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We are listening

Research Impacting Indigenous Groups policy review underway


By Jeff Green

Memorial University is seeking input on a revised draft of its institutional Indigenous research policy.

Individuals are encouraged to provide feedback on the Research Impacting Indigenous Groups (RIIG) Policy until the end of the year.

In May 2022 the university approved a two-phased approach to review the policy. The first phase concluded this March.

During phase two, members of the university and wider communities can review the draft policy before it is brought to the President’s Executive Council, Senate and the Board of Regents for approval.

Led by Dr. Paul Banahene Adjei, associate vice-president (Indigenous research), targeted and direct consultations were completed with external and internal stakeholders.

The words "We are listening Indigenous Research Policy Review" are in white capital letters over a background of multicoloured facets.

Substantial revisions were made to the policy, in consultation with a working group and an Indigenous advisory group, to address learned lessons from the initial implementation of the policy and feedback from phase one consultations.

In accordance with Memorial’s policy framework, the revised draft is available for comment. The document is available here.

Major revisions include the below.

  • Ensuring the policy aligns with the Tri-Council Policy Statement: Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans (TCPS2, 2022);
  • Clarifying the policy’s principles, scope and definition of Indigenous research. This includes changing the title of the policy to Research Involving Indigenous Groups (replacing the original Research Impacting Indigenous Groups);
  • Move procedural steps to procedures rather than house them in the policy itself;
  • Replacing the term “agreement in principle” (AiP) with “evidence of community engagement” (ECE) to reflect the spirit and the intent of the RIIG policy as well as to shift focus from transactional relations to that which encourages continuous engagements with Indigenous groups;
  • Re-emphasizing the importance of research engagement with Indigenous communities to start at the concept development phase of a research project, as well as ongoing engagements throughout the research cycle and beyond;
  • Removing reference to asserted land claims in the definition of “Indigenous land to be consistent with TCPS2 policy;
  • Clarify exemptions, including exempting those applying for scholarships and fellowships from needing to seek AiP/ECE at the outset of their proposal;
  • Update the title and role of the Committee on Engaging Research Involving Indigenous Groups; and
  • Removing complexities and barriers highlighted by feedback.

External and internal stakeholders are invited to review the draft policy and forward comments via email to the Policy Office by Dec. 31.

The current policy remains in place until a revised one is approved.

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