Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Considerations for Nomination and Adjudication Committees

Consistent with UBC’s commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI), the Institutional Council on Research Prizes and Awards recommended that the VPRI’s Office of Research Prizes and Awards review existing literature related to EDI and research awards and prizes.

The aim of this review was to support the development of equitable and transparent nomination and adjudication processes for faculty research awards and prizes across UBC. Institutional efforts to embed EDI principles in award nomination processes will continue as part of the Strategic Equity and Anti-Racism (StEAR) Framework.

The resulting set of EDI considerations to inform institutional research award nomination processes can be found here. Based on this report, we have briefly summarized a series of considerations and recommendations below.

  • Constitution of nomination and adjudication committees
    • diversity of committee membership relies on inclusion of members of historically, persistently or systematically marginalized groups
    • consider the level of service required from early career faculty and from equity-deserving groups and be mindful to avoid tokenism
    • committee membership should not be limited to previous awardees, and participation from all ranks should be encouraged
    • an equity officer or designated equity champion should attend deliberations and support the committee in implementing equitable and consistent practices
  • Broadening pool of nominees
    • use inclusive language in award criteria and promotional materials
    • consider including language of anti-racism and decolonization to foreground the importance of equity in nominations,
    • highlight diversity among previous winners
    • encourage transparency around the process of award nominations
  • Accessibility of materials
    • check that communication with committee members and potential nominees meets accessibility guidelines in terms of fonts, contrast etc.
      • accessibility checkers are built into programs including Microsoft Word
  • Encouraging nominations from equity-deserving groups
    • avoid relying on traditional networks which may be noninclusive
    • develop proactive and thoughtful approaches to promoting nominations of faculty from equity-deserving groups
    •  a culture of mentorship can help foster diversity in the nominee pool
  • Limiting bias
    • training such as the Tri-Agency/Canada Research Chairs unconscious bias training module and committee procedures and discussions can help to acknowledge and mitigate bias
    • bias can be manifest through language at all stages in the process, including nomination letters
  • Defining Evaluation Criteria
    • ensure clarity around criteria and weighting prior to initial reviews and rankings
    • create opportunities to hear different viewpoints ahead of a final nominee selection
    • recognize diversity in research and scholarly practices, outputs, metrics and impacts in different disciplines
    • acknowledge biases in existing quantitative metrics
  • Review of Applications
    • allow for independent evaluation and ranking or scoring of nominations, and compile these in advance of adjudication meetings to help to ensure robust discussion at the meeting and to prevent prematurely discounting nominations
    • find ways to ensure all committee members contribute to the discussion
    • pre-determine processes and criteria to make decisions around “tied” nominations
    • do not treat individual committee members as representatives of an equity-seeking group
    • a designated equity champion can listen to the discussion and address potential biases that may arise
    • for cases near the line of demarcation, verify that criteria were applied fairly and adjust scores as necessary
    • while decisions on rankings may change through discussion, criteria should remain consistent with decisions reached either by consensus or vote
    • if two nominations are equally ranked, further discussion of the merits of each candidate including a diversity of impacts and career trajectory is required
  • Conflicts of Interest (COIs) 
    • allow committee members to declare COIs in advance of the adjudication process
    • confirm COIs or the absence of COIs at the start of the adjudication meeting
    • remind committee members that the perception of a COI should also be declared
    • discuss with the committee how COIs will be managed and any arrangements that are appropriate to allow members to step off the committee, or recuse themselves from a particular discussion


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