on intersectional vulnerabilities, says Steven Lam, Dean of the Jake Kerr Faculty of Graduate Studies and Associate Vice-President of Research at Emily Carr.

“The whole charge of the grant is to consider not just one identity group, but to encourage a systemic understanding of how institutions may erase or render vulnerable various groups,” Steven says. “So, it really focuses on an intersectional approach, which may be inclusive of LGBTQ+, racialized, minoritized and women faculty members, as well as focusing on issues of ableism and disability.”

ECU is one of 12 universities from across Canada to share close to $4.8 million in funding as part of the latest EDI Institutional Capacity-Building grant. This pilot funding program is supported by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC).

“Any project related to Equity, Diversity and Inclusion needs to be envisioned not solely through the lens of an institution, but through the eyes of all members of a community,” Gillian Siddall, ECU President and Vice-Chancellor, says. “As Emily Carr approaches its 100th anniversary, this grant will enable ECU to evaluate our record on equity, and to help define what it means to be accountable for that record. It will allow for an honest, transparent and critical assessment of how and what we’ve done, and how we can do better now and in the future.”

Gillian notes the university plans to build project teams from within the community, which will help amplify and reinforce the work that has been happening on the ground for years.

Meanwhile, Steven hopes the grant will also allow ECU to investigate the biases, discrimination, and exclusions that get reproduced in the fields of art and design.

“Not only do we need EDI as a university, we also need to correct the biases and systemic exclusions that are reproduced within our professional fields,” he says. “This grant will enable us to extend our inventory of our own historical and contemporary EDI challenges beyond the university, and into the broader realms of art, design and media.”

You can read more about the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Institutional Capacity-Building Grant at