Self-identification form FAQ

Below are the answers to frequently asked questions about MSFHR's self-identification form. 

Why am I being asked to complete the self-identification form? 

The data we collect through this form will help us better understand the demographics of who is applying to our funding programs, reviewing applications for us and receiving MSFHR funding. This information will help us better identify barriers and challenges to funding that may exist as a result of inequities, bias and discrimination, as well as opportunities for advancement.  

Who is required to complete the form? 

For the 2021 competition cycle, MSFHR will collect data from applicants, co-applicants, research users, trainee supervisors, and peer reviewers. For our team-based awards, such as Reach and C2, all team members with an ApplyNet account, including researchers and research users, will be required to complete the form. 

Why were these questions (or this terminology) chosen? Can you clarify what is being asked?

Our form was adapted from a similar form implemented by CIHR in May 2018 and subsequently by all tri-council agencies and the Canada Research Chairs program. Federal funders updated their self-identification form in 2020, so we made corresponding revisions to ours in order to ensure comparability with national data. Our self-identification form covers the following dimensions: gender identity, LGBTQA+ identity, age, Indigenous identity, racialized/visible minority identity, population group, and disability. 

Where possible, we have aimed for consistency with the federal questions set to enable us to compare our data with national data. MSFHR has adapted some questions through a process of consulting with our CIHR colleagues, literature, and experts in equity, diversity, and inclusion.

I am not comfortable responding to these questions. What should I do?

If you do not want to share your information, you have the option to choose "I prefer not to answer" for each question. However, each question does require an answer. 

Who will see my information? Will peer reviewers be able to access this information?

Responses will be securely stored and access to the raw data will be restricted to MSFHR’s data analytics department. The data collected will only be used in aggregate in order to protect the identity of individuals. Chairs, scientific officers, and peer reviewers will not have access to your information. 

How will my information be used?

Your responses to the form will not affect eligibility for funding from MSFHR. We are collecting this information to learn more about equity and diversity as it relates to who is applying for and receiving MSFHR funding and reviewing applications for our funding programs. This data is important for informing evidence-based policy solutions designed to increase equity, diversity and inclusion among all those involved in the research enterprise. Data will only ever be shared in aggregate format. 

How will my information be stored?

Information will be collected through MSFHR's ApplyNet, a grants management application system developed and hosted for MSFHR by SmartSimple, a leading grants management service provider. Your data will be stored in Amazon Web Services (AWS) Canada Central data centre. Smart Simple makes their Security, Privacy and Architecture policies publicly available at

Although your responses will be linked to your ApplyNet profile, which is done to ensure that your data is saved for future competitions, the data itself is stored separately from application information.   

Can I make changes to my form after it has been completed and submitted?

Yes, you can change your answers at any time by logging into your account on ApplyNet. 

When do I have to complete the equity and diversity survey?

Applicants and reviewers have to complete self-identification form when they initially complete their profile on ApplyNet. 

Will my responses be tied to funding decisions in any way?

No, the self-identification form is not tied to funding decisions.