New fellows champion evidence-based government strategies

Ottawa, ON and Victoria, BC 

This Fall 2019, 17 researchers begin year-long placements in the federal government and two provincial governments, harnessing their research expertise for the development of policy-based decisions on key issues across Canada.

With robust expertise ranging from environmental protection to mental health, the 2019-2020 cohort of the Mitacs Canadian Science Policy Fellowship will be instrumental in the continued implementation of innovative policies and evidence-based government decision making.

The fellows will continue to build relationships between policy makers and academic researchers, contributing their research backgrounds and scientific expertise to government policy-making. Administered by Mitacs, a not-for-profit organization that fosters innovation and growth in Canada, the program allows fellows to gain hands-on training in public policy and contribute to a national network of science policy expertise across academia, government, not-for-profit organizations, and industry.


The recipients of the 2019-20 Canadian Science Policy Fellowship are:

 Federal Fellows

  • Margaret Bancerz, Ryerson University
    • Host: Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
  • Tamazight Cherifi, Université de Montréal
    • Host: Canadian Food Inspection Agency
  • Jacqueline Ha, McGill University
    • Host: Infrastructure Canada
  • Sarah I.K.M. King, McGill University
    • Host: Office of the Chief Science Advisor
  • James McCoy, University of British Columbia
    • Host: Canadian Institutes of Health Research
  • François Pelletier, Université de Montréal
    • Host: Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada
  • Olga Pena, University of British Columbia
    • Host: Canadian Food Inspection Agency, Office of the Chief Science Operating Officer
  • Arthi Ramachandran, Concordia University
    • Host: Natural Resources Canada
  • Nicholas Zacchia, University of British Columbia
    • Host: Defense Research and Development Canada
  • Razak Abu, University of Saskatchewan
    • Host: Canada Energy Regulator in Calgary, Alberta


Provincial Fellows British Columbia (Victoria) and Manitoba (Winnipeg)

  • Sarah Drohan, Princeton University
    • Host: BC Ministry of Health
  • Joana Katter, York University
    • Host: BC Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions
  • Christine Kormos, University of Victoria
    • Host: BC Ministry of Agriculture
  • Natalya Melnychuk, University of Waterloo
    • Host: BC Ministry of Agriculture
  • Ashley Pullman, University of British Columbia
    • Host: BC Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions
  • Luisa Ramirez, Wilfrid Laurier University
    • Host: BC Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development (FLNRORD)
  • Anna Slavina, University of Toronto
    • Host: Department of Central Services, Government of Manitoba



 Jennifer Wilkie, Interim Chief Executive Officer, Chief Financial and Human Resources Officer

 “At Mitacs, we are proud to help some of Canada’s brightest minds bridge the worlds of academia, government, and business. Our ultimate goal is to innovate in ways that benefit every Canadian and this cohort of researchers will be instrumental in that vision. Working in partnership with the host governments, they will provide invaluable, innovative solutions to some of society’s most critical challenges.”


Dr. Primal Silva, Chief Science Operating Officer, Science Branch, Canadian Food Inspection Agency

“From the 2019 cohort, the Government of Canada gains not only the experience that comes from experimental rigor, but also liaisons between important Canadian institutions. The Mitacs Science Policy Fellowship is an important asset for the country and will help us make tangible traction in areas that concern Canadians, including animal and zoonotic diseases that can have serious implications.”


Quick facts:

  • The Canadian Science Policy Fellowship places PhD holders in government host offices for a 12-month immersion into the policy-making process. Fellows apply their academic training, critical thinking, and analytical skills to support evidence-informed decision-making that addresses policy challenges within participating federal and provincial host offices. Hosts gain valuable science-based knowledge and build the professional skills of participating fellows.
  • 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 20 years.
  • Working with more than 70 universities, thousands of companies, and federal and provincial governments, Mitacs builds partnerships that support industrial and social innovation in Canada.