International Policy Ideas Challenge 2020 - Call for proposals

The deadline for submitting a proposal has now passed. We thank you for your interest.

Visit the International Policy Ideas Challenge 2020 winners page to meet the winners and learn about their policy briefs.


Global Affairs Canada, in collaboration with the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), is pleased to announce the fifth edition of the International Policy Ideas Challenge. The objective of the program is to draw on the network of talented Canadian graduate students, post-doctoral fellows, and early-career civil society researchers to identify concrete, innovative solutions to emerging international policy challenges faced by Canada.

The program offers applicants a chance to test their skills at translating academic expertise into policy language and insights. Applicants are invited to submit brief proposals. Ten winners will be given several months to consult with Global Affairs Canada “client” divisions and further develop their proposals into longer policy briefs, which will then be presented to Government of Canada officials in a day-long Ideas Symposium, hosted by Global Affairs Canada in Ottawa in 2020.


The International Policy Ideas Challenge invites applications from graduate students (Master’s or PhD level) and post-doctoral fellows at a recognized Canadian post-secondary educational institution.

Researchers affiliated with a Canadian non-profit organization (e.g., a non-governmental organization or a think tank) who are within six years of graduation from a graduate program at a recognized post-secondary institution will also be considered.

Applicants must be Canadian citizens or permanent residents of Canada.

Indeterminate and term employees of the Government of Canada are not eligible to apply. Additionally, employees of Global Affairs Canada, including students and casuals, are not eligible to apply.

For team applications, only the lead researcher is expected to meet the above requirements. The lead researcher may engage collaborators, including those from other universities, to support the project.


Ten winning proposals will receive $3,000 each (regardless of whether the proposal is submitted by an individual or a team). The award will be provided upon the submission of the final brief and formal presentation at Global Affairs Canada. In addition to the award, a modest travel supplement will be provided for winners from outside the National Capital Region to facilitate the in-person participation of the lead researcher in the Ideas Symposium. Only the lead researcher is eligible for the monetary award and travel supplement.


Each proposal should outline a trend or dynamic affecting Canadian foreign policy that applicants believe needs additional study. Proposals should sketch out preliminary policy recommendations bridging at least two of the three policy areas under Global Affairs Canada’s mandate - foreign policy, trade, and international assistance. Preference will be for ideas that fall under one of the themes indicated below, however, proposals related to other emerging issues and trends affecting Canada’s international policy priorities will also be considered.

NOTE: The final product will take the form of a policy brief, not exceeding 4,500 words, and it must include a one-page executive summary and policy recommendations. The policy brief should be augmented with creative communication tool(s) to convey results (e.g., info-graphic, mapping, short video, or other). Winners will have the opportunity to consult on the development of their projects with relevant Global Affairs Canada divisions. The final briefs will be due in late Fall 2020. Visit the International Policy Ideas Challenge 2019 - Challenge winners page to learn about past winners.

Proposal Requirements

Proposals should demonstrate your ability to present your idea comprehensively and succinctly, including by explaining how you will gather relevant evidence and conduct rigorous analysis that would allow you to develop policy recommendations in the final policy brief, if you are selected as one of the winners of the Challenge.

Proposals should:

To Apply

To apply, please send the following items as PDF file attachments to

Only complete applications will be assessed. Proposals will be evaluated by a Global Affairs Canada-led 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 research and policy brief phases.

As part of the assessment process, shortlisted candidates may be interviewed by members of the selection committee. Only successful applicants will be contacted. The names of the winners will be announced on the Global Affairs Canada website in September, 2020.

If you have other questions about this call after reading the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ), please send them to Please note however that Global Affairs Canada cannot provide personalized advice to applicants on their individual situations or the relevance of their research to the themes of the competition. We are only able to offer general clarification of the information contained in the call for proposals.

Process and Timeline

Call for proposals launchFebruary 2020
Application deadlineMay 15, 2020
Assessment of applicationsMay-June 2020
Selection of the ten winning entriesLate June 2020
Global Affairs Canada and SSHRC announce the winnersSeptember 2020
Policy briefs dueTBD Late Fall 2020
½ day Prep Session for IPIC WinnersTBD 2020
Ideas Symposium to present final research products to Government of Canada Officials at Global Affairs CanadaTBD 2020


Global Affairs Canada is pleased to acknowledge the partnership of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) in this initiative.

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