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Guidelines for the Internal Selection and Nomination of Canada Research Chairs

This document is an update to Sunnybrook Research Institute’s Guidelines for the Internal Selection and Nomination of Canada Research Chairs (implemented in Jan 2018) and incorporates new requirements for recruiting and nominating Canada Research Chairs, published in September 2018.

PDF version

Contents

Introduction

Background

Internal Allocation of CRCs

Preparing Internal CRC Job Postings

Posting Internal CRC Vacancies

Selection Committee

The Role of the Equity and Diversity Officer

Candidate Assessment

Review of CVs, Proposals and Other Materials

Review, Including Interview

Collection of Equity Data

Committee Recommendation

Acceptance

Nomination

Monitoring

Supporting Materials and Equity and Diversity Training Resources

Introduction

This document was prepared by the Sunnybrook Research Institute (SRI) strategic research programs office with the aim of providing a brief overview of the Canada Research Chairs Program (CRCP) requirements for the internal selection and nomination of Canada Research Chairs (CRCs). The use of ‘internal’ is intended to mean selection from among existing SRI scientists with full-time appointments at the time the opportunity is advertised.

This brief guide is designed to assist search committees in selecting internal CRC candidates, and to ensure selection practices accord with the CRCP’s requirements for recruiting and nominating Canada Research Chairs and best practices for recruitment, hiring and retention of Chairs.

A separate guide is available for the external recruitment and nomination of CRCs.

Full information and details of the CRCP can be found at www.chairs-chaires.gc.ca.

Background

The CRCP in 2017 released its Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Action Plan (EDIAP), which required institutions to meet certain milestones by December 2019 to ensure continued eligibility and funding. In September 2018, the CRCP published new requirements for recruiting and nominating Canada Research Chairs.

All CRC recruitment and nomination processes must be based on the principles of openness, transparency and accountability, thereby ensuring that all individuals have access to and the opportunity to benefit from the program. Notably, the CRCP aims to eliminate barriers and to increase access to the program for the federally designated groups (FDGs): women; visible minorities or persons of colour; persons with disabilities; and indigenous peoples.

Sunnybrook Research Institute is working with the University of Toronto and its affiliated hospitals to meet the CRCP Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Public Accountability and Transparency Requirements, and has put in place institutional policies and practices that align with the new requirements for recruitment and nomination of CRCs.

Some of the new requirements demand specific actions by the SRI and / or by individuals involved in staff recruitment, and these are highlighted below.

Internal Allocation of CRCs

The formal CRC allocation is made to the University of Toronto rather than to hospitals, and the university makes a sub-allocation to each affiliated hospital using an established formula, based largely on tri-council funding received. The recruitment and allocation of CRCs by affiliated hospitals is determined by each hospital’s strategic research priorities and requirements. Hospital nominations are reviewed by a university committee to ensure eligibility and broad scientific merit, and, alignment with EDIAP requirements and the university’s CRC equity targets.

At SRI, as appropriate, the Research Executive Committee (REC) provides advice to the vice-president, research on the alignment of CRCs with SRI’s strategic research priorities. CRCs are allocated to SRI Research Platforms, and a terminating chair would normally be replaced by a new recruit or an existing scientist in the same Platform, taking into account institutional equity and diversity targets. The subject area of the new / replacement CRC would be determined by the Platform director, in discussion with the vice-president research, and with members of the Platform, and in the context of the institute’s strategic research priorities.

Preparing Internal CRC Job Postings

There must be an open posting to all eligible faculty members and Research Platforms, inviting proposals to fill a vacant Chair. The CRCP now requires that it be notified about a posting on the day it is published and that a copy of the posting be included with the CRC nomination package.

The posting should be unambiguous about any specific requirements of the vacancy in terms of essential skills, training, experience and achievements the candidate is expected to have, and any expectations the platform or SRI has about future activities of the nominee. The posting should be explicit about the expected standing and seniority of the candidate.

