West White Rose Employment Diversity Research Fund

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This Fund is now closed


Natural resource developments are drivers of economic activity and employment in communities and in Newfoundland and Labrador as a whole. Projects, both small and large in scale, require skilled and knowledgeable workers from a broad range of occupations. However, experience in the resource development sector has demonstrated that segments of the population continue to be under-represented in these developments, and proponents of natural resource projects are challenged to develop programs and initiatives to improve the participation of traditionally under-represented groups. Recruitment efforts targeted at under-represented groups have achieved modest results, and research is needed to better understand how to improve participation and how to grow the pool of diverse candidates for employment.
To better understand this issue and help build capacity to address it, Memorial University’s Harris Centre will fund research projects related to growing the pool of available qualified workers from under-represented groups in the natural resources sector in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Funding for this program has been provided by the West White Rose Project co-venture partners, specifically Husky Energy (Operator), Suncor and Nalcor.


1. To conduct applied research relating to growing the pool of diverse candidates for employment in medium-sized and large resource-based enterprises. Eligible sectors may include upstream petroleum, mining and metallurgy, renewable energy, forestry, agriculture, aquaculture and the capture fishery.
2. To build research capacity and knowledge in the community sector specifically in the area of employment for under-represented groups. Consistent with the Atlantic Accord, the under-represented groups are women, members of aboriginal groups, persons with disabilities and visible minorities. Priority will be given to projects that have implications and benefit to a broad group or multiple groups.
3. To encourage community groups to work collaboratively with each other and with representatives of the academic community to identify evidence-based solutions to diversity challenges.

  • Eligible applicants are faculty members who hold a research account with the Research Grants and Contracts Services office, or students, faculty or staff who are supervised by or act as a co-applicant with a faculty member in possession of a research account.
  • To be eligible, a research project must have a community organization based in Newfoundland and Labrador as an equal partner. An equitable partnership requires sharing power, resources, credit, results, and knowledge, as well as having a reciprocal appreciation of each partner's knowledge and skills at each stage of the project, including problem definition/issue selection, research design, conducting research, interpreting the results, and determining how the results should be used for action.
  • Individual grants will not exceed $20,000. Researchers will have one year from awarding of funding to submit their final report.
  • Researchers in receipt of a grant under this program are not eligible to re-apply to the program until their original research is complete and a draft final report submitted. Applicants may be eligible for funding in a subsequent year, at the discretion of the Program Committee, however, no applicant will receive successive funding for more than three (3) years.

Selection Process

Researchers must partner with a community partner and submit an Expression of Interest letter. Expressions of Interest will be reviewed by the Program Committee and successful partnerships will be contacted to submit a more detailed application. This application will be reviewed according to the weighted evaluation criteria. The program committee is usually comprised of representatives from community, industry and academia, and chaired by staff from the Harris Centre.

Evaluation Criteria


For more information, or for help connecting with a potential co-applicant, please contact: 

Cathy Newhook, Manager, Engagement and Communications


The Harris Centre

230 Elizabeth Ave, St. John's, NL, CANADA, A1B 3X9

Postal Address: P.O. Box 4200, St. John's, NL, CANADA, A1C 5S7

Tel: (709) 864-8000