Mitacs’ Policy Hackathon develops solutions to Canada’s policy challenges

Ottawa, ON — Today at Mitacs’ Policy Hackathon, policy professionals, academic researchers, and participants of the Canadian Science Policy Fellowship, collaborated to explore ideas and solutions to the challenge of gathering and using scientific evidence in government policy making.

Similar to a technology hackathon, a PoliHack (policy hackathon) is an exercise in collaborative policy development and engagement that is driven by participation from experts across multiple sectors, working with diverse expertise and research to solve policy challenges.

During the one-day event, attendees worked together to address how to ensure evidence-informed decision making remains strong in policymaking and that the evidence employed is credible. In breakout groups, teams addressed the issue through one of three approaches:

  • How to safeguard decision makers’ motivation to use scientific evidence when various claims can infiltrate the public’s information stream
  • How to design knowledge infrastructures that give policy makers rapid access to scientific evidence in a usable format; and
  • How to develop deployable quality assessment and control processes to screen scientific evidence.   

Results of today’s PoliHack focused on practical outcomes that will be presented as potential solutions to address the effective use of evidence. Through Mitacs’ Canadian Science Policy Fellowship, accomplished researchers are learning to support and contribute to science policy in Canadian government.

Alejandro Adem, CEO and Scientific Director, Mitacs

“Today’s Policy Hackathon was an opportunity for policy professionals and postdocs to collaborate on developing innovative solutions to some of Canada’s most pressing policy challenges, and to highlight the importance of supporting evidence-based decision making within government.”

Quick facts:

  • The Canadian Science Policy Fellowship sees PhD holders from all disciplines inform policy development, implementation, and/or evaluation with government host offices.
  • The Canadian Science Policy Fellowship is made possible thanks to Professor Sarah Otto, Department of Zoology, University of British Columbia; participating federal agencies and departments; the University of Ottawa’s Institute for Science, Society and Policy; and Mitacs’ Science Policy Fellowship Advisory Council.
  • Mitacs is a national not-for-profit organization led by Canadian universities that has designed and delivered research and training programs in Canada for more than 17 years.
  • Working with 60 universities, thousands of companies, and federal and provincial governments, Mitacs builds partnerships that support industrial and social innovation in Canada.


  • For information about Mitacs and our programs, see
  • Learn more about the Canadian Science Policy Fellowship here.
  • To learn more about the Canadian Science Policy fellows, read their biographies here.



Mitacs Policy Hackathon / Marathon d'élaboration des politiques