The posting must use inclusive, unbiased, ungendered language and must be reviewed and approved by an equity and diversity officer (or equivalent) prior being published. It must contain the following elements:

  • date of the posting, information on the CRC opportunity, including a clear indication of the number of positions that will be filled, and information on the selection process and any special criteria or requirements that will be used to select the prospective CRC nominee
  • in the case of Tier 2 opportunities, the posting must describe the CRC eligibility requirements and refer to the CRCP’s Tier 2 justification process
  • reference to career interruptions and encouragement to applicants to explain any personal circumstances, to inform a fair assessment of their application
  • an equity statement encouraging applications from members of the FDGs and a statement on the institution’s accommodation policies
  • a statement that applicants must complete a voluntary self-declaration form (available here)

Sample postings for internal Tier 1 or Tier 2 CRC recruitment are available in.

Posting Internal CRC Vacancies

Invitations for CVs and proposals to fill a CRC vacancy must be circulated internally (e.g., by email) among all faculty. Vacancies must also be publicly posted on SRI’s website for a minimum of 30 days. A link to the posting must be emailed to edi-edi@chairs-chaires.gc.ca on the same day it is posted.

The CRCP expects that efforts will be made to encourage a diverse pool of potential applicants and that institutions will actively identify and encourage applications from individuals in the FDGs. As such, Research Platforms must identify potential applicants in the FDGs from among the faculty who meet the CRC requirements for the specific vacancy, provide mentoring and support to them, and strongly encourage them to apply.

Selection Committee

The term “selection committee” includes all of the people involved in any part of the selection process.

The process includes:

  • establishing the selection process and establishing candidate selection criteria prior to the process getting underway
  • reviewing CVs, proposals and any other material provided for the selection process
  • formal interviewing of candidates, as appropriate
  • selecting and recommending the prospective CRC nominee
  • the committee may also be asked to advise on whether the post should filled through an internal or external search, and/or whether the post is best filled at Tier 1or Tier 2 level.

The Committee would normally meet twice:

  • The first meeting should discuss and agree on the materials required from candidates and the selection criteria, to review the job advertisement and to help identify equity candidates.
  • The second meeting is to review applications and to make a recommendation to the vice-president research. Members should be reminded of CRCP and SRI EDI policies, guidelines and expectations, and of the university’s equity targets.

The CRCP recognizes the power and consequences of unconscious bias, and that review processes can result in the selection of people who resemble the people who do the selecting, that is, people who “fit.” As a counterbalance and to ensure an equitable process, a diverse selection committee membership is required. Unconscious bias may also influence the CV review and shortlisting processes, and the CRCP is particularly concerned to address unintended or unconscious bias that may have an effect during the CRC selection and decision-making processes at the institution. For example, research has shown that the evaluation of academic CVs and even the wording of letters of recommendation differ by gender.

The CRCP has thus implemented requirements to improve the transparency of the process and to improve participants’ awareness of their contributions.

Institutions must ensure that the selection committee:

  • includes representation from at least one of the FDGs: women; visible minorities or persons of colour; persons with a disability; and, indigenous peoples
  • includes an equity and diversity officer, (or a committee member / institutional official identified as the equity, diversity and inclusion champion)
  • completes, at minimum, the mandatory CRCP unconscious bias training module and ensures that members are sensitized to issues of equity and diversity, and unconscious bias
  • is aware of any representation gap(s) among the institution’s current Chairholders
  • has established the application requirements, the selection criteria and shortlisting process prior to the initial screening of applications and CVs
  • is sensitive to an applicant’s legitimate career interruptions.

Proposals, CVs and any other material requested by the selection committee should be sent to the committee chair. Applicant self-identification forms should be sent to an individual independent of the selection committee, to ensure privacy. Aggregate data only would be provided to the chair, and where there are three or fewer responses, the data table would report only “*”.

Selection committee members must identify if they have a conflict of interest regarding their participation, or if any information has been shared with them about a candidate that may influence their decision.

