Stronger science can come from greater diversity in the lab, field and classroom

News release

Government of Canada shows support for equity and diversity in B.C. research community

August 21, 2018 – Victoria, British Columbia

When the research community is as diverse as the communities we live in, we all benefit from better science that is informed by more diverse ideas and perspectives.

That was the message the Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science and Sport, shared today while meeting a diverse group of researchers at the University of Victoria to discuss their views on how to adapt the Athena SWAN (Scientific Women’s Academic Network) initiative for a “made-in-Canada” approach that will support greater equity, diversity and inclusion in research. This meeting was one of a series of similar discussions Minister Duncan has hosted at university campuses across the country this summer.

In addition, Minister Duncan toured the Willerth Laboratory, which focuses on 3D printing and engineering neural tissue from stem cells. There, she met Dr. Stephanie Willerth, Canada Research Chair in Biomedical Engineering, and Dr. Leigh Anne Swayne, whose lab received funding from the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) in April 2018 for new research tools and equipment that will allow her to advance her research.

The CFI was one of several federal organizations that received record-setting levels of funding through Budget 2018. The Budget proposed a historic investment of nearly $4 billion over five years, which will help support Canada’s research community by providing them with the tools, opportunities, skills and training they need to create new knowledge, strengthen the economy and grow the middle class. 


“Broad perspectives advance great science. Our government is working hard to advance equity and diversity in British Columbia and throughout Canada because we understand that our future will be brighter when all people, including women, are empowered to fulfill their greatest ambitions.”

– The Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science and Sport

Quick facts

  • Budget 2018 announced that the Government of Canada would introduce the Athena SWAN Charter in Canada to help further its goals of addressing gender equality in our laboratories and classrooms. The SWAN Charter was established in 2005 to encourage and recognize commitment to advancing the careers of women in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine.

  • The Willerth Laboratory is an interdisciplinary research group that develops novel tools for addressing significant biological problems in tissue engineering and regenerative medicine.

  • It has been estimated that a one-time investment of $1 in basic science research will return 20 cents per year for the next 40 years. The money comes back to Canadians in the form of higher wages, new jobs and sales.

Associated links


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Ann Marie Paquet
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Science and Sport

Media Relations
Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada

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