Mitacs is committed to fostering policy leadership among Canada’s researchers and has worked to identify ways to integrate academic research and evidence-based policy-making at the federal level.
In collaboration with Canada’s research and policy communities, Mitacs has established the Canadian Science Policy Fellowship. The first initiative of its kind in Canada, the fellowship is offered in partnership with the University of Ottawa’s Institute for Science, Society and Policy, Mitacs’ university partners, and the Government of Canada. Participating hosts for the 2017-18 fellowship include departments and agencies from the Governments of Canada and British Columbia, respectively.
The fellowship aims to:
- Form mutually beneficial relationships between government decision makers and academic researchers in support of policy challenges in Canada
- Enhance science communication, collaboration, and policy capacity in government departments and agencies
- Develop a network of expertise in science policy among academic researchers and complements the existing public service
- Contribute to evidence-based decision making in Canada’s public service
- Create a pool of expert public policy contributors across academia, government, not-for-profit organizations, and industry
The fellowship provides a 12-month immersion into the policy-making process. Working with government decision makers and stakeholders, fellows contribute their research expertise and analytical skills to inform policy actions. Fellows’ participation in policy activities provides them with the direct training and experience to address challenges of national public importance.
During the application process, potential Fellows review host projects and select those that align with their area(s) of experience and expertise. Hosts can then review and rank applicants and determine a suitable candidate. Once all parties have agreed to a match, fellows begin their projects in a single cohort.
During the fellowship, Mitacs and its partners provide professional development, skill-building, and networking events, which will enhance fellows’ policy-related knowledge and capabilities and expand their networks. Events throughout the fellowship may address topics such as:
- Public policy
- Public engagement
- Legal concepts in policy-making
- Media and public relations
- Communicating science to various audiences
The fellowship offers researchers the opportunity to learn the mechanisms of policy-making in the public service; hone their academic expertise and skills; gain professional policy experience; become leading policy voices in Canada’s academic community; and build mutually beneficial relationships with Canada’s public service.
Fellows will also have the opportunity to:
- Diversify their skill sets
- Receive unique and tailored training opportunities, such as professional development and networking opportunities
- Increase their understanding of the policy-making process, the role of science in policy, and evidence-based decision making
- Learn how to communicate science to diverse audiences
- Better understand how to apply/develop their research to address societal challenges
- Explore a career in the public service
Hosts have the opportunity to provide a range of hands-on policy experience to expert researchers, including policy design, implementation, and evaluation; stakeholder meetings and consultation management; Parliamentary committee support; and preparation of briefing and speaking notes. Hosts contribute to the creation of a network of academic researchers with direct policy experience.
- Access to specialized expertise
- New connections between policy-makers and researchers
- Increased policy capacity through a growing body of researchers uniquely trained to address policy challenges
Through the participation of their faculty members and postdoctoral fellows, Canadian universities gain:
- Strengthened relationships between academia and government decision makers
- Increased visibility for faculty members and universities
- New knowledge via faculty members’ experiences
- Dissemination of research results into policy-making
To be eligible, a Fellow applicant must:
- Be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident;
- Hold a PhD or equivalent doctoral-level degree in any academic discipline by the start of the fellowship;
- Be able to participate for the full 12-month fellowship;
- Meet any additional employment criteria required by the Government of Canada, including (but not limited to) security clearance, as dictated by each host department or agency.
Due to the exceptional response to the 2016-17 launch of CSPF, Mitacs has successfully placed 12 fellows in federal departments. As a result, Mitacs is pleased to announce that the program will be expanded in 2017-18 to allow for up to 30 Fellowships.
Fellows receive a stipend or salary that reflects their qualifications and is commensurate with comparable employment within the public service, typically in the range of $70,000–$80,000 per year. Fellows who are faculty members will receive a stipend to cover their housing and living expenses while at the host location. Fellows will negotiate their stipends with their host departments once a successful match has been made.
Individual stipends vary depending on the host department or agency, which is also responsible for providing the fellow with any additional benefits that would normally be afforded to employees.
Participating faculty must secure a one-year leave and may retain either full or partial salary compensation during their fellowships. These arrangements should be negotiated with the respective institutions prior to acceptance of the Fellowship.
The placements for Fellows occurs from September 2017 to August 2018.
If College-level review is required, your College will communicate its earlier internal deadlines.
How to Apply
The fellowship application process occurs in two stages:
- Stage one: a potential host department submits a policy project, appropriate for the advanced expertise of a PhD level researcher, to Mitacs no later than the extended deadline of January 11, 2017, at 5 p.m. PST. Eligible projects are then posted on the Mitacs website
- Stage two: potential fellows (postdocs or Canadian faculty members) review and select the projects and submit their applications no later than March 14, 2017, by 5 p.m. PST.
- Applications must be submitted through the fellow web form and include Part One and Part Two of the fellow’s application, a signed consent form, and two letters of support.
- One letter of support should address comments around the quality of your research work and experience. The other letter should focus more on your suitability for the program (for example, leadership experience and potential, communication skills, capacity to make connections between scientific research and broader economic, social, or political issues).
- If your references wish to submit their letters of support directly, they must email policyfellowship(at)mitacs.ca by the March 14, 2017, application deadline. If you choose this option, ensure your references are aware of the deadline so that your application is complete and eligible for consideration.