The Role of the Equity and Diversity Officer

The role of the equity and diversity officer is to ensure that EDIAP requirements are considered in all aspects of the selection and nomination process and to advise the committee on equity and diversity issues, institutional targets and best practices and requirements for recruiting and nominating CRCs.

The officer will normally be a staff member identified as the equity, diversity and inclusion champion in the SRI strategic research programs office, or could be a committee member, who would explicitly take on the role and responsibilities of the equity and diversity officer.

Specifically, the equity and diversity officer should:

  • Be a member of the search committee and participate and approve all aspects of the recruitment and nomination process.
  • Inform the search committee on institutional equity and diversity targets and EDIAP requirements.
  • Provide a toolkit to the search committee that includes: copy of these guidelines; templates and samples of job postings that satisfy EDIAP requirements; links and resources for equity and diversity and unconscious bias training; sample candidate evaluation matrix and recruitment and nomination process checklists.
  • Review and approve EDI content of job postings.
  • Identify any potential biases and stereotypes revealed through the recruitment and nomination process, alert the committee should instances arise, and support members as they work through them.
  • Advise on the evaluation of applications that include career interruptions, non-traditional components, and accommodation considerations.
  • Review and sign off the recommendation report.

Candidate Assessment

The CRCP expects institutions to be committed to a fair and equitable selection process that objectively and consistently follows clear selection criteria established prior to the initial screening of CVs. The criteria adopted to assess CVs must be unambiguous, and account for both traditional and non-traditional research outputs such as professional services, outreach, mentoring and training of highly qualified personnel and other contributions appropriate to the specific CRC vacancy.

A summary table of metrics will be compiled by the Strategic Research Programs office and provided to the selection committee, along with the proposals and CVs. The table will include summaries of funding, publications and other data extracted from the CVs and proposals, as well as from established scientific database sources (e.g., Web of Science, Scopus, Google Scholar, etc.). A sample research metrics table and CV evaluation matrix is included in Appendix A of the PDF file and may be adapted to suit the particular vacancy. The selection committee will agree the information to be collected prior to the review of CVs.

Review of CVs, Proposals and Other Materials

Selection committee members will review materials against the predetermined criteria, and the use of an evaluation matrix is recommended to ensure consistency. Members should ensure a fair and equitable treatment of all candidates and must do the following:

  • Be as objective as possible.
  • Apply the criteria in the same way for all candidates.
  • Make allowance for differences in communication and presentation styles.
  • Make allowance for career breaks for family or medical needs or community responsibility.

Review, Including Interview

For an internal selection process, it may be determined that that an interview component will not materially enhance the information available for review and that the selection process should proceed through the assessment of CVs and proposals only. However, if the selection committee opts to interview applicants, interviews must do the following:

  • Be as objective as possible. The use of an evaluation matrix is recommended. A sample candidate evaluation matrix is included in Appendix A of the PDF file and may be adapted to suit the circumstances of the particular post.
  • Ask the same questions of each candidate.
  • Make allowance for differences in communication and presentation styles.
  • Make allowance for career breaks for family or medical needs or community responsibility.

Collection of Equity Data

The CRCP expects institutions to encourage individuals to self-identify and to collect equity data to monitor progress toward meeting the university’s established targets for the FDGs.

Sunnybrook Research Institute has developed a self-identification form.

  • The self-identification form must be included as part of all internal selection and external recruitment processes.
  • All candidates must be encouraged to self-identify.
  • Self-identification forms must be collected and safeguarded by a designated officer who is otherwise not part of the recruitment process.
  • Collected data must be kept confidential and cannot be accessed by selection committees.
  • Aggregated data relating to a specific recruitment would be provided to the selection committee chair. Where there are three or fewer responses, the data table would report only “*”. The Chair would also receive a table showing the institution’s progress towards achieving targets for FDGs.
  • Aggregated data will be used for the purpose of institutional planning as part of the CRCP EDIAP, and for reporting to the university and the CRCP.

