NS Govlab

NS GovLab offers the opportunity for Nova Scotians to re-imagine Nova Scotia’s future with an aging population.

NS GovLab isn’t like other government initiatives. We’re approaching things differently and looking for people who want to work with government in a different way. NS GovLab is an opportunity to combine knowledge and test ideas to better understand how we can thrive with an aging population.

We’re looking for a diverse group of people who are interested in making change and who want to learn how to improve their chances. By connecting people with different backgrounds, experiences and knowledge around an aging population, we can generate new insights and ideas to test and learn from.


Fellows will make a yearlong commitment to:

  • challenge themselves and their assumptions
  • learn and apply social innovation theories and approaches
  • take a deeper dive into the impacts and opportunities of an aging population
  • acquire a new toolkit of methods and tools for problem-solving in complex spaces
  • develop a community of like-minded people committed to reimagining their work with an aging population.

The fellowship is a 1-year commitment consisting of 2 parts:

Part 1: Foundations (6 months)

Your cohort will gather on a regular basis to learn the foundational approaches of NS GovLab.

You will develop capacity to approach problems in complex spaces through a combination of group exercises, self-reflection and group work by exploring two design challenge questions:

  • How might we create a province where people can age at home and stay connected to their community?
  • How might we foster connections across generations and cultures to create resilient communities in Nova Scotia that can adapt to their changing demographics?

Part 2: Collaborative practice (6 months)

You’ll build a community of practice by applying skills you learned in Part 1 to a real-world challenge related to population aging. You set the schedule and choose the design challenge, in consultation with the NS GovLab leadership team and your colleagues.

Who should apply

NS GovLab is looking for diverse, creative and open-minded people who aren’t afraid to work outside their comfort zones. We’re looking for makers and doers passionate about building a different future. We want to support new approaches that make us reconsider the ways in which Nova Scotia responds and adapts to an aging population.

Diversity and inclusion are key to our work. We’re looking for people of all ages, backgrounds, education levels, and from all regions of the province. We welcome those who identify as Indigenous People, African Nova Scotians, other racially visible persons, persons with disabilities, new Canadians and those from lower income households.

To remove potential cost barriers, we have partial and full bursaries.

You should be prepared to:

  • attend all sessions during the annual fellowship
  • challenge your assumptions about yourself, your areas of interest, and the connections between the two
  • test and refine your ideas that aim to address the impacts of an aging population in Nova Scotia
  • work in different ways and with different people and organizations

If you are interested in how we work, read this  blog post on our principles.

If you are interested in the experiences of previous fellows, you can learn about their experience on our blog or on our Twitter feed.

Time commitment

If you are selected for the NS GovLab Fellowship, you are committing to a minimum of 40 days over the year:

  • 15 days of face-to-face gatherings during Part 1: Foundations (dates will be provided during the next phase of selection)
  • up to 12 group coaching sessions (virtual or in-person)
  • 25 days of self-driven individual and group work in between face-to-face sessions and in Part 2 of the fellowship
  • completing a criminal records check and vulnerable sector check (if you’re selected)

How to apply

You can apply to be a fellow as an individual or through your work/volunteer role. If you apply as an individual, you agree to cover the costs associated with the fellowship (like the criminal records check and travel costs for meetings). To help ensure that everyone who wants to be an NS GovLab fellow can participate, a limited number of partial and full bursaries are available to cover these costs.

If you are applying through your work or volunteer role, then we need to know your organization is aware of your participation and supports you. Therefore, you’ll need to submit a letter of endorsement from your organization.

Step 1: Apply

Application closes 23 April at 11:59 pm.

Complete the online application. We recommend you download the Fellowship Application Package before applying. This document contains additional details about the fellowship and the application questions to review before applying.

If you’re applying through your work, you must submit a letter of endorsement. This letter from your organization will outline their commitment to:

  • give you enough time to fully participate in NS GovLab activities
  • cover the costs related to participation (travel expenses)
  • learn about NS GovLab and explore how the organization can participate and collaborate in solutions that come out of it

The letter of endorsement can be emailed to NSGovLab@novascotia.ca.

Step 2: Conversation with NS GovLab Co-Leads

A short list of people will be invited to have a conversation with NS GovLab’s Leadership Team, who design, facilitate and evaluate the lab’s activities. The conversation helps the Leadership team get to know the applicants a bit better. This also gives you a chance to discuss the opportunity and determine if the fellowship is a good fit for you.

Step 3: Selection

After the conversations, the Leadership Team will select fellows based on candidate fit and overall diversity of the group. This will in no way be a reflection on individual’s work or value. We will have difficult decisions to make as we can only accept 25 fellows to each cohort. All applicants will be contacted with the outcome of their application.

Important dates

Application opens 8 April
Application closes 23 April at 11:59 pm
Conversations with Leadership team – 25 April – 1 May
Notification sent out to all applicants re: status of application - no later than 6 May
Orientation retreat 27-30 May