Project RISE: Workshops


Is your organization interested in fostering greater gender inclusion?

Do you have employees working in any of the following roles?

Scientist | Tech Professional | Engineer | Mathematician


Project RISE seeks your support to recruit eligible employees from your organization to take part in innovative research on best practices to foster inclusion for women and men in STEM.


Project RISE is part of a multi-year federally funded research partnership—Engendering Success in STEM (ESS)—between academic experts and industry leaders. We invite you to take part in research designed to assess the efficacy of two workshops aimed at improving workplace experiences and promoting professional success.

PHASE ONE: Workplace Culture Survey

In 2018, over 1000 scientists, tech professionals, engineers, and mathematicians at organizations across North America completed a confidential survey on workplace culture. We are happy to share results with current or prospective partners upon request. If your company is interested in participating in our next Workplace Culture Survey, please connect with the RISE team:

PHASE Two: Workplace dynamics workshop

Our team has developed two evidence-based workshops to launch in 2019.

Inclusion Workshop

Men and women jointly complete exercises to:

• build mutual trust and respect

• reinforce shared organizational values

• learn about implicit gender bias

• design action plans to combat bias

Leadership Workshop

Men and women individually do exercises to: 

• identify leadership competencies

• reinforce personal leadership values

• learn about leadership styles

• design action plans for advancement

Benefits to Organizational Partners:

• Involvement in an integrative, evidence-based intervention to improve workplace culture.
• Reports tailored to your company to identify areas of success and areas for improvement.
• One-on-one consultation with team members on your company’s internal assessment tools.
• Early access to annual infographic and video white papers and best practices toolkits (for sample resources from our group, see:
• Invitation to attend Knowledge Sharing Conferences to learn about other best practices.


To be a leading organization in this scientific initiative aimed at mitigating gender bias and improving work culture, please register online or email our team at


Please click on the frequently asked questions below to learn more about participating in Project RISE.

Who is eligible to participate?

To be eligible to participate, the employee must work full-time as a scientist, tech professional, engineer, or mathematician. If you would like to clarify employee eligibility, feel free to email us at with questions or to set up a phone call with members of our team.

How long is recruitment open?

• Each organization will set an internal deadline for recruitment purposes in consultation with the RISE team. Workshops can start as soon as September 2019.
• Recruitment—except for waitlist participants/replacing employees who are unable to attend—should close 4 weeks prior to the workshops so that we can confirm with your employees in advance which workshop day they are expected to attend.

Is there a difference between the two workshops? How are employees assigned?

• Participants will be randomly assigned to complete one of two workshops on Collaborative Cultures. Assignment to workshop is determined at random (with constraints for eligibility) using a process known as “stratified random assignment.” This method allows the research team to test whether participants in the different workshops have different experiences and outcomes. To conduct a true experiment, we randomly assign people to different workshops to minimize any systematic reason that participants in one workshop would be different from the other workshop. Random assignment is the hallmark of rigorous science when testing interventions.
• Both workshops incorporate evidence-based materials and tools designed to improve employees’ success in the workplace. They differ simply in the route by which they promote a positive workplace culture: One focuses on inclusiveness, the other on leadership competencies. The workshop will be approximately 4 hours for one day at a location of your organization’s choice.

How will the research team determine random assignment to workshop?

• Approximately 4-6 weeks prior to the first workshop, we will ask you to send the recruitment email—containing a link to sign up for the study— to eligible employees. The link is to a brief eligibility survey that (a) confirms employees’ eligibility to participate, (b) confirms their availability for both workshop dates, (c) collects contact information, and (d) collects basic demographic details (i.e., employees’ gender, age, and number of years in the organization). Approximately two weeks prior to the workshops we will provide you a list indicating which employees have been randomly assigned to which workshop. Please let members of our team know if you need this information earlier to make arrangements for your employees’ attendance; in this case we may set an earlier registration deadline.

• Approximately four weeks before the date of the first workshop at your organization.

Why might some participants be placed on a waitlist?

• There are two main reasons participants might be placed on a waitlist:
o If your organization has far more men who register to participate in the workshop than women, some men may be placed on a waitlist in order to ensure the minimum percentage of women (30%) in each workshop. These participants will be taken off the waitlist as additional women register to participate.
o If your organization has already registered the maximum number of participants that can be accommodated in the scheduled workshops, additional employees who wish to register may be placed on a waitlist. In the event that a workshop participant is unable to attend/withdraws, waitlist participants will be contacted with an invitation to participate. We can also work with your organization to schedule an additional pair of workshops to accommodate any waitlist participants.

What kind of space is needed for the workshops?

• An accessible space that can accommodate up to approximately 35 employees and 4 facilitators. Participants should be seated at separate tables so they can at times break into groups of 6. We require a projector and projector screen, and audio capabilities as we will be showing videos.


What time of day will the workshops take place?

• The workshops will take place during the first half of the day, including lunch.

What are the catering needs for the workshop?

• We will start the day with coffee/tea, a coffee/tea break during the workshop, as well as lunch. Please keep in mind any dietary restrictions participants may have; please ensure there is a clear procedure for participants to request dietary accommodations (for allergies, etc.).

How will participants’ accessibility needs be accommodated? (For example: visual impairments, hearing impairments, mobility impairments, allergies).

