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National Policy Challenge

Are you a graduate student with an interest in quantitative analysis? Are you passionate about Canadian public policy? Do you love data? If so, this competition is for you! This is an opportunity for you to investigate a policy issue of your own choosing using confidential microdata to inform real-world Canadian policy-making and propose innovative policy solutions

Apply by November 7th, 2022

Submit your application

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Compete in the National Policy Challenge

The National Policy Challenge is held every year. The following are key timelines for the upcoming competition:

  • To deal with a real-world policy issue affecting Canadian society.
  • To access Statistics Canada confidential microdata.
  • To improve your analytical and communication skills.
  • To get access to unique SAS training.
  • To get insights from highly qualified research mentors.
  • To meet senior officials and leaders from Statistics Canada, the CRDCN, and SAS Canada.
  • To present your research findings and policy ideas to a jury of high-profile researchers and government officials at a national meeting.
  • To win cash prizes awarded to the best three presentations.
  • All participants must be living in Canada and be registered as a part-time or full-time graduate student at an accredited Canadian post-secondary institution. Individuals and teams of up to three can apply.
  • All participants must have some background in quantitative analysis and statistics.
  • If you are selected as a finalist, your data analysis for the final presentation must be/have been conducted in one of the RDCs across the country. Find your nearest RDC.
  • Participants must abide by RDC regulations, including security clearance and the requirement to become a deemed employee of Statistics Canada, in order to be granted access to an RDC (click here for details). Note that this process can take up to 8 weeks; applicants are encouraged to begin this process before the finalists are announced.
  • Finalists participate in a virtual finals event in June 2023, presenting their research results and answering questions from the judges and the audience.
  • Finalists provide a brief interview to the CRDCN to describe their experience in the National Policy Challenge.
  • Policy pitches submitted by the selected finalists will be featured at the SAS Global Analytics Leadership Forum in May 2023.

Each submission will be reviewed and scored by the selection committee according to the criteria listed below. The submissions that receive the best combined scores will be invited to join the competition.

  • Explanation of importance and timeliness of the policy issue
  • Choice of methodology and research strategy
  • Feasibility of the project
  • Overall quality of the submission, including effective communication
  • Letter of reference from a faculty member (see an example here)

Student Testimonials

Presenting my research at Statistics Canada provided me the opportunity to network with researchers from various government agencies interested in developing evidence-based policies

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"Entire generations of researchers around me have really had the opportunity to develop their passion and hone their skills because of the easy accessibility of the RDCs"