Hacking into science: Making government research more open and accessible to Canadians

Ottawa, ON – The second-ever Mitacs Policy Hackathon brought together 50 participants — including current and former Mitacs Canadian Science Policy Fellows, academic researchers, staff from not-for-profit organizations, and policy professionals from different federal government departments and agencies — to explore innovative solutions to the challenges of open science. This year’s policy hackathon was co-hosted in collaboration with Evidence For Democracy.

Access to publicly funded scientific research, also referred to as “open science,” has become a priority for the federal government and for the broader research community. In recent years, the Government of Canada has expressed its commitment to open science, including making government science more accessible to Canadians and enabling more open communication between government scientists and the public.

Hackathons break down silos and shake up conventional thinking, enabling dynamic on-the-spot innovation powered by the sharing of fresh perspectives. Participants addressed challenges in open science by engaging in critical discussions with one another to develop innovative solutions that they pitched to senior policy leaders attending the event.

Through collaborative problem-solving, the teams addressed four distinct angles of the open science challenge: ensuring integrity in government science, improving access to publicly funded research, effective management of research data, and enhancing the usefulness of open science to the Canadian public. Their solutions will be published online by Mitacs in the coming weeks.

“Policy hackathons are a great opportunity to share unique perspectives on today’s major policy challenges,” says Alejandro Adem, CEO and Scientific Director at Mitacs. “I want to congratulate all our amazing policy hackers who proposed solutions to one of the biggest challenges in science policy today and the policy leaders who volunteered their time to hear concluding presentations, provide feedback on ideas, and share their insights with hackathon participants.”

This year’s policy hackathon was sponsored by FACETS Journal — Canada’s first and only multidisciplinary open access science journal and the official journal of the Royal Society of Canada’s Academy of Science.

The hackathon featured current and former participants in the Mitacs Canadian Science Policy Fellowship program, a Mitacs initiative that promotes strong links between academic research and policymaking by bringing postdoctoral scholars and faculty into government departments and agencies to work on research projects, contribute their expertise, and help build capacity for evidence-based public policy in Canada. 

Mitacs Policy Hackathon / Marathon d'élaboration des politiques

Mitacs Policy Hackathon 2019