• Accommodation arrangements for the workshops should be made by your organization. We recommend that you nominate a person within your organization whom participants can contact to arrange accommodations (e.g., appropriate seating proximity to presenter, lack of physical barriers).
• Accommodation needs for the surveys should be reported in the sign-up survey (which is screen reader-compatible) for interested employees and/or communicated to our team at least four weeks prior to the workshops.
o Most of our survey measures are screen reader compatible by default; a few are not because the scientific best practice for these metrics is a format that is not yet screen reader compliant. [Unfortunately, changing the default format of these questions to be compatible with universal design principles would introduce extra error/noise, decreasing their empirical value.] Our team will provide screen reader-compatible versions of each survey for any employees who request them.
• If you need information or additional materials to meet accommodations, please notify our members of our team ( two weeks in advance of workshops.

Will you need someone from a leadership position in the organization to attend?

• Yes, if possible. We would like for the levels of experience amongst participants to vary (inclusion of employees across a range of seniority levels).
• Furthermore, we are also requesting that someone in senior leadership record (or write) a brief message of support for the workshops that we can show at the beginning of each day.

Can members of our HR team attend the workshop?

• If members of your HR team are currently working as professionals in Science, Technology, Engineering, or Math, they can participate in their role as a STEM professional. We ask that HR team members who have been involved with the RISE research planning process please refrain from signing up without prior approval from a member of the RISE research team.

How is the content of the inclusion workshop likely to be different from standard diversity training?

• Project RISE places a strong emphasis on evidence-based practices. Each component of the workshop is either based on established research by our team and/or on best practices for promoting inclusion. Some elements are new and have not been used in this setting before, these elements are based on cutting-edge social and psychological research.

How is the content of the leadership workshop likely to be different from standard leadership development training?

• We have developed this workshop in collaboration with ILead (The Institute for Leadership Education in Engineering at the University of Toronto). ILead has researched leadership, particularly with respect to engineers and engineering identity. This workshop is designed for scientists and engineers and focuses specifically on changing their conceptions of leadership and encourages the adoption of the leadership practices within their daily lives.

What happens if I cannot recruit enough eligible participants to attend the two workshops?

• Please reach out to the Project RISE team. One possibility is that your organization can combine with another organization to meet the participation numbers required. We are happy to help you participate; please let us know if you have suggestions regarding organizations you can pair with.

What happens if I cannot recruit a large enough percentage of women (or men) to attend the workshops?

• Please reach out to Project RISE team. We can discuss possible strategies/solutions including combining with another organization.

Who is facilitating the workshops?

• The workshop will be facilitated by one professional workshop facilitator, one ESS Social Science team member and 1-2 highly qualified personnel (e.g., Post-doctoral scholar, PhD student).

What is expected of employees in the workshop?

• Participants are expected to work as a group on a team-based challenge, talk with other members of their group, engage with Q&A/brainstorming conversations, complete worksheets and respond to survey questions/questionnaires, and agree/adhere to workshop expectations which will be outlined at the beginning of the workshop.

Is there a fee for participants?

• No.

How many participants are in each workshop?

• Approximately 15-30 participants in each workshop with at least 1/3 being women.

Is lunch provided?

• Lunch is to be provided by the partner organization.

Is there a time commitment post-workshop for employees? What about for me as the partner representative?

● Yes, the time commitment for participants is estimated to be 4.5 hours up front, 3.5 in Year 1, and 2 hours in Year 2 (i.e., 10 hours within 2 years) Time commitment for the partner representative involves staff support in recruiting employees for the research, and assistance compiling HR information on relevant workplace policies, etc.

Will the short- or long-term findings of the workshop be shared with participants?

• You will receive reports from the Project RISE team following both the workshop and at the completion of the study. The short-term findings following the workshop are intended as an update for your organization, but we will ask that you discuss with the research team which of the short-term findings can be shared with participants. The reason for this is that learning about certain short-term findings might impact how participants respond to future surveys. The report at the completion of the study, however, can be shared with your employees as you choose. Participants will also have the option to sign up to receive a general report on the Project RISE findings at the completion of the project.

How is confidentiality maintained during and after the workshop?

• We will establish confidentiality expectations with participants at the beginning of each workshop. The content of any discussions occurring during the workshop will be kept strictly confidential. Only the primary investigator, co-investigator, and other qualified members of the research team will have access to the raw data gathered from the workshops; fully anonymized quantitative data may be shared with qualified academic experts as required for publication. For other details regarding the collection, handling, and storage of data, please see our data management plan.

Will participants be given a copy of the PowerPoint slides?

• No, but there will be handouts/materials made available to participants. Copies of these documents will be shared with your organization in advance of the workshop. We can provide your organization editable copies of any documents in case participants have accessibility needs that require converting the documents to accessible formats (e.g., large font, digital copies).

How do I recruit participants?

• Please refer to the document titled: “How to Recruit Participants”. Participation must be voluntary: Research suggests that voluntary training is more effective than mandatory training (Dobbins & Kalev, 2016; Lacerenza et al., 2017). Clear institutional support is valuable for achieving attitude change (Pettigrew & Tropp, 2005), but we highly recommend that participants feel they have free choice about whether to participate.
• One recruitment strategy that was successful for the RISE Workplace Culture Survey was to have a senior person in the organization send eligible employees the initial invitation email (underscoring that the organization values the research), which was then followed up by an email from a more immediate supervisor reinforcing the importance and value of their participation in the research.



To learn more about how your organization can contribute to Project RISE and benefit through partnering with the consortium, please contact us. We look forward to hearing from you!

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