International Policy Ideas Challenge 2016

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Tapping into Canada’s Graduate Student Talent for Innovative International Policy Ideas


Global Affairs Canada is pleased to announce the inaugural International Policy Ideas Challenge, designed to identify concrete innovative solutions to emerging international policy challenges by drawing on the network of talented graduate students and post-doctoral fellows in Canada.


The top 10 entries will be invited to pitch their proposal virtually to a jury. Three winning entries will receive $1,000 each, plus an additional $2,000 to finalize and present their idea to policy officials in Ottawa.


Ideas should be linked to the following research priorities, but proposals related to other emerging issues and trends affecting Canadian international policy will be considered:

  • strengthening Canada’s relations with North American partners, particularly the United States;
  • adopting a North American approach to climate change and clean energy;
  • reenergizing Canadian diplomacy and leadership in managing complex international crises;
  • partnering with non-state actors in addressing global governance challenges; and
  • making better use of data and technology in the development of international policy.

Proposal requirements

Proposals related to one of the research priorities identified above should:

  • not exceed 750 words;
  • briefly explain why the topic was chosen; and
  • sketch out the idea and preliminary policy implications.

Proposals related to issues other than the research priorities must also explain why the issues should matter to policy-makers.

All proposals must include a brief methodology, drawing out original perspectives and innovative solutions.

Proposals that adopt a multi-disciplinary approach, offer innovative solutions and foster inter-university collaboration will be given priority. Proposals may be submitted by teams of multiple scholars.

To apply

To apply, send the following items as a pdf file attachment to:

  • proposal (not to exceed 750 words) signed by the applicant(s);
  • curriculum vitae;
  • proof of enrollment or affiliation with a recognized academic institution; and
  • sample paper or publication (please limit to 10 pages or send a link to website).

Proposals will be evaluated by a Global Affairs Canada selection committee on a combination of quality, relevance, feasibility and originality of the idea, as well as the capability and qualifications of the individual(s) to carry the idea to a research phase.


  • 10 short-listed candidates will be invited to present their proposals virtually to a Global Affairs Canada jury in April 2016.
  • Three winning candidates will then be awarded a contract in the amount of $3,000 to finalize and present their idea (with $1,000 awarded immediately and $2,000 after delivery).
  • The final product should take the form of a research brief, not exceeding 4,500 words, and include a one-page executive summary and policy recommendations. It is highly encouraged that research briefs be augmented with additional innovative tool(s) to convey results (i.e. infographics, mapping, short video, or other).
  • The brief will be due on June 17, 2016, at which time the candidate(s) will be asked to present results to a wider audience of Government of Canada officials.


Global Affairs Canada thanks the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) for its support in this initiative.


Call for proposalsJanuary 2016
Deadline for applicationMarch 31, 2016
Selection of top 10 entriesApril 15, 2016
Virtual presentations by top 10 entriesLate April 2016
Selection of the three winning entriesLate April/early May 2016
Briefs dueJune 17, 2016
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