Marco Zenone's project investigates Canada’s role in leading and supporting global initiatives to reduce commercial influence over food systems.

FHS student wins 2019 International Policy Ideas Challenge

October 16, 2019

Faculty of Health Sciences graduate student Marco Zenone was recently named as a winner of Global Affairs Canada and SSHRC’s International Policy Ideas Challenge. The Challenge is a national competition engaging graduate students and postdoctoral fellows in identifying concrete, innovative solutions to emerging international policy challenges faced by Canada.

“My project will investigate Canada’s role in leading and supporting global initiatives that reduce commercial influence over food systems,” says Zenone. “This is important because transnational processed food and beverage companies actively lobby for global nutritional standards and policies favourable to their products, which are rarely in the interest of health.”

Zenone, who completed his BA Hons. in Health Sciences at SFU in 2018 and is now pursuing his MSc concentrating in health policy, says being selected as a winner was humbling. “I am excited to work with Global Affairs Canada on this important topic and have the opportunity to present the research to policymakers and stakeholders in Ottawa.”

As one of only ten winners of the International Policy Ideas Challenge, he will have the opportunity to develop his skills in translating academic expertise into policy language and then present his policy briefs to Government of Canada officials at an Ideas Symposium in November.

His project is also well aligned with his future plans. Following graduation, Zenone intends to pursue further education and experiential learning opportunities related to global health governance. “However, while plans are often well-intentioned, they rarely work as designed,” he notes. “For now, I am planning to enjoy the last year of my Master of Science and the research I’m involved in.”

Zenone also works for BC Children’s Hospital and is a lead member of the Vancouver-based social enterprise, Bridge for Health. He has been recognized with numerous awards for community activism, including as a recipient of the Surrey Top 25 Under 25 and as a Canadian National Cooperative Champion.