Science & Policy Exchange 2017-18 Elections

By: Shawn McGuirk

June 08, 2017

Deadline Extended: Wednesday June 28st


We are starting our elections process for the coming year and are looking for motivated and driven individuals to join our executive and to put into action our plan for 2017-2018!

Science and Policy Exchange (SPE) is a student-run charity which provides a vital forum for the discussion of scientific issues in order to inform policy at both federal and provincial levels. The SPE aims to:

  • Bring together leading experts from academia, industry, and government to engage and inform students and the public on issues at the interface of science and policy
  • Foster a student voice in evidence-based policy making

As a testament to the success of this model, New Zealand also established a Science and Policy Exchange, led by the country’s Chief Science Advisor, Sir Peter Gluckman.

In the past year, we have finalized and released our STEM whitepaper (, which was presented in a joint panel with Let’s Talk Science and the Information and Communications Technology Council at CSPC 2016 (; the recommendations from the whitepaper were brought to the fundamental science review (which preceded the release of the Naylor report) and to the Chief Scientist of Québec, among other stakeholders. We also ran two public forums on genetics policy ( and which were fully funded by a CIHR Planning and Dissemination grant from the Institute of Genetics. In addition to increasing our social media presence and unveiling our new website on which we posted regular news and blogs, we strengthened our links to the FRQ and other groups through participation in consultations and colloquiums, as well as by publishing student perspectives on important policy issues like the Naylor report and science diplomacy. We also gained many volunteers throughout the year in our events, in meetings with groups like SOTL-North, and via our web presence. Finally, we have secured a panel at CSPC 2017 on the topic of science in the media, which will be a major focus in the coming year.

2017-2018 will build on this strong year. We plan to continue to build our online presence, to increase the frequency of blogs, and further respond to policy news and reports (either through our website or through written articles from SPE members). A large portion of the mandate will focus on our CSPC panel, which assembles media strategists and science personalities to identify strategies for better public engagement in science. This will be followed by promotion of these strategies to key groups. Importantly, we will need to look actively for sponsorship and raise funds for CSPC, future public forums, and other SPE events. To ensure continuity of events and funding, the board of directors will be tasked to complete its long-term strategic plan for SPE, and will invite input from SPE members.

We are looking forward to many exciting events, and we hope you will join us in making them happen! We are currently accepting nominations for the following positions:


Executive Committee

- President (Co-President): Chair(s) of both the executive committee and board of directors, responsible for ensuring that tasks are done in a timely manner and according to SPE's vision for the year. Only those having previously held a position in SPE can run for President or co-President.

- Treasurer: Responsible for managing SPE's finances and dealing with our lawyer whenever necessary. This includes filing a yearly report to the Canada Revenue Agency and drafting budgets for the year and for each event, as well as updating documents used to attract and secure sponsors. The treasurer also sits on both the executive committee and board of directors.

- VP External Relations: Responsible for managing communications with collaborators and partner groups, as well as contacting speakers for events. This position is critical to keeping SPE relevant in larger circles and assists with fundraising. The VP External Relations is also responsible for maintaining a database of contacts to ensure continuity.

- VP Member Relations: Responsible for organizing and attending all SPE meetings (executive and board) and keeping standardized minutes, as well as serving as a group contact point for SPE. The VP Member Relations also attends board meetings.

- VP Strategy: Responsible for brainstorming future events and assists the President(s) and board of directors in developing the long- term vision of SPE. Assists in general with fundraising and recruitment.

- VP Marketing: Responsible for advertising our events (making posters, contacting media outlets, sending press releases to our partners, etc), developing targeted marketing plans, and assists with fundraising and recruitment when necessary.

- VP Communications: Responsible for social media and online presence outside of the website, includes coordinating with online presence of partners like Mitacs, FRQ, CSPC, etc. The VP Communications is typically responsible for the Newsletter as well, although this task can be shared with other VPs. VP Communications and VP Information typically manage Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn between them.

- VP Information (or, VP Social Media): Responsible for managing social media content in general, and keeping up with relevant social media channels. The position involves keeping up to date on policy news and sending interesting content to the VP Communications, VP news, and VP blogs. VP Communications and VP Information typically manage Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn between them.

- VP News: Responsible for keeping up with science policy news at large and regularly posting snippets of science policy news which align with the mandate of SPE in the “news” portion of the website.

- VP Blogs: Responsible for recruiting bloggers, suggesting interesting topics relevant to SPE or current news, and ensuring a regular stream of blogs onto the website.

- Webmaster (or, VP Technology): Responsible for upkeep of the website, posting content, updating member profiles, and ensuring continued web traffic.


Board of Directors

- Internal Director (2 positions): Responsible for ensuring the long-term vision for SPE along with the External Directors. Only those having previously held VP positions in SPE can run for Internal Director. SPE requires dedicated, committed, and passionate people to see its ideas and plans come into fruition.

- External Director (5 positions): Responsible for ensuring the long-term vision for SPE along with the Internal Directors. These positions are reserved for professionals with experience in policy or other domains relevant to developing the long-term vision of SPE.


Contacts and application

If you are interested in a position or have any further questions/inquiries, please contact by Wednesday June 28st to nominate yourself for a position. Please include a short blurb (300 words or less) describing why you are running for this position. Your name will be placed on a ballot and an election will take place on July 5th.