In 2017, MSFHR made a decision to put its Health Policy Fellowship Program on hold and partner with CIHR on the new Health System Impact Fellowship. By partnering with CIHR, the aim was to meet the goals of the Health Policy Fellowship while leveraging federal funds to BC to support the development of health policy research talent and the uptake of evidence to inform planning, policy, and practice.
The MSFHR Health Policy Fellowship is a salary award for post-doctoral fellows involved in health research who are interested in preparing for careers in a variety of health research and research user roles. Fellows undertake short-term (six to 12 months) policy assignments via placements within the BC Ministry of Health (MoH) or at one of the province’s health authorities. These placements may be separate from or complementary to a fellow’s current academic research.
The Health Policy Fellowship Program is designed to foster positive and constructive exchanges between health researchers and health system decision-makers in order to bridge the gap between the worlds of academic research and health policy. It provides a unique training opportunity for candidates to learn about, and contribute to, the policy making process through the application of their health research knowledge, expertise and analytical skills as part of a policy team. Equally, health system decision-makers gain access to individuals trained in health research to work on the scientific and technical aspects of health policy. Fostering collaborations between researchers and research users is a KT strategy intended to increase the uptake of research evidence. This approach increases the likelihood that research findings will be both relevant and applicable to research users. The MSFHR Health Policy Fellowship is designed to create opportunities for health system decision-makers to work alongside researchers to promote the uptake of evidence-informed policy work as well as policy-relevant research. It is anticipated that this funding opportunity will help foster and maintain ongoing relationships and collaborations between health researchers and decision-makers.
The budget envelope for this funding opportunity is $450,000, enough to fund at least nine fellowships. One fellowship will be assigned to each of the seven BC health authorities, and two fellowships will be assigned to BC MoH. The health policy fellowship consists of a salary stipend and a relocation/travel allowance. The fellowship provides up to one year of salary support at $45,000 per annum, prorated as required depending on the length of the policy assignment. Benefits are not included in the salary stipend. If not already provided by the award recipient’s academic host institution, it is the responsibility of award recipients to purchase their own health and/or other extended benefits. A one-time allowance of up to $5,000 is available to help defray the costs of relocation, and, if permitted by the policy assignment supervisor (see section 6), to defray costs for attendance at science or health policy conferences or meetings, such as the annual CAHSPR Conference or Canadian Science Policy Conference either during or up to three months following the end of the fellowship. For complete information on eligible expenses, please refer to the Award Management & Eligible Expenses document on MSFHR’s website. Stipends and the research/travel allowance are valued in Canadian dollars and are taxable.
The intent of the Health Policy Fellowship program is to provide highly qualified candidates at the post-doctoral level with a unique opportunity to learn about and participate in the health policy-making process at the provincial government or health authority level. The budget envelope for this funding opportunity is $450,000, enough to fund at least nine (9) fellowships.
When preparing an application, applicants must obtain an endorsement from their academic supervisor(s) as part of the letter of reference. The health policy fellowship is considered an interruption to an applicant’s regular academic research program; therefore, applicants must obtain an endorsement from their academic supervisor that confirms their ability to temporarily halt their current research program in order to fulfill the fellowship requirements. Identifying a proposed policy assignment must be included as part of the application process. Detailed descriptions of policy assignment areas offered by BC MoH and participating health authorities will be available on MSFHR’s website.
The application process for the MSFHR Health Policy Fellowship is comprised of two steps:
• Eligibility quiz
To complete your application, follow the steps outlined in the Instructions document.
Please ensure that applications are complete and submitted by the deadline.
Submission Requirements • All steps of the application must be submitted using MSFHR ApplyNet, the Foundation’s online application submission system.
• All documents uploaded onto MSFHR ApplyNet must be in .pdf format. No other formats will be accepted.
• As an applicant, you will be able to access a .pdf copy of the full application to review the information you have entered.
• It is the applicant’s responsibility to review the .pdf copy of the application prior to submission to ensure that all data entered are complete and accurate. Once an application is submitted, it cannot be modified in any way.
All applicants and referees applying for the first time to MSFHR will need to register on MSFHR ApplyNet and create a system account email and password. Additional information on MSFHR ApplyNet can be found in the MSFHR ApplyNet FAQ document.
At the application deadline, the applicant:
• Must have obtained a health-related PhD, or a MD, DDS, DVM, DPharm or equivalent doctorallevel health professional degree.
• Must have an appointment, or a commitment for an appointment, as a post-doctoral fellow at a BC-based host institution.
• Must commit to spending at least 75 percent of their time conducting activities related to the policy assignment.
• Must obtain a letter of reference from their academic supervisor endorsing their participation in the Health Policy Fellowship Program.
• Cannot have previously held an MSFHR-CIHR Science Policy Fellowship.
• Cannot conduct a policy assignment at the same BC health authority where they are currently employed (if applicable).
For applicants applying for a policy assignment at the First Nations Health Authority, preference will be given to those with lived Aboriginal experience. MSFHR reserves the right to declare applications ineligible.
Applications will be screened for eligibility by MSFHR staff, and be evaluated via two distinct processes that when combined, result in the applicant’s final standing:
1. An external merit review panel made up of health policy academics and/or decision-makers will review and make funding recommendations on eligible applications (25 percent of total score).
2. Assessment by the potential policy assignment supervisor via interview (25 percent). Merit review will assess applicants’ capacity to participate in the program and their potential to positively contribute to the research-policy interface, as well as their academic and research skills and achievements. Although a standing review panel will evaluate submitted applications, external expertise may be added as required. In parallel with merit review, applications will be evaluated by the policy assignment supervisor associated with the chosen policy assignment, and applicants will also be contacted by the policy assignment supervisor and further assessed via interview, the format of which (in-person, telephone, Skype, etc.) will be mutually agreed upon. Input from the potential policy assignment supervisor will be combined with merit review panel scoring in order to determine the final standing of an application.
Applications will be evaluated via a process that incorporates the three main principles of peer review: 1. Confidentiality – All information contained in applications, reports by reviewers, and any discussions by the review panel about applications or applicants are strictly confidential. All MSFHR staff, reviewers, the panel Chair and Science Officer involved in the review of applications will be subject to a non-disclosure agreement ensuring confidentiality of unprotected intellectual property or proprietary information stated within applications.
2. Integrity – MSFHR makes every effort to ensure that its decisions are fair and objective, and are seen to be so.
3. Parity – Refers to the willingness and ability of all review panel members to be fair and reasonable, to exercise meticulous scientific judgement and, to understand and take into account the particular context of each application. The information presented in the Evaluation Criteria and Rating Scale sections below will be used for the review process.
All applications will be assessed against a defined set of criteria in four categories: 1) career development and goals, 2) characteristics and abilities, 3) achievements and activities, and 4) letter of reference. The overall score for an application will be sum of the scores for the thr