REAL Impact Fellowship

Competition is now closed

Mentorship and Professional Development
Core Competencies
Compensation and Duration
How to Apply
Review Process and Timelines


The REAL Impact Fellowship is a three-year, full time paid position aimed at providing an alternate career path for Post-doctoral Fellows. The Fellow will be in a position to develop and use applied research and analytical skills with a particular focus on advanced analytics. This fellowship will build capacity in the outlined core competencies developed by the Nova Scotia Department of Health & Wellness (NSDHW) in collaboration with the Nova Scotia Health Research Foundation (NSHRF) to solve impact-oriented challenges in a health policy and system setting through the practical application of analytics.


The objective of the program is to expand the career opportunities of doctoral students by offering a fellowship at the NSDHW in the area of advanced analytics. The fellowship will provide an opportunity to apply advanced research and analytic expertise in an impact-oriented environment. The fellowship is intended to create an alternate path to a career in an academic setting. The main focus of the fellowship will be on informing health policy and system changes through analytics, while developing essential professional and applied technical skills. The skills and experiences of the successful applicant will align with the objectives of the REAL Knowledge Program as described here:


The NSDHW is a governmental department responsible for:

  • providing leadership for the health system by setting the strategic policy direction, priorities and standards for the health system;
  • ensuring appropriate access to quality care through the establishment of public funding for health services that are of high value to the population; and
  • ensuring accountability for funding and for the measuring and monitoring of health-system performance.

The vision of the NSDHW is to build an innovative and sustainable health system to create generations of healthy Nova Scotians. The Department works with a variety of stakeholders, including provincial and federal governments, health authorities, health researchers, and other funders to support programs and services that strengthen the health status of the province.

The health policy system is complex and there is a critical need to develop department-wide analytic strategies, supported by sound information management practices, to develop a sustainable platform that can continuously guide health system planning and management, and harness sustainable solutions for challenging system-level problems. The transformation of data through advanced analytics strategies using appropriate business knowledge, methodologies and tactics is vital to provide accessible and valid information for informing decision-making in the province.

Mentorship and Professional Development

The mentorship component of the fellowship aims to further develop technical skills through professional development training and by applying these established skills to practical problems in a public policy setting.  The fellow will develop the essential skills and expertise to pursue an impactful and meaningful career within the health system.

The mentorship component of the program will involve working with and being advised by a Mentorship Committee, the completion of the Nova Scotia Government’s Leadership Development Training Program and ongoing support and direction from employees of the Department of Health and Wellness.

The Mentorship Committee will be made up of senior principle management from the Department of Health and Wellness, including the Senior Executive Director, Investment and Decision Support Division, and the Executive Director, Advanced Analytics, as well as the Director of Programs at the Nova Scotia Health Research Foundation, and an academic mentor that will be chosen based on the successful applicants needs and skillset. The Mentorship Committee has a combination of extensive knowledge in the health system, policy initiatives and implementation strategies, measurement and evaluation, and advanced analytics, as well as wide-ranging experience in managing, coordinating, and developing complex projects in the health policy system.

In year two of the fellowship, the successful applicant will participate in the Nova Scotia Government’s Leadership Development Training Program, which aims to enhance professional development skills by providing practical training in team leadership skills, communication strategies, system-level thinking, navigation approaches, and strategies to sustain long-term positive relationships across government partnerships (

Under the direction of the Executive Director, Advanced Analytics, the fellow will apply their knowledge of analytics to extracting value from health system data sources and population health data, will have opportunities to develop skills in data visualization and presentation of insights to departmental decision makers and key stakeholders, and will be guided through development in the core leadership competencies outlined by the Department of Health and Wellness.  

A learning management framework will be established to identify key areas for development, with ongoing monitoring and planning for addressing learning needs and ensuring opportunities for skill acquisition, learning, and growth.  

The opportunity to gain knowledge and experience by working with leaders from across the health system in different roles with diverse backgrounds allows for a variety of learning experiences for the REAL Impact Fellow, including but not limited to:

  • Liaising with departmental and system stakeholders to understand health system issues;
  • Identifying information needs and analysis options, given current knowledge of business and policy challenges;
  • Contributing to a departmental culture of inquiry through the application of advanced analytics, data visualization, and presentation of insights;
  • Developing analytic strategies and techniques to deliver actionable data and information for evidence-informed decision making;
  • Collecting and analyzing data using multiple methods, including descriptive, diagnostic, predictive and prescriptive analytics;
  • Identifying data gaps and potential options for new data collection or proxy data sources;
  • Providing input into information management processes to improve the flow of data for analysis purposes;
  • Identifying innovative analysis techniques and the use of new data sources to provide new insights for health system planning;
  • Enhancing skills in planning, developing, and implementing system-wide analytics projects and initiatives;
  • Enhancing professional development skills in leadership, management, and strategic direction in a system-level environment;
  • Communicating work to internal and external partners such as senior management, and across departments;
  • Developing analytical capacity of departmental staff through teamwork, workshops, advising, and other mechanisms; and
  • Managing multiple projects at once.

