Mission Statement

Science & Policy Exchange (SPE) is a Montreal-based, non-profit organization whose aims are two-fold: (1) to foster the student voice in evidence-based decision making and (2) to bring together leading experts from academia, industry, and government to engage and inform students and the public on issues at the interface of science and policy. Science & Policy Exchange is one of the few bilingual student led initiatives directly engaging the local political scenes and effectively bridging the gap between academia, industry and government leaders.


Executive Team

Sam Garnett


Sam is a graduating Ph.D. student in the Department of Biology at McGill University, where she studies the molecular control of cancer. Her interest in the interface of research and policy-making has led her work with Science & Policy Exchange since 2016 where she served in the past as VP-News and VP-External Relations, and now as co-President alongside Marie Franquin. In addition to her Ph.D. studies, Sam has also received an Executive Development Certificate (Mini MBA Cycle I) from the Desautels’ School of Management at McGill University.

Marie Franquin


Marie Franquin is a Ph.D. student in neuroscience at McGill University, where she tries to understand early features of the deadly disease Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis. Marie has an international background and studied in 3 different countries and many universities, which allowed her to set foot on 5 continents and develop her sense of adaptability and open-mindedness. Through teaching and outreach experiences, she has developed a strong passion for science communication. She has also been involved in science policy through volunteering with the registered charity Science & Policy Exchange. There she has expanded her knowledge to the world of politics and policy-making and now acts as the co-president of the SPE since January 2019. 

Saishree Badri


Saishree is a PhD student at McGill University, investigating the neural circuits responsible for spatial navigation and memory in mice under Prof. Mark Brandon’s guidance at the Douglas Mental Health Institute. She is passionate about finding a common ground between researchers, policy-makers and the public on issues that are at crossroads between policy and science. Furthermore, she believes it is indispensable to create a sense of trust between the three, eventually leading to more evidence-based policies that could benefit the scientific community. For the past year, she has served as VP News at SPE. She is now the treasurer for the organization. Going forward, she is keen to continue her efforts for promoting evidence-based policies, increased Equity, Diversity and Inclusion representation in the Canadian science community and strengthening ties and creating a dialogue between policy-makers and scientists.

Icten Meras

VP External Relation

Icten received her Ph.D. degree in Cell Biology from McGill University in 2018. Icten, is from Milas, Turkey, after receiving her BSc degree, she moved to Montreal, Canada for her graduate studies. She joined the Science Policy & Exchange as a volunteer in July 2019 and became VP External Relations in November 2019. She is hoping to work towards bridging the gap between researchers, public and the policy makers.

Anh-Khoi Trinh

VP Internal 

Anh-Khoi Trinh is a physics PhD candidate studying string theory and quantum gravity at McGill University. With experiences in physics educational development and outreach, Anh-Khoi aims to inspire the next generation to engage in STEM fields and to provide them with the necessary resources to succeed. As such, he has turned his attention towards science policy where he aims to advocate for better policies to support science, academia and students, all while inspiring the research community at large to engage with policymakers to strengthen the foundations of Canadian research.

Adrián Noriega de la Colina

VP Administration

Adrián Noriega de la Colina is a Ph.D. student in Biomedical Sciences, with a specialty in Aging Research at the Université de Montréal, where he studies the impact of cardiovascular diseases on brain aging and cognition. His current work consists on developing preventive health strategies, specifically targeting early detection of dementia. Adrián has a Master in Health Economics from the London School of Economics, where he built a passion for Policy-making and Science Communication, which led him to volunteer at Science & Policy Exchange (SPE) as Vice-President Administration since November 2019. At SPE he intends to further expand his knowledge in Public Policy and advocating for evidence-based decision-making.

Pablo C. Martínez

VP Communications

Pablo came to Montreal to pursue his Master’s degree in Chemical Engineering at Polytechnique Montréal in 2017. His Master’s degree focused in metabolic engineering, production and purification of biotherapeutics from mammalian cells. Pablo joined SPE as Co-Interim VP communications in September and was then elected for the permanent position. Pablo wants to consolidate the social media presence of SPE as well as to represent its value and objectives. 

Shafqat Rasool

VP News

Shafqat Rasool is PhD student in the department of Biochemistry at McGill University. His research focuses on the mechanisms governing Parkinson’s disease. Shafqat strongly appreciates the necessity of interdisciplinary collaborative work both in scientific research and in science policy initiatives. He hopes to build stronger bridges between the student community, academia and policy makers by bringing the community up to speed about the issues and developments in the world of science policy, and by working on collaborative initiatives to address and raise awareness about these issues.

Camille Gervais 

VP Technology

Camille is a Biology student at Concordia University. Prior to that, she obtained her BFA at Parsons School of Design in communication design. She worked at different design studios in New York and London before going back to school in Montreal. She joined SPE as our VP Technology in 2017.


Board of Directors

Shawn McGuirk

Internal Director

Shawn is a senior Ph.D. student and Vanier Scholar at the Goodman Cancer Research Centre at McGill University. In the laboratory of Dr. St-Pierre, he studies the role of metabolism in cancer progression, from tumor onset to metastasis and therapeutic resistance. He also develops open-source software tools to facilitate complex analyses, such as metabolic profiling, and has contributed to student life with the Biochemistry Graduate and Goodman Centre Student Societies. He also founded ProVivoX Inc. in 2013 with fellow trainees following a successful bid to license a novel technique for prognosis of survival outcome in breast cancer patients; the startup won top prizes at the NIH/CAI Breast Cancer Startup Challenge and Fondation Montreal’s Your Ideas Are Good Business competition before closing in 2016. Shawn joined Science & Policy Exchange in 2013 and currently serves as President (previously Treasurer). With a strong team and board of directors, he hopes to help SPE reach its full potential as a student-driven think tank.

