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International Policy Ideas Challenge 2022 – Frequently Asked Questions


Q1. Can a freelance researcher submit an application?

Researchers with no particular institutional affiliation can apply. However, the competition is academic in nature and not a search for a contractor or a consultant.


Q1. Can I submit more than 1 application in the same year if I have more than 1 topic idea?

Yes, you can. However, you can only potentially win 1 award per year.

Proposal requirements

Q1. I am interested in proposing a policy brief unrelated to the themes listed in the call for proposals for the International Policy Ideas Challenge (IPIC). Would you consider a proposal based on a different theme?

No. To be considered for an IPIC award, the policy proposal must be relevant to Global Affairs Canada’s work and to at least 1 of the themes provided in the call for proposals.

Q2. Research: Will you consider a proposal that involves conducting primary research? Are there any limitations on the methodologies that can be used? Is there an expectation that projects should involve more than a literature or document review or a synthesis?

Primary research, whereby the researcher collects their own data for analysis, is not a requirement. If you wish to propose conducting primary research, carefully consider the feasibility of doing so, particularly given the relatively short timelines noted in the call for proposals, the accessibility of appropriate research subjects and your institution’s requirements for research ethics.

Given the time constraints, most IPIC policy briefs are supported by secondary research using reputable and properly cited sources.

Q3. What should I bear in mind as I prepare my proposal (of no more than 750 words)?

Proposal evaluators need enough information to understand why the issue should matter to policy makers and how you propose to analyze it. You would also need to demonstrate your ability to gather relevant evidence and conduct an unbiased analysis that would allow you to develop solutions in the subsequent policy brief if you are selected as 1 of the winners of the challenge.

Q4. How will the proposals be evaluated?

The proposals will be evaluated by a selection committee led by Global Affairs Canada and evaluations will be based on the quality, relevance, feasibility and originality of the idea, as well as the qualifications of the individual (or individuals) and their ability to translate the idea into an informative and useful written policy brief and presentation.

Q5. Originality: Can the proposal be related to my current thesis topic or research program? Does the proposal need to build on the candidate’s current or prior work in novel ways?

Yes, the proposal can be relevant to, or build on, your thesis topic or research program. If so, it must be adapted appropriately to ensure relevance to Global Affairs Canada’s work.

Q6. Is a specific format preferred for the 750-word proposal (for example, an abstract, executive summary or a short policy brief)?

There is no strict outline for the proposal. Elements that point to the feasibility and possible implementation of your proposal will be valuable. It is up to the researcher to use their own judgment and be mindful of the word count.

Q7. Is it possible to consult policy briefs from last year’s IPIC?

Summaries of previous winners’ submissions can be found on the International Policy Ideas Challenge 2020 – Challenge winners page.


Q1. What will be covered during coaching sessions?

As noted in the call for proposals, coaching will include 2 group sessions and 2 one-on-one sessions with relevant subject-matter experts. You will learn more about Global Affairs Canada, conducting policy-relevant research, how to sharpen your written policy brief and your presentation and more.

Q2. When will coaching take place?

Coaching will take place over summer and fall 2022; dates have yet to be determined. The Balsillie School of International Affairs, which will lead the coaching, will attempt to schedule sessions at times that work for the majority of winners.

Q3. Is the coaching component of the IPIC program optional?

No. The coaching component is considered a highly valuable element of the IPIC program, which will help winners prepare high quality policy briefs and presentations and contribute positively to the winners’ professional development. All winners are expected to fully participate in the coaching sessions.

Other questions

Q1. Budget: Can the $3,000 go toward research expenses? What about expenses related to publishing or preparing the brief in audio or visual formats?

The $3,000 award is for being 1 of the 6 winners of the IPIC. The awards will be distributed in 2 tranches: the first tranche will occur after the final policy brief has been submitted; and the second will follow your presentation (the dates are to be determined). The winners may choose to use the monetary award for the development of their final research; however, they are not required to do so.

Q2. Can I use technical professionals from our university to produce videos or other non-written products?

Yes, you can.

Q3. Can I publish my IPIC proposal or policy paper after the current IPIC cycle has ended?

Yes. Applicants will not be restricted in publishing their own work after the challenge, but they must acknowledge the support of the IPIC program, which is funded by the Government of Canada (the exact wording of the acknowledgment statement will be provided to you). While the copyright will remain with the authors, Global Affairs Canada will retain a non-exclusive licence for the use and distribution of work supported by the awards.

Q4. Are winners required to submit additional reports beyond the final brief?

No. Winners are required to submit their final brief and present it to Government of Canada officials in the late fall at the Ideas Symposium (the date is to be determined).

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