Mitacs is committed to fostering policy leadership among Canada’s researchers and we have worked to identify ways to integrate academic research and evidence-informed policy-making with federal and provincial governments.

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, fellowship is made possible thanks to the Government of Canada and participating government offices; the Government of British Columbia and participating government offices; the University of Ottawa’s Institute for Science, Society and Policy; Professor Sarah Otto, Department of Zoology, University of British Columbia; the University of Victoria; and the Canadian Science Policy Fellowship Advisory Council. Participating hosts for the fellowship include host offices from the Governments of Canada and British Columbia, and Quebec.

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 offices
  • Contribute to evidence-informed decision making in Canada’s public service
  • Create a national network of expertise among academic researchers fostering public policy contributors across academia, government, not-for-profit organizations, and industry

Fellowship activities

The fellowship provides a 12-month immersion into the policy-making process. Working in host offices with government decision makers and stakeholders, fellows contribute their academic 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 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. Mitacs instructor-led courses are mandatory and focus on developing two central themes: increasing awareness of Canadian public policy (federal and/or provincial), and strengthening communication and relationship building skills with diverse stakeholders, including government and academia.

A sample training calendar is provided below.

Topics areas covered at orientation can include:

  • Science Policy
  • Science Communication
  • Government 101
  • Media Training
  • Project Management

Fellow and Host benefits

The fellowship offers fellows the opportunity to learn the mechanisms of policy-making in the public service; apply 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 training opportunities
  • Increase their understanding of the policy-making process, the role of science in policy, and evidence-informed decision making
  • Learn how to communicate science to diverse audiences
  • Better understand how to connect 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, which may include policy design, implementation, and evaluation; stakeholder meetings and consultation management; and preparation of briefing and speaking notes. Hosts contribute to the creation of a network of academic researchers with direct policy experience.

Hosts receive:

  • Access to specialized expertise
  • New connections between government and academia
  • 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
  • Increased visibility for faculty members and universities  
  • New knowledge via faculty members’ experiences
  • Dissemination of research results into policy-making 

Curious about our past CSPF fellows? Review our lookbook for examples of past fellowships.