Tina Gruosso

Internal Director

After completing her PhD in oncology in Paris, Tina came to Montreal to pursue her studies on tumor microenvironment at McGill University in the Goodman Cancer Research Centre. Convinced by the importance of a better communication between politicians, scientists and the public, Tina joined Science & Policy Exchange (SPE) (Dialogues Sciences & Politiques (DSP) in french) in 2015 where she serves as VP Communication. Since she joined SPE/DSP, Tina was notably involved in the working group on student perspective of STEM education in Canada, science diplomacy discussion panels and organisation of public forums.

Mary-Rose Bradley-Gill

Internal Director

Mary-Rose is a PhD Candidate in Biology at McGill University. She studies a tumour suppressor called retinoblastoma in the model organism the fruit fly. She’s from Montreal and got her BSc in Biology at McGill in 2011. Mary-Rose joined SPE in May 2017 as a volunteer and became VP External in July. With experience in student governance and science outreach programs, she hopes to bring her experience and passion for basic research to evidence-based policy discussions and communication.

Paul Dufour 

External Director

Paul Dufour has been senior adviser in science policy with several Canadian agencies and organizations over the course of the past 35 years. Among these:  senior program specialist with the International Development Research Centre, and interim Executive Director at the former Office of the National Science Advisor to the Canadian Government advising on international S&T matters and broad questions of R&D policy directions for the country. He is a member of Science and Policy Exchange board as well as the Mitacs Science Policy Fellows advisory board, and was on the Gold Medal winning Canadian International Polar Year National Committee. Mr Dufour was an investment committee member for Grand Challenges Canada on global health for several years.

Born in Montréal, Mr. Dufour was educated at McGill, the Université de Montréal and Concordia University in the history of science and science policy, and has had practical S&T policy experience for over three decades having been with such bodies as the Science Council of Canada, Ministry of State for Science and Technology, Foreign Affairs, and special adviser to the Prime Minister's Advisory Council on S&T. 

Dufour lectures regularly on science policy, has authored numerous articles on international S&T relations and Canadian innovation policy. He is series co-editor of the Cartermill Guides to World Science and is the author of the Canada chapter for the UNESCO 2015 Science Report. More recently he has co-edited books on the history of the Science Council of Canada (with Jeff Kinder) and the value of science in society and culture (with Agnes Herzberg).

Nicole Arbour

External Director

Nicole Arbour is currently External Relations Manager at IIASA, where she plays an active role in building and maintaining relationships with IIASAs national and regional member organisations (NMOs and RMOs). 

Nicole comes to IIASA from Canada, where she most recently held the role of Senior Advisor with the International Innovation Office at the National Research Council Canada (NRC). In this role she led the development, implementation and management of NRC’s engagement with the UK. She also coordinated the NRC’s Grants to International Affiliations Program, where she was active in the engagement and development of Canada’s affiliation/membership to several international organisations, including the International Science Council (ISC). She also provided strategic advice to senior executives related to the development and management of bilateral and multilateral relationships for the NRC, as required. 

Prior to that, Nicole was the Team Lead for the UK’s Science and Innovation Network in Canada - at the British High Commission in Ottawa. In this position, she was responsible for liaising with Federal science and technology organisations, working to establish, foster, and strengthen scientific collaboration and partnerships between the UK and Canada. 

Nicole has also worked as a research scientist in the Canadian biotech sector. She holds a PhD in Biochemistry from the University of Ottawa.

Rachael Maxwell  

External Director

Rachael Maxwell joined Genome Canada in 2018 and serves as the Manager of Public Affairs and Communications, where she manages the planning and execution of communication and stakeholder activities. Previously, Rachael worked at Mitacs as the Program Lead for the Canadian Science Policy Fellowship, where she managed the design and delivery of the program from its inception through its first three cohorts. Rachael is also a member of the Board of the Directors at the Science and Policy Exchange.


Rachael is passionate about working at the intersection of academia, government and industry, and continues to learn how to best serve society through science and policy. She speaks regularly to government and academic audiences at home and abroad about the need for better mechanisms to connect science and policy. Rachael also brings years of experience working in arts management and an academic background in cultural studies.

Madison Rilling

External Director

Madison is currently finishing her PhD in Physics at Université Laval and is an early-career medical physicist working in radiation oncology at the Centre régional intégré de cancérologie in Lévis, QC. Parallel to her academic training, Madison has been involved in research administration, science policy and women in STEM initiatives. From 2016 to 2019, she was vice president of the Comité intersectoriel étudiant (CIÉ) des Fonds de recherche du Québec. Her role was to advise Québec’s Chief Scientist, Dr. Rémi Quirion, on matters relative to the accessibility of research funding for student researchers and trainees, the promotion of their research both locally and internationally, and their greater involvement and valorization within society. During this time, she was also the sole student to sit on the Board of Directors of the Fonds de recherche du Québec – Nature et technologies (FRQNT), the province’s funding agency for science and engineering. In March 2020, she was nominated to the first Youth Council of the Chief Science Advisor of Canada, Dr. Mona Nemer.



Coming soon!

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