Policy and Data Science (PODS) Program

The Max Bell School of Public Policy presents the Policy and Data Science (PODS) Program in partnership with the Centre for Social and Cultural Data Science.


Program Overview

The 2018 PODS Summer Program is training a new generation of data-driven policy analysts to tackle Canada’s biggest policy problems. A call for applications in March led to applications from 250 studens from McGill's Faculty of Arts. Seven promising students were selected to become PODS Fellows. In the month of June, PODS Fellows were provided with technical skills in data anlaysis methods: including R and Python. This knowledge was integrated with policy theory and analysis training. The PODS Fellows were then matched up with Montreal-based organizations for an internship throughout July and August where they are using their data mining and analysis skills to answer important, real-world policy questions. 

Organizations receiving Montreal students include:

  • Laboratoire d'innovation urbaine de Montréal
  • McGill Observatory on Health and Social Services Reforms (MOHSSR)
  • Institute for Research on Public Policy (IRPP)


Goals of PODS

Close the skills gap in Canada

  • Build a cohort of students with employment-ready, policy-relevant data analysis skills.
  • Through this program, students will then learn invaluable data science techniques and policy theory that they can easily apply to their field of study. 

Solve urgent public policy issues

  • Students will develop and apply core data science techniques to policy questions through a combination of specialized training and internship-style projects with civic and industry partners, delivering meaningful analysis for the mentor organizations.

Build a national movement

  • By integrating the necessary skills for quantitative and qualitative research, students will greatly expand their capabilities and shape their future careers.
  • PODS is a unique and crucial part of a national movement that will build a foundation to cultivate interdisciplinary and well-rounded scholars.
Tags: