Expand your experience in policy development and apply for a KBHN-CASDA Policy Development Practicum Awards

Application Deadline:           January 23rd, 2020


What is the KBHN Policy Development Practicum Award?
The federal government has announced its commitment to develop a National Autism Strategy. The Canadian Autism Spectrum Disorder Alliance (CASDA) will be supporting the creation of this Strategy in five key areas in the CASDA’s Blueprint: access/affordability, information, employment, housing, and research.

The Kids Brain Health Training Program, partnered with the Canadian Autism Spectrum Disorder Alliance (CASDA), is offering graduate students, postdocs, and/or research associates the opportunity to contribute to this important initiative and gain invaluable experience in community partner engagement and policy development. This competition offers up to 5 practicum awards of $2000 stipend support (plus travel to the CASDA Leadership Summit April 20-21, 2020).

Why should I apply?
This is a professional development opportunity over the next 6-8 months months apart from your regular research training (requiring approx. 2-3 hrs/week). The practicum stipend awards are to be held in addition to existing funding.

This practicum experience will educate you in the processes of policy development, writing for policy makers and facilitating engagement with community partners. In addition to this professional development experience, you will co-produce and publish a policy brief representing one of the five key areas of CASDA’s Blueprint for the National Autism Strategy initiative.

Who is eligible?
Applicants must attend the Canadian Autism Leadership Summit in Ottawa (April 20-21, 2020).

All graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and research associates with an affiliation with KBHN research and training programs and/or CASDA are eligible to apply. If you are not presently an official  member of KBHN or CASDA Networks you can become one as part of this application.

How can I apply?
Interested applicants should download and complete an application package: Application materials will include:

  • A well crafted cover letter
  • Supervisor’s letter of recommendation
  • Applicant Info/Signature form
  • The applicants CV

Complete applications must be submitted via email to training@kidsbrainhealth.ca.

What are the training objectives?

  • exposure to how a National Autism Strategy will be developed
  • participate in real-world policy development with CASDA
  • networking with community organisations across the country


Trainees must indicate their supervisor’s awareness of their interest in this opportunity. Successful applicants will be matched with a topic and work with CASDA’s membership and will be provided with guidance by Dr. Jennifer Zwicker (Director of Health Policy, University of Calgary), Dr. Jonathan Lai (Director of Strategy and Operations, CASDA) using biweekly online meetings, and a SLACK channel.

Phase One

February – March:

  • understand scope of the issue chosen (one of the five areas)
  • map out components from international strategies that may inform a Canadian Strategy


  • draft policy options for government to take through comparison with other National Strategies

April 20 – 21:

  • attend the Canadian Autism Leadership Summit in Ottawa and present/facilitate initial findings to 200 leaders and policymakers
  • dialogue with leaders of organisations to obtain their feedback, identify partner organisations to develop the policy brief

* KBHN will cover travel as part of the award*


Phase Two


  • synthesise and incorporate recommendations from the Summit leadership and work with interested organisations


  • produce a draft of the policy brief


  • publish a 2-4 page policy brief
  • write a joint academic publication about the experience of engaging in policy work as an early career researcher (optional)

Contact Dr. Douglas Swanson (KBHN Research & Training Manager, training@kidsbrainhealth.ca) if you have any questions.


Download Application Package