Committee Recommendation

The Selection Committee’s principal role is to make a recommendation to the vice-president, research on the candidate who should be offered the opportunity to be nominated for a CRC.

The CRCP is committed to excellence and equity in research. Selection committees should be mindful that the best-qualified candidate for a CRC might not have the most years of experience, the highest number of publications or the most academic accomplishments. Non-traditional research outputs, professional services, outreach mentoring, training of highly qualified personnel and other non-traditional contributions should receive proper consideration when evaluating CVs and the candidate’s fit with the CRC criteria. Committees should avoid using a candidate’s apparent social “fit” with others in the institution/department as a selection criterion.

In the context of the institution’s equity targets, strategic selection should be considered when there are two equally qualified candidates and where one is a member of one (or more) of the FDGs.

If the selection process included interviews with candidates, immediately following the final interview the committee shall agree which candidate should be recommended to the vice-president, research.

If the selection process was based on submitted materials only and there was no interview, the committee should meet to discuss the materials and to agree which candidate should be recommended to the vice-president, research.

At the end of the process, the selection committee should provide a written report to the vice-president, research on the selection process. The report must be signed by all committee members and must include:

  • certification by the committee chair that the selection and nomination process was transparent, open and equitable
  • rationale for selection of the chosen candidate
  • explanation if the selected candidate is not a member of one of the FDGs; and, the rationale for not selecting a candidate from a target group should be approved by the equity and diversity officer or equivalent
  • brief description of the process for review of materials and selection for interview (as appropriate)
  • rationale for selection of committee members, including declaration and resolution of any conflicts of interest
  • copy of research metrics table / evaluation matrix utilized for assessing applicants
  • copy of guidance provided to the selection committee.

Acceptance

The committee recommendation report must be signed by the vice president, research to indicate acceptance of the recommendation. The selection committee chair would normally advise the candidates of the outcome of the selection process.

The signed report should then be forwarded to the Strategic Research Programs office - the SRP will initiate the formal CRC nomination process with the candidate.

Nomination

Prior to submitting the nomination of the selected candidate(s), the following documentation must be submitted to the university and will be provided by the strategic research programs office at SRI:

  • nomination acceptance letter signed by the vice-president, research and the nominee
  • Canada Research Chair affiliated hospital nomination form signed by the university department chair, university dean / vice-dean (or equivalent) and hospital vice-president, research
  • CRCP’s Institutional Attestation – Recruitment and Nomination Process form signed by the vice-president, research

Monitoring

Within 48 months following the submission of a nomination, an institution may be asked to provide evidence that its selection process met mandatory requirements. The following documentation may be requested by the CRCP:

  • membership of committees, with indication that it includes representation from at least one of the FDGs
  • description of training provided on equity, diversity and inclusion, including training on unconscious bias
  • description of the role of the equity and diversity officer or equivalent
  • archived copy of advertisement or announcement of the CRC opportunity
  • description of strategy to identify a diverse pool of potential applicants including members of the FDGs and proactive efforts made to encourage applications
  • description of measures used to ensure that individuals who required accommodation or who experienced career interruptions were not disadvantaged in the selection process
  • evaluation criteria and assessment grids
  • internal policies and guidelines
  • description of the method used to collect equity data and a copy of the blank self-identification form.

A checklist for the internal recruitment process is available in Appendix A of the PDF file.

Supporting Materials and Equity Training Resources

CRC unconscious bias training module

Unconscious bias PDF

U of T’s Enhancing Diversity

CRC Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Requirements and Practices

Requirements for Recruiting and Nominating Canada Research Chairs

CRC Best Practices for Recruitment, Hiring and Retention

Hiring Practices for Equity in Employment: Interviewing Guide

Canada Research Chairs at the University of Toronto

Self-identification form


For more information about the CRCP at SRI, contact Kevin Hamilton, director, strategic research programs, SRI: kevin.hamilton@sri.utoronto.ca.


Guidelines updates:

Original Guidelines: January 2018
Updated Guidelines: November 2018