Opportunity Projects Program




Generating Climate Solutions: partnerships for new ideas, new approaches, new entrants.

The Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions is a catalyst for developing climate solutions. We support an approach to research that defines meaningful activities focused on partnerships and engagement, helping solution seekers become effective solution makers, from question to collaboration, and idea to action.

Our collaborative research approach means we aim to contribute to climate solutions by bringing together the necessary knowledge, expertise, skills, and networks to solve pressing problems and realize opportunities. We encourage project partnerships that combine science with practice and link research with action to tackle real-world climate problems.

The PICS collaborative model relies on three kinds of contributing partners:

  • Solution Partners bring practical, domain knowledge and experience. They play a key role in identifying and framing the problem, developing solutions and supporting the application of results, helping to translate theory to action. Solution Partners may be based in private sector, governmental or non-governmental organizations.
  • Research Partners bring theoretical knowledge and experience, research skills and academic excellence to the project to help generate and transform novel ideas to produce new knowledge and social, technical and institutional innovations.
  • The PICS Partner is a knowledge broker that supports relationships and networks; provides training and financial support. We are a catalyst for action, engagement and communication to help realize and track intended outcomes and impacts.

Opportunity Projects Program

We invite proposals for high-quality, innovative research projects in areas of high potential for impact in climate change mitigation and adaptation including emerging and novel issues. With a commitment to build human resource capacity in BC, the program mandates participation by research faculty at one of our four collaborating universities with half of funds granted allocated to support graduate students and postdoctoral fellows. The program is open to researchers in BC and beyond.

Quick facts:

- Each award is capped at $60,000 per year for a total program allocation of up to $600,000 annually.
- Projects must involve solutions seekers and research partners.
- There is no restriction on the number or location of researchers, but proposals should be relevant to BC and include participation of BC researchers. At least half of project costs must be allocated to salaries of graduate students and postdocs at one of PICS’ research universities.
- Project duration shall not exceed three years.

The next call for proposals will be in late Apriil 20189. For background information, read the 2018 Guide for Applicants for the Opportunity Projects Program. If you have questions, please contact us at picsopp@uvic.ca.


OPP Projects awarded funding 

Four projects have been awarded funding from the 2018 Call for Proposals. The projects will address either climate change mitigation and/or adaptation, specifically—thermal energy storage; adaptive management of coastal kelp and fisheries by First Nations; designing a multi-family residential buildings framework that incorporates climate mitigation and adaptation needs, and developing an open-access, climate-adapted planning tool for conservation land and protected areas. More detailed descriptions below:

Integration of Mobile Thermal Storage in City of Surrey’s District Energy Network . Project lead: Majid Bahrami, SFU

District energy networks can play a central role in reducing building-related emissions due to their high efficiency and the flexibility they offer for integrating energy from renewable sources. The building sector is a major contributor to GHG emissions in Canada and worldwide. In collaboration with the City of Surrey and Canmet ENERGY, this project aims to develop a novel modular (scalable) thermochemical-based mobile thermal energy storage (M-TES). The proposed system will be capable of capturing waste heat from distributed, non-connected sources and moving this heat to connect into a district energy system. The heat stored in the M-TES can be used for load shaping and to offset requirements for generating peak power from non-renewable sources. The resulting benefits from this project include a reduced reliance on non-renewable fuels for peak loads, reduced carbon emissions and lower operating costs. The project will serve as an example for sustainable energy initiatives in other municipalities in BC and beyond.


Climate Adaptive Planning for British Columbia. Project lead: Oscar Venter, UNBC

There is currently no planning tool available that takes into account future climate change when establishing protected areas in British Columbia (BC) and projecting impacts on natural systems. This project, in partnership with The Nature Trust, Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society and the BC Parks Foundation, will address the core question: How can we adapt our conservation plans in BC to minimize the impacts of a changing climate?  The first online, open-access, fully operable and user-friendly tool will be developed to support climate–adapted systematic conservation planning across BC. This tool will be accessible and flexible for diverse user groups, as well as updatable with future enhancements in understanding climate change in BC.


Designing solutions to the hidden impacts of climate change on Canada’s undersea forests.  Project lead: Anne Salomon, SFU

In 2015 First Nations communities on central BC’s coast observed an expansive outbreak of an encrusting bryozoan. This outbreak occurred in correlation with extreme ocean temperature anomalies (“warm blob”) in the northeast Pacific Ocean. Giant kelps were heavily encrusted by the bryozoan, causing them to sink to the seafloor where they rapidly disintegrated. This project—in partnership with the Central Coast Indigenous Resource Alliance that encompasses all four First Nations of BC’s central coast (Heiltsuk Nation, Kitasoo/ Xai’ xais Nation, Nuxalk Nation and the Wuikinuxv Nation)—will determine whether adaptive management of traditional community-based kelp harvest and herring spawn-on-kelp fisheries can minimize the negative impact of temperature-induced bryozoan outbreaks. This project aims to enhance the resilience of both kelp forest ecosystems and coastal communities to climate change.


Adaptive Mitigation: A framework for assessing synergies, conflicts, opportunities and trade-offs between climate change mitigation and adaptation in urban neighbourhoods. Project lead: Stephanie Chang UBC

In partnership with BC Housing, this project will investigate how strategies for adaptation and mitigation in urban neighbourhoods intersect, focusing specifically on multi-family residential buildings and their immediate context, in order to maximize the opportunity for “shelter-in-place”—or safety within the building one occupies. The research goal is to develop an integrated building adaptation and mitigation assessment (IBAMA) framework and tool to help decision-makers identify solutions that simultaneously incorporate both elements. The long-term objective is that the IBAMA framework will influence future building codes, standards, and construction best practices in both British Columbia and abroad.