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Statement on Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

The McDonald Institute recognizes that the work to improve inclusion and belonging does not have an endpoint, and as such, the dialogue shared here (and the actions that support it) are iterative, and an ongoing work in progress.
The McDonald Institute at Queen’s University is situated in the traditional territory of the Anishinaabe & Haudenosaunee First Nations. The Institute is part of a national network of institutions and research centres, which operate in other traditional Indigenous territories.

 

 

The next 30 years of astroparticle physics will depend on robust and stable communities of hundreds of researchers from many nations. The ability to cultivate and maintain an equitable, diverse and inclusive research environment is necessary to expand scientific excellence in the field and introduce unique perspectives as project durations evolve toward multi-decade timescales.

 

WHERE WE HAVE BEEN:

Historically, the Canadian astroparticle physics community representation is below the STEM average for equitable, diverse and inclusive (EDI) recruiting, retention, promotion and operational processes and has not been representative of national demographics. External and internal systemic barriers, and biases (conscious and/or unconscious) has limited recruitment, participation, retention and promotion of individuals from marginalized gender, race and physical abilities.

 

WHERE WE ARE (WHAT WE ARE DOING):

There is a growing realization that the former agnostic position on EDI is insufficient to address the significant hurdles faced by the astroparticle physics community. The McDonald Institute aims to co-develop, support and improve day-to-day operational standards of EDI practice for researchers that will sustain long-term research excellence and contribute to a shift in culture, primarily by developing and modifying processes (ways of doing things in research). As a coordinating centre for astroparticle physics research across many university campuses acting in cooperation with partner facilities and experts from social sciences, psychology, education and pedagogy, we have:

  • Established EDI requirements on our major funding support programs for researchers.
  • Established caregiver support for our major meetings. This addresses barriers to participation in career-impactful networking opportunities.
  • Provided formalized training through the Professional Development and Learning Series on introductory topics of EDI.
  • Co-developed an equity assessment and planning tool that is useable by individual researchers in academic research groups and labs.
  • Created an Indigenous Protocols document to be shared with the community to engage in different ways of knowing and learning.
  • Regularly seeking advice and guidance from the Queen’s University Human Rights and Equity Office on programming and piloting equity tools for researchers.
 

WHAT THE FUTURE HOLDS:

The scale of future astroparticle physics research in Canada provides an incredible opportunity to model a large-scale frontier-science ecosystem that is welcoming, rewarding and engaging. We want the world to know that researchers who do this work in Canada will want to keep doing this work here for the long haul. This makes it easier for emerging multi-decade projects to attract and retain the necessary talent.
The McDonald Institute recognizes:

  • That in positions of privilege and power, the onus of care resides with that position to cultivate a sense of belonging.
  • There is a need to be accountable to actively self-educate on barriers to belonging, to reduce the burden on BIPOC and other equity seeking individuals to edify settlers and allies.
  • That any work or learning where there is not lived experience must include those who have lived experience; “Nothing about us without us”.
  • That any work or learning where the community asks for engagement with equity seeking people, such as LGTBQ2S+, persons with disabilities, or BIPOC individuals, must be reciprocal; their contribution needs to be compensated in a way that is meaningful to them.
  • The need to take advantage of, but not rely on, professional EDI training that develops awareness and education.
  • The impact that everyday actions can have on anti-oppression and fostering inclusion (i.e. proper pronoun use, promoting positive space, regularly using meaningful land acknowledgements).
  • The need to expand the definition of EDI to include Indigeneity as part of the Canadian inclusivity landscape.
  • That where community members reside in positions of power, space for safely sharing cultures and identities should be created from day one and woven throughout their resulting interactions.

As the McDonald Institute’s EDI efforts continue to grow, this will be the place where related programming content and resources will be shared. If you have any thoughts or feedback you’d like to share with us, please contact: admin@mcdonaldinstitute.ca