Equity, Diversity & Inclusion

BrainsCAN is committed to meaningful and action-driven considerations of equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) embedded within its research practices and culture. In this way, BrainsCAN seeks to foster a diverse membership that reflects the Canadian society and global environment it serves through research impact.

Results gathered from a 2019 Canadian Association of Neuroscience (CAN) and BrainsCAN EDI survey found:

82% of Canadian neuroscientists believe diversity strengthens a research program.

87% think challenges remain for underrepresented groups.

40% of Canadian neuroscientists don’t think their institution recognizes the importance of EDI.

Why is EDI important in research?

Diversity in research provides:

A wide range of perspective and thought
Greater creative and innovative research outputs
An inclusive and welcoming research environment for underrepresented trainees
Generalizability of research impact to the Canadian and Global communities

How does BrainsCAN support EDI?  

BrainsCAN is committed to EDI in all aspects of its research programs as well as the departments it represents. Providing equal opportunities to and encouraging participation from Indigenous persons, persons with disabilities, members of racialized groups/visible minorities, persons of any sexual orientation, persons of any gender identity or gender expression, and others who contribute to the research mandate of BrainsCAN and Western University is a core objective.

Diversity contributes to research impact and excellence. In order to achieve full participation from diverse members, BrainsCAN supports EDI strategies by:

  • Ensuring diversity of leadership representation on the Executive Committee and Board of Directors.
  • Structural accountability for EDI through an Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee (EDIC) to oversee BrainCAN’s EDI initiatives.
  • Ensuring equitable and inclusive practices are embedded within the strategic governance of the initiative through EDI considerations for program development, evaluation, resource allocation, career advancement, training and education, etc.
  • Identifying intersectionality as a foundational consideration for BrainsCAN EDI initiatives to ensure inclusivity of all groups.
  • Implementing a comprehensive and inclusive self-identification survey to accurately reflect the diversity of BrainsCAN’s engagement and programs, as well as directly influence the impact of its EDI policies.
  • Developing an inclusive culture within BrainsCAN by implementing safe spaces and visible supports for BrainsCAN staff and researchers. 
  • Assisting researchers with individualized EDI research environment best practices and consultation for implementation.
  • Working with other departments at Western to assist in the implementation of their EDI strategies.
  • Partnering with Canadian Association of Neuroscience (CAN) to reach beyond Western’s neuroscience community to a national level for engagement on EDI initiatives.
  • Prioritizing EDI globally as a central feature of all BrainsCAN partnerships with world-class neuroscience institutions.

Core BrainsCAN EDI Principles  

  • BrainsCAN acknowledges that barriers remain to full participation of underrepresented groups (including women, visible minorities, Indigenous peoples, people with diverse gender identities, persons of any sexual orientation, and people with disabilities) in our research communities.
  • BrainsCAN recognizes that intentional EDI practices provide increased access to the largest pool of qualified potential participants, which strengthens the expertise of the research program membership, and leads to impactful research outputs and overall research excellence.
  • The responsibility for creating an equitable, diverse as well as inclusive research community is the responsibility of every member, and BrainsCAN will ensure that EDI is prioritized through allyship and continued EDI program assessment and reflection.


Other EDI Resources at Western


For more information, or questions relating to EDI supports provided by BrainsCAN, please contact Nicole Kaniki, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Specialist (ext: 81058; brainscan.edi@uwo.ca)