Wildfire Resilience Research Contribution Program:        
PICS Invitation for Letters of Intent 

The risks and impacts associated with catastrophic wildfires are rapidly increasing in B.C. and around the world. 

This challenge requires research and actions that will strengthen the resilience of our ecosystems and communities, while establishing new relationships and ways of working together that weave academic research with diverse knowledges across Indigenous Nations, communities, governments, and industry.

In support of this collaborative knowledge ecosystem around the critical issue of wildfire, PICS invites Letters of Intent (LOI) from researchers in our university network (UBC, UNBC, UVic, SFU) who are leading projects with diverse partners that are applying to the Natural Resources Canada (NRCan)  Build and Mobilize Foundational Wildland Fire Knowledge Program

Teams that are developing proposals to NRCan may secure a portion of their required match funding from PICS through a competitive Letter of Intent process. Project teams selected by PICS through this LOI process will receive a letter of commitment for PICS funding to be included in their NRCan applications.

PICS contributions will range from $75,000 to $250,000 per project. PICS anticipates funding in the range of 4 to 6 projects and will only provide funding for projects that are approved through the NRCan decision-making process.

Please read ALL Letter of Intent invitation information below, as well as details and guidelines for the Natural Resources Canada’s Build and Mobilize Foundational Wildland Fire Knowledge Program, prior to considering submission of a Letter of Intent.

You can find the full Guide to Applicants here.

Important dates

  • Thursday March 21, 2024: PICS LOI opportunity opens
  • Thursday April 18, 2024: PICS LOI opportunity closes (4:00 p.m. Pacific Time)
  • Friday May 3, 2024: PICS LOI decisions communicated
  • Friday May 14, 2024: NRCan application intake closes  

PICS and the wildfire resilience challenge

The Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions networks leading B.C.-based universities to co-generate research with partners that is strength-based and solutions focused. PICS has a history of engaging in and supporting research and partnerships on wildfire.

Given the scale and complexity of the wildfire issues facing B.C., PICS remains committed to supporting transdisciplinary research collaborations and networking opportunities that help address this pressing issue.

This leveraged funding call is designed to support diverse teams working towards collaborative and applied research for BC regarding wildfire resilience, which consider the importance of core pillars focused on:

  • Climate Justice, Wellbeing and Biodiversity
  • Policy, Practice, and Technology
  • Community and Place

About Natural Resources Canada’s  Build and Mobilize Foundational Wildland Fire Knowledge Program

The  Build and Mobilize Foundational Wildland Fire Knowledge Program will address gaps in foundational knowledge by developing and evaluating wildland fire risk assessment and risk mitigation strategies and technologies that support communities and agencies with reducing wildfire risk in the face of a changing climate.

The primary strategic outcome sought by the program is the reduction of near and long-term financial barriers to deploying wildfire prevention and mitigation strategies at all levels (public, private and non-governmental). The focus of the call includes technical and economic feasibility of prevention and mitigation strategies, as well as policy design and social/behavioural interventions to mobilize action to reduce risk.

The program is supporting two types of projects – collaborative research and demonstration sites – and three research priority areas: wildfire risk assessment, wildfire risk mitigation, and adaptative forestry practices. NRCan launched an external funding call on March 20 that is open until May 14.

Full details about the program and priorities, as well as the application process can be found on the Build and Mobilize Foundational Wildland Fire Knowledge page.

The Opportunity: PICS LOI funding

PICS is inviting Letters of Intent (LOI) from researchers in our university network (UBC, UNBC, UVic, SFU) who are leading projects with diverse partners that are applying to the Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) Build and Mobilize Foundational Wildland Fire Knowledge Program.

Teams that are developing proposals to NRCan may secure a portion of their required match funding from PICS through a competitive Letter of Intent process. Project teams selected by PICS through this LOI process will receive a letter of commitment for PICS funding to be included in their NRCan applications. PICS contributions will range from $75,000 to $250,000 per project. PICS anticipates funding in the range of four to six projects and will only provide funding for projects that are approved through the NRCan decision-making process.

Successful projects will be required to share their final approved NRCan proposal and budget with PICS, which details how PICS funds will be used. PICS will then enter into a funding relationship with successful projects via a funding agreement. PICS will flow 75 per cent of committed funds at the time of project initiation. The remainder of funding will flow at a time agreed upon with the project lead.

You can find the full Guide to Applicants here.

The Criteria: LOI decision framework

The PICS funding contribution is intended to incentivize collaboration within and across PICS universities and their larger networks of partners.

PICS will provide a contribution for projects that align with NRCan program themes and research topics, placing priority on projects that:

  • co-production and multiple ways of knowing including diverse scholarly and community-based teams;
  • centre perspectives, knowledges and leadership from Indigenous peoples and local communities;
  • integrate a whole ecosystem approach (that considers the range of values associated with forested ecosystems);
  • incorporate convening and knowledge mobilization to amplify and scale-up solutions;
  • provide clear pathways to enable knowledge to action application for communities, practioners, and/or decisionmakers.

PICS will seek projects inclusive of a diverse range of experiences, individuals and groups. We will also be considering geographic, disciplinary, and institutional diversity and inclusion of varied ecosystems and wildfire regimes in our wildfire project selection and overall matching portfolio.

Applications that have strong elements of Indigenous inclusion and leadership, as well as consideration of multiple ways of knowing, and translate meaningful benefits to Nations are highly encouraged.

The Process: LOI selection steps

The PICS LOI selection process will involve two steps:

Step 1: PICS scoring and ranking process

A team of PICS staff will independently review, assess, and score each application using the criteria included above and detailed in the Guide to Applicants. The scores will then be combined to seek alignment and establish final ranking. The scoring and ranking, along with the LOIs will then be shared with an external review committee.

Step 2: External decision review process

An external committee of two to three external experts will receive a scoring and ranking summary, along with the LOIs. The committe will provide critical feedback and perspectives to inform final decisions.