Montréal, July 4, 2019 – The Institute for data valorization (IVADO) today unveiled its strategy to promote equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) within its ecosystem. Data science is a powerful vehicle for job creation and innovation across all sectors. As a leader in an evolving field, IVADO is committed to ensuring that the ecosystem it drives makes use of all talents, and that the knowledge advancement and opportunities that result from this benefit all members of society equally.
Diversity and data science
IVADO creates synergies between three main areas of expertise that are changing our society: data analytics, operational research and artificial intelligence (AI). Unfortunately, many large groups in our society, particularly women, are currently underrepresented in these areas. The lack of diversity in this ecosystem hampers excellence and sustainable development in data science, and poses major risks to innovation. The reproduction of biases and perpetuation of discrimination based on gender or ethnic or social origin are examples of these risks.
A strategy identifying three main areas of focus
In response to these various issues, IVADO is announcing its reference framework for EDI, the first actions of which were implemented in 2018. IVADO’s approach is based on three interdependent areas of focus:
- Area 1 – talent: increase the participation and influence of groups that are under-represented in data science to enrich the pool of talent and ideas that form the ecosystem.
- Area 2 – institutions: understand and eliminate the structural and institutional obstacles to the inclusion of these groups through studies and scientific careers.
- Area 3 – knowledge: strengthen the quality, benefits and social relevance of research in data science by taking into account diversity and bias issues in the production of knowledge.
Concrete actions to promote EDI
The publication of this framework is an opportunity to review IVADO’s efforts to promote EDI in its ecosystem:
As part of Area 1, IVADO supports activities, projects and programs specifically aimed at attracting, developing and increasing the visibility of talents in data science throughout their career:
- Informing the next generation about scientific studies and careers: 1000 sciences component of the Projet SEUR; Eurêka! Festival; The Salon International de la Femme Noire
- AI training for women STEM graduates: AI for Social Good Summer Lab program
- Internship program to support the next generation of African scientists with the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences
- Allocation of research funds to young researchers from diverse backgrounds: FRQ–IVADO research chairs for diversity and equity in data science
As part of Area 2, IVADO supports institutional and political changes:
- IVADO appointed Professor Vincent Larivière, Canada Research Chair in the Transformations of Scholarly Communication, to conduct a survey of researchers in the IVADO ecosystem to better understand their perceptions and experiences related to EDI.
- IVADO supports researcher Gita Ghiasi, whose work focuses on gender and equality issues in science and technology.
- Support for the creation and structuring of the Québec Interuniversity Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Network, which brings together some 100 members from all the universities in the province.
As part of Area 3, IVADO commits to having its ecosystem of researchers and industrialists take into account equity in data science:
- First IVADO/Mila International Summer School on Bias and Discrimination in AI
- Support for the Montréal Declaration for Responsible AI, which includes the principles of equity, diversity and inclusion in the development of AI, and for the creation of the Observatoire international sur les impacts sociétaux de l’IA et du numérique (international observatory on the societal impacts of AI and digital technology)
“At IVADO, we believe that an inclusive university culture stimulates thought and creativity and helps to attract, motivate and retain diverse talent. For all these reasons, the values of equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) are an integral part of our mission. By creating these guidelines for supporting EDI in our ecosystem, we aim to strengthen our commitment toward inclusive data- science development.”
Gilles Savard, CEO, IVADO
“The concrete initiatives and actions that we are developing are ultimately aimed at ensuring that all talents, in Canada and throughout the world, regardless of gender or background, can participate in the technological and social changes brought about by data science and that development of this field is carried out in a way that contributes to the good of society.”
Jihane Lamouri, Advisor, Equity, Diversity & Inclusion, IVADO
- View the full version of the framework online.
- Watch the video: “Femmes et science des données”(women and data science).
Advisor, Equity, Diversity & Inclusion