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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.

The National Policy Challenge is Currently Underway, Please Check Back in Summer 2022 to apply, or Early 2022 to See This Year’s Competition

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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:

  • You must be living in Canada and be registered as a part-time or full-time graduate student at an accredited Canadian academic institution. You may compete individually or in team of up to three members.
  • You must have completed a bachelor’s degree.
  • You must have some background in quantitative analysis and statistics.
  • Your proposal must be based on a current/active contract for access to an RDC (you can be added to current projects or current projects can be amended to satisfy this requirement).
  • Data analysis must be conducted in one of the RDCs across the country. Find your nearest RDC.
  • Participants must abide by the usual 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 some time; applicants are encouraged to begin this process before the results are announced.
  • Finalists participate in a live event, presenting their research results in a slide presentation and answer questions posed by the judges and the audience.
  • Finalists provide a brief interview to CRDCN to describe explaining their experience in the National Policy Challenge and offer tips to future competitors.

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

  • Relevance and timeliness of the policy issue and the research question;
  • Choice of methodology and research strategy;
  • Adequacy of the dataset(s);
  • Feasibility of the project;
  • Originality of the project;
  • Overall quality of the proposal, including the clarity of the writing;
  • Letter of reference from a faculty member (see an example here);
  • CV/academic transcript confirming previous training in statistical analysis and relevant skills in quantitative methods;
  • Review process and selection of the proposals.

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"