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Behavioural scientist, Dr. Vincent Hopkins, joins policy school as an assistant professor

The Johnson Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy (JSGS) is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Vince Hopkins (PhD) as an assistant professor at its University of Saskatchewan (USask) campus effective July 1, 2021.

The Johnson Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy (JSGS) is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Vince Hopkins (PhD) as an assistant professor at its University of Saskatchewan (USask) campus effective July 1, 2021.

“We are very pleased to welcome Vince to our joint provincial school and have him bring both his academic and practical expertise and experience to our classrooms,” said Dr. Loleen Berdahl (PhD), JSGS executive director. “In addition to his rigorous academic training and research in areas of social policy and inequality, Vince has a deep understanding of applied public policy analysis having worked with both federal and provincial governments throughout his career.” 

With a PhD in political science from Simon Fraser University and an MA in public policy and public administration from Concordia University, Hopkins has spent the last two years as a senior behavioural scientist with the Government of British Columbia. During this time, he ran randomized controlled trials, helped ministries use behavioural science to improve public policy, supported the provincial pandemic response, and delivered workshops to hundreds of BC public servants. Before this, he served as a policy analyst with the Government of Canada’s Inuit Relations Secretariat and Treasury Board Secretariat. He has also served as a visiting scholar at the University of Michigan and a doctoral fellow at the Canadian Study of Parliament Group.

“I'm thrilled to join JSGS. The School has an amazing reputation because of its unique blend of scholarship and engaged instruction,” said Hopkins. “I'm especially excited to meet the students, and use my teaching to help build the next generation of policy leaders."

In addition to his practical experience and academic teaching, Hopkins has a strong record of accomplishment in securing research funds, including awards and grants from Mitacs and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. He has published on such topics as agenda control, accountability and interest group lobbying, as well as institutions, incentives, and policy entrepreneurship in leading international journals such as Governance and Policy Studies Journal.

Passionate about both his work as a behavioural scientist and issues related to social policy and inequality, Hopkins’ research will examine behavioural barriers to Canada’s economic recovery from COVID-19. He will also explore how governments can make it easier for low-income and marginalized populations to access benefits by improving the design and delivery of poverty alleviation programs.

“My research uses behavioural science to reduce inequality and improve access to social services—which is a vital issue right now,” said Hopkins. “As Canada starts looking at economic recovery from COVID-19, there's an urgent need for a behaviourally informed approach—one that's evidence-based and human-centred.”

Given the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on women, Indigenous Peoples, visible minorities, and low-income Canadians, his research holds great promise for providing support for those who need it most.

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