Max Bell Foundation invests $10-million to establish a new school of public policy at McGill University

The Max Bell School of Public Policy will bring McGill’s unique international and transdisciplinary perspectives to key political, social economic and scientific issues

In a world of political polarization, environmental threats, a changing labour market and growing gaps between rich and poor, there has never been a greater need to engage in a thoughtful examination of public policy and train a new generation of policy leaders.

Against this backdrop, Max Bell Foundation is pleased to announce it has invested $10-million at McGill University to establish a new school of public policy. The School will reside in McGill’s Faculty of Arts.

The Max Bell School of Public Policy will bring together talented faculty and students from across Canada and around the world to create the next generation of national and global policy leaders with expertise across multiple domains and disciplines.

“I would like to thank Max Bell Foundation for this generous gift,” said McGill’s Principal and Vice-Chancellor, Suzanne Fortier. “McGill deeply values its long association with Max Bell Foundation. For the past 45 years, the Foundation has demonstrated its commitment to talented students and scholars who are examining some of the world’s most pressing social, environmental and scientific challenges. By supporting the creation of a new Public Policy School, it is enriching that commitment and building a foundation for work that will benefit all Canadians, and people around the world.”

The School’s flagship teaching program will be a one-year graduate program in public policy that combines courses on theory and quantitative analysis with those examining the real-world processes by which policy is designed and implemented. There will also be a suite of executive teaching programs, taught by professors of practice with expertise in the practical aspects of specific policy areas.

The School’s research output will be widely disseminated, both in peer-reviewed professional journals, and through more accessible outlets that encourage public debate on various policy issues.
“A robust public outreach program will further distinguish the Max Bell School of Public Policy as a unique contributor to the understanding of policy,” said Antonia Maioni, Dean of McGill’s Faculty of Arts.

“Montreal, with its vibrant cosmopolitan environment, multicultural profile and linguistic diversity, will serve as a magnet for conferences and exchanges between policy-makers, scholarly experts and community and opinion leaders,” she said.

“McGill’s true potential to excel in the field of public policy lies in its ability to effectively bring together and draw upon its impressive range of interdisciplinary programming across the core disciplines that are foundational to the study and practice of public policy. These include economics, political science, sociology, as well as long-standing interests in policy research that span such disciplines as public health, urban planning, environmental science and global development,” said the School’s inaugural director, Chris Ragan.

Ragan is an Associate Professor of Economics at McGill and Chair of Canada’s Ecofiscal Commission, whose aim is to identify policy options to improve environmental and economic performance in Canada.

“Max Bell Foundation is proud to be associated with the creation of a School of Public Policy at McGill and its potential to benefit Canada and Canadians by mobilizing expert, policy-oriented research, and providing a forum for debate on key public policy issues,” said the Foundation’s President, Allan Northcott.

The School will be supported by an Advisory Board made up of Canadian leaders from the fields of politics and business, including three Co-Chairs: The Honourable Rona Ambrose, NAFTA Council Member and former interim leader of the Conservative Party of Canada; Dominic Barton, global managing partner of McKinsey & Company and chair of the federal Minister of Finance’s Advisory Council on Economic Growth; and Michael Sabia, President and CEO of Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec.