Realizing identity-safe environments

How can we educate adults about implicit bias in a way that fosters mutual respect and creates a more inclusive culture in the workplace? Project RISE will harness our understanding of implicit bias, intergroup contact, and social identity threat to create a more “identity safe” workplace culture.


Early Career

Key Obstacle

Culture of Exclusion


Create identity-safe interactions to foster a sense of inclusion

The Problem

Women leave engineering at a much higher rate than men, and many who do cite an unwelcoming workplace culture as a factor in their decision. Interventions designed to create identity-safe contexts have been shown to narrow the gender gap in academic performance. Some forms of diversity training have also been shown to reduce bias. No research has tried to pair these two approaches together to change aspects of organizational culture in ways that foster more supportive working relationships between men and women.

Our Approach / Goals

Project RISE aims to create positive cultural change for women and men in science and engineering by: (1) educating participants about implicit bias, (2) fostering supportive and respectful interactions between men and women in the organization, and (3) providing them with a clear understanding for how to combat bias. Applying techniques to increase openness and understanding of the consequences of bias, our aims in Project RISE are to highlight women’s often untapped potential, equip women with strategies for coping with social identity threat, and empower men to become effective allies for equality.

Photo Credit: UBC Public Affairs

Team Leaders

Hilary Bergsieker PhD

Assistant Professor of Social Psychology, University of WaterlooRead Bio

Toni Schmader PhD

ESS Director and Canada Research Chair in Social Psychology, University of British ColumbiaRead Bio

The Team

The Project RISE team combines expertise in the science of implicit gender bias, bias reduction, intergroup contact, diversity, and STEM outreach.

Carla Fehr PhD

Wolfe Chair in Scientific and Technological Literacy, Expert in Philosophy and Feminist Science Studies, University of WaterlooRead Bio

Sonia Kang PhD

Assistant Professor of Organizational Behaviour and Human Resources Management, University of Toronto Mississauga and the Rotman School of Management, University of TorontoRead Bio

Elizabeth Page-Gould PhD

Canada Research Chair in Social Psychophysiology, University of TorontoRead Bio

Elizabeth Croft PhD

Dean of Engineering, Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and Electrical and Computer Systems Engineering, Monash UniversityRead Bio

Lesley Shannon PhD

NSERC Chair for Women in Science and Engineering (BC/Yukon); Associate Professor, School of Engineering Sciences, Simon Fraser UniversityRead Bio

Project Partners

Project RISE proudly partners with the University of British Columbia, University of Waterloo, University of Toronto, Simon Fraser University, Canadian Centre for Women in Science, Engineering, Trades and Technology (WinSETT), CloudArmy, General Motors Canada, Institute for Gender and the Economy (GATE), McElhanney, Mozilla, the National Research Council (NRC), Magnitude Simba Technologies, Teck Resources, Canada’s particle accelerator centre (TRIUMF), Engineers and Geoscientists of British Columbia, Engineers Canada, the Engineering Change Lab, Mining Industry Human Resources Council (MiHR), the National Network of NSERC Chairs for Women in Science and Engineering, and the Society for Canadian Women in Science and Technology (SCWIST). 

becomE a partner

To learn more about how your organization can contribute to the ESS research and benefit through participation in the project, please contact us.  We look forward to hearing from you!

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Early Career

Realizing Identity Safe Environments

Project RISE

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