Policy Fellowship FAQ

 “Tapping into the first-class expertise and talent at the University of Guelph has elevated my knowledge of this dynamic industry…dedicating an enriching three days to discuss high-level research and policy implications has formed lasting connections and opened new doors that I could not have anticipated before beginning the program.”

Frequently Asked Questions

The Policy Fellowship program matches decision-makers and faculty with complementary interests for dialogue and knowledge exchange.

When they apply, Fellows identify the questions they would like to explore. Once accepted to the program, the organizing team matches Fellows with faculty and experts from the University of Guelph with relevant expertise and creates an itinerary of meetings. Fellows will meet with 10 to12 faculty over the course of their Fellowship in one-on-one meetings or small group meetings with other Fellows.

Three Cohorts Per Year:

  • October-November: Virtual programming, with 2 hrs of meetings per week for 8 weeks
  • February-March: Virtual programming, with 2 hrs of meetings per week for 8 weeks
  • May or June: In-person programming: 3 days of meetings, tours and events at the University of Guelph

To become a Fellow, please download an application and email it to policyfellows@uoguelph.ca. You can also nominate others who may be interested in the program.

Learn more about the Fellowship by reading the FAQ below!

The virtual program is a great option for decision-makers and policy influencers who can more easily schedule meetings that do not require travel or time away from their office. It offers the same number of meetings as the in-person programming, but is spread out over a longer period of time, and with a minimal weekly time commitment.

The virtual Fellowship typically takes place over 8 weeks; all meetings take place on Wednesday afternoons between 1:30-4:30 ET. The first week includes a meeting of the entire cohort of Fellows, the organizing team, and other leaders from the University to provide general information about agri-food programs at the University.

Each Fellow can expect an average of two meetings during each subsequent week with their faculty matches until the final week which concludes with a closing meeting that includes the full cohort.

The in-person program is a great option for decision-makers and policy influencers who prefer face-to-face meetings with faculty, staff and other Fellows and who are able to travel to the University of Guelph. Fellows who will benefit from touring facilities, labs or research facilities should strongly consider the in-person Fellowship option.

The in-person Fellowship typically takes place over 3 business days. The first day starts with a group meeting that includes the entire cohort of Fellows, the organizing team, and University leaders to exchange information and to provide general information about agri-food programs at the University.

From there, it’s on to meetings with researchers, as well as tours of any relevant labs or facilities on campus. Day one includes evening programming that provides an opportunity to meet some of University of Guelph’s brightest agri-food minds at a dinner hosted at a local eatery. On the second night Fellows have an opportunity to relax and digest the new ideas we know you’ll have generated during your first two days of the Fellowship.

Regardless of whether a Fellow participates in a virtual or in-person cohort, this customized program offers an exceptional opportunity for Fellows to meet with world-class researchers, research institutes and University staff working in relevant disciplines. You will be matched with researchers who can speak to the key challenges you’ve identified – giving you an overview of the current state of the science, insight about future innovative research directions, and helping you to connect with experts in relevant fields.

Other benefits include:

  • Build long-term networks of experts to advise about issues that may emerge in the future 
  • Share information about your key priorities with academic experts, potentially stimulating targeted new research
  • Network with peers from government, industry and civil society who have an interest in agri-food
  • Access to the University of Guelph research library for one year after your Fellowship
  • A better understanding of the University of Guelph ecosystem and focus areas
  • Ongoing networking opportunities with other Fellows
  • Updates about agri-food research, events and activities from the University of Guelph

Currently, the Food from Thought program covers the cost of all on-campus programming for Fellows in Canada. Fellows can cover their own travel costs to join the Fellowship or may apply for a Food from Thought bursary that will fully cover these costs.

Policy Fellowships are open to anyone who can make or influence decisions about issues related to agriculture, food and biodiversity in Canada. Ideal candidates are typically mid- to senior-career professionals who work at the interface of science and policy in government, industry or NGOs (local, provincial or national in scope) working in food production, processing, retail, food security or environmental sustainability and biodiversity. International Fellows are welcome to apply, but a fee for participation will apply. Please contact us to learn more.

Because the Fellow’s questions influence the meetings and tours created for the program, it is very important that they are as detailed and focused as possible.  When creating your questions:

  • reflect on the key challenges your team or organization faces or anticipates facing in the future.
  • choose questions that can be informed by science or research insights.
  • consider providing a few sentences of background or context, to help us match you with the most appropriate researchers.
  • share questions that are specific enough to give our team the information necessary to match Fellows with relevant expertise.

For more information, please contact us to discuss your potential questions or browse some of the questions asked by past Fellows.