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Culture Nov 26, 2021 12:10 AM EST

Canadian scientist denied grants on grounds of 'lack of diversity' because he hires on merit

"I don't care about the colour of your skin. I'm interested in hiring someone who wants to work on the project and is good at it."

Canadian scientist denied grants on grounds of 'lack of diversity' because he hires on merit
Angelo Isidorou Vancouver, British Columbia

An award-winning Canadian scientist has been denied two federal government grants on the grounds of "lack of diversity." According to the National Post, Patanjali Kambhampati was denied these grants despite being from India and suffering racism.

A professor in the chemistry department at McGill University, Kambhampati believes his application was destined to fail when he noted he would hire individuals based on merit instead of skin colour.

"We will hire the most qualified people based upon their skills and mutual interests," Kambhampati wrote on the application.

"I've had two people say that was the kiss of death," said Kambhampati. "I thought I was trying to be nice saying that if you were interested and able I'd hire you and that's all that mattered. I don't care about the colour of your skin. I'm interested in hiring someone who wants to work on the project and is good at it."

Kambhampati notes he did not go public after the first grant was rejected, but the increasing prevalence of woke culture in science forced him to speak up. "I believe this is an important stand to make. I will not be silenced anymore," he said.

Kambhampati's field is significant to Canada. He explores fast laser science, a field that is critical for countless aspects of our society. Nonetheless, his application for $450,000 from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) was rejected because "the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion considerations in the application were deemed insufficient."

His application to the National Frontiers in Research Fund was also turned down due to similar reasons.

Kambhampati remains steadfast in his belief that hiring people based on their merit is a moral position.

"I think what's happened is the woke and the social justice warriors have made a moralistic argument the way the religious right used to make moralistic arguments. And now people are afraid to challenge them. But I think it's okay to say I believe that equality is a morally valid position. I believe that meritocracy is a morally valid position."

A request for comment from NSERC was not answered on Tuesday.

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