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Rob MacIsaac Fellowship

“I am proud to be associated with these highly talented students through this fellowship program. The recipients will make a great contribution to broadening the horizons of knowledge in the field of public transportation,”
                                                                                           - Rob MacIsaac

About the Program

The Rob MacIsaac Fellowship program, a biennial program, was introduced in 2011 to inspire innovative student research in a vast array of fields, in honor of Metrolinx’s first Chair, Mr. Rob MacIsaac. The Fellowship Program offers a unique study and work opportunity for students enrolled in a university or college program, in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA).

Through the program, Fellows get the opportunity to explore their research interest, as it relates to Metrolinx’s mandate, under the guidance of a senior Metrolinx staff member and through summer work experience.

Metrolinx’s day-to-day operations have many moving parts that rely on many functions across the organization. In the past, student work has included diverse fields as universal design, dynamic transit models using new technologies, electrification of bus systems, accessible communication systems on public transit, active transportation for students, travel activity modelling, and more.

Given the breadth of our organization, students with interests in, but not limited to, the list below, are encouraged to apply:

  • Architecture and Urban Design
  • Business and Public Administration
  • Communications and Public Affairs
  • Customer Experience and Marketing
  • Data Science and Big Data
  • Economics
  • Engineering
  • Environmental Studies
  • Infrastructure and Construction
  • Risk Management
  • Safety and Security
  • Transit Operations
  • Transportation and Land Use Planning and Policy

The Program:

During the application process, fellows identify a research topic of their choosing to be matched with relevant Metrolinx functions. If chosen, the program is comprised of two terms:

  • Academic Research Term (January - April): Fellows identify an academic supervisor at their academic institution and are matched with a senior Metrolinx staff member based on the research proposal submitted with their application. ,
  • Work Term (May - August): Fellows complete a paid internship, under the guidance of their senior Metrolinx staff member, to gain hands on experience.

What We Look For

We welcome innovative, creative and novel research proposals grounded in any field of study (refer to “About the Program” tab above).


  • The applicant must be enrolled in an Ontario university or college at the time of application in a graduate or undergraduate program;
  • The applicant must identify an academic advisor at their academic institution, who will support their research project.
  • The applicant must be able to undertake their research project remotely, at their current academic institution, under the guidance of an academic advisor, on a topic that contributes to the requirements of their degree.

Application & Recruitment Process

Stay tuned for more information in late-2021 about joining the 2022 cohort of Fellows!

When the application period is open (beginning in October 2021), you will be able to apply for the program through the Metrolinx Career page here. Your application must consist of a cover letter, resume and research project proposal (maximum 500 words) that describes:

  • The proposed research topic specifying;
    • How the research project is relevant to one (or more) of Metrolinx’s functions,
    • How it will contribute to and enhance Metrolinx’s work,
    • Where it could potentially fit within the organization and
    • How it is innovative;
  • Any specific requirements that you need from Metrolinx, to complete your proposed research project (e.g. access to data); and
  • The name of your academic advisor.

The Recruitment Process

The recruitment process is divided into two parts:

  1. Applicants will submit a resume, cover letter and research proposal as described in the job posting on the Metrolinx Career page.
    • Applications (cover letter, resume and 500-word project proposal) must be submitted electronically through our careers webpage.
  2. Based on a review of applications, a shortlist of candidates will be asked to come in for an interview. Please not that only those selected for an interview will be contacted.
    • Candidates will be interviewed by a panel that will introduce the Fellowship program and ask candidates a set of questions. Candidates’ answers will be scored using a set of established criteria.
    • Candidates will be asked to prepare a 20 minute presentation on their proposed research. Presentations will be scored using predetermined criteria.
    • We will reach out to all those who were interviewed to let them know whether they were accepted into the Fellowship program or not.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Tell me more about Metrolinx.
A: Metrolinx, an agency of the Government of Ontario and was formed in 2006 with a mandate to improve the coordination and integration of all modes of transportation in the Greater Golden Horseshoe. The organization’s mission is to champion, develop and implement an integrated transit system for our region that enhances prosperity, sustainability and quality of life.

As an organization we strive to form strong and meaningful partnerships with academic institutions across the region. The Rob MacIsaac Fellowship Program was introduced in 2011 to inspire innovation in the field of transportation, in honour of Metrolinx’s first Chair, Rob MacIsaac, and to foster the creation of partnerships with academic institutions.

Metrolinx is a recognized “top employer” in the GTHA. Interested students should refer to our website to learn more about our organization and see the full spectrum of projects that are currently underway.

