Public Policy

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The world’s biggest challenges — climate change, global security, sustainable and inclusive economic growth and the protection of human rights — require well-informed, concerted and coordinated efforts by governments, public institutions, NGOs, and the private sector. CIFAR engages with stakeholders inside and outside of government to promote understanding of the emerging science and scholarship in our research programs and the implications for policy. CIFAR does not advocate for policy change. Rather, through dialogue and evidence, we help policy-makers to be better prepared for emerging areas of policy disruption and to understand the possibilities for policy innovation and advancement moving forward.

Trends in Public Policy

It is now well understood that policy domains such as health, economic development, justice, and planning have multidirectional linkages. Governments around the world are moving away from siloed bureaucracies towards mechanisms that allow myriad inputs and effects to be considered.

There is also awareness of the increasing importance of the co-creation of policy with stakeholders: the days of legislatures and bureaucracies as substantially closed systems is long gone. Governments recognize that there is critical expertise and perspectives outside of their walls. Stakeholders from all sectors are involved in the creation of policy, and public engagement is the norm.

Finally, in an interconnected world, policy takes on a global dimension. Capital, labour, information, and culture move across borders more easily than ever before. As a result, the policy community of 2018 is a global one: whether through joint action and coordination, or through the sharing of best practices and informative failures, collaboration is a precondition to success.

Public Policy at CIFAR

CIFAR is a non-profit, independent research institute. We ask how the spectrum of research at CIFAR—from social science and humanities through engineering and physical sciences—can inform policy actors around the world. Our goal is to work with members of the policy community to help incorporate the science of the future into the policy thinking of today. At the same time, we recognize that science and research are just one input in the policy process.

Today, the primary focus of our public policy work is the impact and opportunities of artificial intelligence. But we are also eager to work with the policy community explore how other insights arising from CIFAR’s research agenda can inform strategic planning and their policy outlook.

Current Knowledge Mobilization Areas

  •   How does international collaboration through Mission Innovation accelerate the development of new energy materials?

  •   How could new insights in the role of the microbiome in human development affect our public health outreach and prevention programs?
  •   How could our new understandings of inequality across all levels of society inform new policy development?