Working with a team of health economists, epidemiologists, and research analysts in the Advanced Analytics Branch of NSDHW, the Fellow will contribute to the strategic deployment of analytics to improve insight into risk and outcomes through the development and implementation of an advanced analytics framework that supports and strengthens strategic planning and decision making.

The scope of analytics will include multiple dimensions including, but not limited to, economic analysis, workforce planning, patient and population health assessment, and operational risk analysis.

Core Competencies

The Department of Health and Wellness, in collaboration with the Nova Scotia Health Research Foundation, established core competencies for this position, based on the needs and strategic direction outlined by the Nova Scotia Government and Department of Health and Wellness. The applicants will be assessed based on the ability to demonstrate skills, experience and/or capacity to further develop the outlined competencies.


Core Competencies Description
  1. Analysis of Data, Evidence and Critical Thinking
The ability to collect, analyze and use a wide range of data (including big data, administrative data and economic data), reflecting critically on and incorporating theory and research evidence to clarify problems, frame options and identify implementation considerations in both academic and non-academic settings.
  1. Interdisciplinary Work
The ability to effectively use and combine appropriate methodologies and insights from multiple academic disciplines (e.g., humanities, social sciences, management, epidemiology, medicine, etc.)
  1. Knowledge Translation, Communication and Brokerage
The ability to use multiple methods of communication and to communicate appropriately with diverse internal and external audiences, such as senior management and across departments.
  1. Leadership, Mentorship and Collaboration
The ability to lead, organize and support teams from various backgrounds to work together to achieve a specific outcome.
  1. Networking
The ability to develop and maintain productive relationships across the health system, both within and outside of academia.
  1. Project Management
The ability to coordinate and organize all stages of a project from development through to knowledge translation (KT) in both an academic and non-academic environment.
  1. Understanding Health Systems and the Policy Making Process
The ability to understand and gain knowledge of the Canadian and international health policy system from both academic and non-academic perspectives.
  1. Change Management and Implementation
The ability to communicate a clear vision for change, to lead people and organizations through change, to manage and implement successful transitions, and to evaluate and report on change.



The Department of Health and Wellness in collaboration with the Nova Scotia Health Research Foundation and the Mentorship Committee will conduct annual evaluations of the Fellow’s performance. The performance evaluation will be based principally on goals and objectives prepared and outlined in association with the successful applicant.  Additionally, an outcome/impact evaluation will be conducted to measure the success of training a Fellow in a public policy environment.

Compensation and Duration

This fellowship will be paid at a rate of $65,000 per year plus benefits, including health and pension plan contributions. The duration of the position is three years. Relocation costs will be the responsibility of the successful applicant.


  • Completion of a PhD level degree program in a relevant area,  providing proof of degree prior to the January, 2017 start date of the fellowship
  • Graduate level training and demonstrated experience in the application of advanced statistics, economics, mathematics or management science
  • Demonstrated skills that align with the outlined core competencies ( see above)
  • 1 - 3 years training and/or work experience in advanced analytics or equivalent experience
  • Must be legally eligible to work in Canada prior to start date of the fellowship and for the full three-year term.

NSHRF reserves the right to declare applications ineligible.

How to Apply

Applicants are invited to submit the following by no later than October 19th at 2:00 PM ADT

  • Personal statement/ cover letter (maximum 1500 words). This document should include explanations of the applicant’s:
    • experience with advanced analytics (including statistics, economics, mathematics or management science);
    • motivation for applying for the fellowship;
    • and interest in pursuing a career in the health policy system
  • Current resume
  • Two letters of recommendation

Applications and inquiries regarding this opportunity should state “REAL Impact Fellowship” in the subject line and be directed to:
Julia Kontak

Attn:      Julia Kontak
Research Associate
Nova Scotia Health Research Foundation

Review Process and Timelines

The call for the fellowship opportunity is Canada-wide and applicants are encouraged to apply from across all areas of study.  The applications will be reviewed through a rigorous peer-review process conducted by the Nova Scotia Health Research Foundation. We extend our appreciation to all applicants for their interest; only those selected for an interview will be contacted.

Application Deadline: October 19th at 2:00 PM ADT 

Interviews: November 28th – December 2nd

Start Date: January, 2017