Last year, Jenn Wallner, associate professor with the School of Political Studies, took a sabbatical to work in the Privy Council Office (PCO) with the Government of Canada. Her background as a political scientist whose research focusses on exploring and understanding intergovernmental relations, and the politics and processes of policy-making in federations, made her a natural fit for the job.
Policy analysts research, inform, and implement new public policies and laws. To do so, they consult a slew of referential documents, research and best practices. When any given issue is raised in the public arena, they analyse what's important, why it matters and prepare briefings for their respective ministers. Having access to other bright minds and informed opinions is a must.
I quickly saw how academics could help inform policy,” explained Wallner. “They are conducting research, reading voraciously and discussing these matters so they’re apprised of the latest trends and ideas, which could be very useful to policy analysts.”
That’s when Wallner had an epiphany. She saw an opportunity to merge two spheres that had natural links between them and create a dialogue between government and academia.
And thus was born IMPACT 2019, a new initiative led by uOttawa’s Faculty of Social Sciences, to help inform public policy issues.
IMPACT’s goals are ambitious, yet attainable.
It aims to contribute to policy expertise of all levels of governments in Canada, and to bring together academics, stakeholder groups, government officials, think tanks and the like, to openly discuss the issues of the day – those that matter to Canadians and have a direct impact on their life.
For IMPACT’s initial launch on June 18, 2019, Wallner, buoyed by the support of the Faculty of Social Sciences’ Vice Dean of Research John Sylvestre in concert with other faculty members and administrators, organized a forum with five thematic panels that will welcome extensive audience participation. The day will be about fostering links between practice and expertise.
From digital security to immigration, from climate change mitigation strategies to la Francophonie, and from criminal justice reform to foreign aid, uOttawa’s academics - especially those from the faculties of social sciences, law and arts - will share their expertise and provide non-partisan analyses that will be invaluable to policy analysts and think tanks across the country.
The June 18th IMPACT forum will be an ideal opportunity for policy wonks, university professors, and other stakeholders to exchange ideas and develop a new community.
By providing expert non-partisan policy-relevant briefs on the critical issues that will most likely be reflected in the upcoming federal election platforms, IMPACT will also serve as a tool to help Canadians make an informed choice in time for the fall election.
Learn more about IMPACT.