Q: When does the program start and end?
A: The program runs from January to August of any given year. The next program round is slated to begin in 2022.

Q: How does the program accommodate for the Fellow’s academic commitments?
A: The research term will begin in January and run through to the end of April. During the research term the Fellow works independently to produce a research paper, with guidance from their Metrolinx advisor and academic supervisor, at their academic institution. This allows the Fellow to attend classes and balance other academic responsibilities as required.

The work term, will run from May to August. This term runs during the summer months when the Fellow does not typically have classes to attend. During this term the Fellow works at one of Metrolinx’s offices as an intern, under the supervision of their Metrolinx advisor.

Q: Will there be compensation?
A: The Fellow will receive two grants - one grant for completing their research term and the other for completing their work term. During the work term, the Fellow will also be compensated with an hourly wage.

Q: Who is eligible to apply?
A: The applicant must be enrolled in an Ontario university or college at the time of application, in a graduate or undergraduate program. The applicant must be able to undertake their research project at their current academic institution, under the guidance of an academic advisor, on a topic that contributes to the requirements of their degree.

Meet the 2022 Fellows

Kelly Mok

Kelly Mok – Kelly is currently in the final year of her undergraduate degree in medical science, specializing in epidemiology and biostatistics, at Western University. Her project focused on measuring the accessibility impacts of bus rapid transit services with a social equity lens.

  • Academic Advisor: Dr. Jinhyung Lee, (Department of Geography, UWO)
  • Metrolinx Advisor: Sara Dibe, (Senior Advisor, Network Planning)

Saba Sabet

Saba Sabet – Saba is a Ph.D. student in the Transportation Engineering program at Ryerson University where their research focuses on Smart Mobility using Alternative Fuel Vehicles, Connectivity and Automation Technologies, and Transit Planning. Her research has focused on the Wi-Fi Positioning Systems in the GO Transit system for Mobility Analytics.

  • Academic Advisor: Dr. Jinhyung Lee, (Department of Geography, UWO)
  • Metrolinx Advisor: Sara Dibe, (Senior Advisor, Network Planning)

What do they have to say?

Rob MacIsaac Fellows have gone on to further their studies and work in diverse fields! Here’s what they had to say about the program and how it has benefited their career development.

"The Fellowship is a fantastic program to partake in and has given me a launching pad to further my research where I was able to combine my interests pertaining to accessibility and Human Resources. It has provided me with invaluable experience to explore different elements of accessibility research and it is very encouraging to see how this research is helping to shape the region of tomorrow. The support I received from my team was nothing short of amazing. Those I worked with directly influenced me and helped provide the tools I needed to explore my interest surrounding accessibility and HR applications.”

- Caroline Neasmith, 2018 Fellow

"One of the most valuable parts of the Fellowship program is the opportunity to observe and be exposed to the planning and decision-making processes that happen in a large, complex regional transportation agency. It is hard to understand the real-world transportation landscape from a classroom – working at Metrolinx has given me greater perspective on the different economic, strategic, political, environmental, legal, and financial intricacies that must be considered in transportation planning. These are lessons that are widely transferable and I will carry with me throughout my academic and professional career."

- Janelle Lee, 2018 Fellow

"The Fellowship program provides an invaluable experience to conduct meaningful research that will help shape the region. It is a truly unique chance to define the scope of your work and tailor it to your research interests. The level of support and guidance I received from the Sustainability Team from beginning to end and beyond was second-to-none. As you are a full member of your Metrolinx team, you will contribute to the ongoing projects in addition to your research project. The Rob MacIsaac Fellowship has really helped jump start my career."

- Jennifer Evola, 2016 Fellow

"The Fellowship program was an excellent experience. My research was multidisciplinary joining operational, environmental and economic impacts of the GO bus fleet. Metrolinx helped tremendously by providing resources needed to help materialize my ideas. I was welcomed by several groups and was able to establish great working relationships with experienced staff. Overall the Fellowship provided a one in a life time opportunity to apply my academic research in to the real world. The work internship component opened my eyes to the endless career opportunities in transportation planning.”

- Abena Addo, 2016 Fellow

"Are you looking to build your career in transportation planning? This is the right program for you. The Fellowship program provided me with an incredible opportunity to bring my interests and research into the real world. Experienced Metrolinx staff provided guidance and motivation which helped me develop my ideas and turn them into reality."

- Matthew Canaran, 2014 Fellow