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University of Guelph Policy Fellowship

Policy Fellowship Program

The University of Guelph Policy Fellowship Program helps to bridge the gap between science and policy or practice. It connects decision-makers from government, industry and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) with University of Guelph experts for focused conversation about issues in agriculture, food and biodiversity.

Fellows are matched with carefully selected faculty and staff who can provide insight on their key challenges. The program allows decision-makers to access cutting-edge research for informed policy decisions, to discuss complex challenges with peers and leading researchers, and to build networks of experts to advise on emerging needs.

Policy Fellowship Alumni
Cohorts to Date
Average Cohort Size

Become a Policy Fellow

Don't miss this opportunity to be at the forefront of policy innovation and drive real-world solutions. Apply now and be the change you want to see in the world. Please download the Policy Fellowship Application Form, fill it out, and email it to Applications are accepted throughout the year. Our organizing team will confirm that your application has been received and notify you about the decision timeline for selection and acceptance.

If you would like to nominate another candidate to become a Policy Fellow, please complete our nomination form to provide us with their name and contact information.

Photo of Crystal MacKay
I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of my time in the University of Guelph Policy Fellowship program. Meeting with faculty to ask for their insights on my policy questions was a valuable and unique opportunity that I would highly encourage others to pursue. It was particularly interesting to meet with faculty from outside my normal circles and share insights and questions with the other Policy Fellows in my cohort.

Crystal MacKay
President, Canadian Centre for Food Integrity | 2019 Policy Fellow

Photo of Danielle Collins
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.

Danielle Collins
Policy Analyst, Ontario Federation of Agriculture | 2019 Policy Fellow

Frequently Asked Questions

Each Fellowship is unique, but typically takes place over 6 weeks and requires a commitment of approximately 15-20 total hours. Programming includes:

  • Week 1: A full day of presentations/lectures from experts on key thematic topics; networking opportunities between decision-makers working in the theme area, and tours of relevant University of Guelph research facilities (offered in-person).
  • Weeks 2-5: Approximately 2 meetings per week (one-on-one or small group) with faculty, who have been hand-picked by the organizing team to address the thematic questions you submit (currently offered virtually only).
  • Week 6: Thematic roundtable discussions with other Fellows; closing meeting and debrief, and other activities as scheduled.

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 identify in your application – giving you an overview of the current state of the science, insight about future innovative research directions, and helping you to connect with experts working on relevant thematic issues.

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 and biodiversity
  • 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

Registration for a fellowship is $499 CAN (including HST). Participants may apply for a Food from Thought bursary to cover the costs of participation; bursaries are limited in number and requests will be prioritized based on financial justification, fit with program goals and potential impact.

We also offer limited sponsorship opportunities for each cohort; contact us to learn more about whether this is right for your organization.

Policy Fellowships are open to anyone who can make or influence decisions about issues related to agriculture, food and biodiversity in Canada. Priority will be given to applicants who are mid- to senior-career professionals working at the interface of science and policy in government, industry or NGOs (local, provincial or national in scope). Traditionally, cohorts have been composed of individuals working in food production, processing, retail, food security or environmental sustainability and biodiversity. 

International Fellows are welcome to apply, but an additional 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.

If you would like to discuss your policy questions, please feel free to connect with the organizing team.

Partner on a Policy Fellowship

This unique opportunity revolves around the identification of a specific theme that holds immense potential for innovation and impact in related policy. By partnering with us, you'll have the chance to support and engage with University of Guelph experts and fellows who are passionate about driving positive change within the thematic focus. Your sponsorship will not only contribute to the success of the program but also position your organization as a forward-thinking leader in the industry, dedicated to fostering talent and making an impact. Join us in empowering decision-makers and be a part of a transformative journey. Your sponsorship will make a difference, and together, we can shape a brighter future.

Connect with us at to discuss your idea for a Thematic Policy Fellowship.