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Applications now open for inaugural Ian Reid Scholarship

We’re proud to announce that applications are now open for The Ian Reid Scholarship! This new award was established in collaboration with the Douglas Coldwell Layton Foundation for Social Democracy and Paul Degenstein—our beloved former Senior Partner and Chief Creative Officer—in memory of Paul’s late husband, Ian Reid, and in celebration of his lifelong commitment to making life better for Canadians.

Established earlier this year, The Ian Reid Scholarship will be awarded annually to students committed to working in politics to promote the values and goals of social democracy. It is intended specifically for those pursuing careers in political research, strategy, and communications.

The scholarship also recognizes the role of 2SLGBTQ+ people in the social democratic movement. And it seeks to encourage greater racial, cultural, economic and gender inclusion around the decision-making table—to create public policy that better meets the needs and aspirations of everyone.

With annual prizes of $1,500 and $1,000, the new scholarship is open to students from any Canadian public post-secondary institution enrolled in an undergraduate degree. Find full eligibility details here. Applications are due by June 23, 2024.

The Douglas Coldwell Layton Foundation for Social Democracy is proud to have been chosen by Ian’s dearest friends and family to be the home for this scholarship in his memory.

About Ian Reid 

Ian Reid spent his political career supporting and advising social democratic leaders and the New Democratic Party. Ian believed in the necessity of political work and the potential of social democracy as a force for good. He believed that listening and learning from people was the starting point in making positive change. He was a passionate advocate for using research as an instrument to do that and to develop messages that speak to people’s hearts and minds. His goal was to elect progressive governments and put in place policies that make a difference in people’s lives.

For many years, Ian was the Head of Opinion Research for the NDP government in British Columbia. In that role and others, he was one of Canada’s most brilliant research experts. He was able to cut through the noise, identify trends, and draw insights from what he heard. He made research useable for campaigners, communicators, and policy-makers—so that we could better connect with our audiences, speak to their aspirations, shape policy and meet their needs.

As a political researcher, Ian was also a pioneer. He humanized the demographic groupings in polling. Long before it became a standard practice, he had campaigns put names and faces to people within those groupings, and discuss the daily challenges those diverse individuals face, to strengthen our understanding of where they’re coming from and what they’re looking for.

Ian continued his work through 12 years of a terminal illness, serving at the end of his career as Chief of Staff to Carole James. He died in 2014 at age 58. His three children—Jordan, Shamus, and Alexis—carry forward his work in politics, advocacy, and government.