Research Engagement Program

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Research that is co-designed, co-developed and co-delivered

The PICS approach to research focuses on partnerships and engagement, helping solution seekers become effective solution makers, from question to collaboration, and idea to action. Our collaborative research model requires three kinds of contributing partners within each project:

  • 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.
  • Solution Seekers bring practical, domain knowledge and experience. They play a key role in identifying and framing the problem, developing solutions that are not only useful but used, and supporting the application of results, helping to translate theory to action. Solution Seekers may be based in private sector, governmental or non-governmental organizations.
  • The PICS Partner is a convener, knowledge broker and active project partner that works to ensure that the project is innovative and impactful from project onset to completion. PICS provides financial, engagement and communication support aimed at bridge-building between engaged research and evidence-based practice through the proposal development stage,

Our partnership approach—from project outset to result implementation—means Solution Seekers not only use and benefit from our research, but help design it in the first place, thereby ensuring it remains relevant. 

PICS has launched two new programs under this model: one tackles highly complex climate change challenges, and the other targets quicker turnaround, climate solutions innovation. 

Opportunity Projects Program

How does a researcher get started on climate solutions? How does a new idea, never before tested, get off the ground? Our new Opportunity Project Program aims to advance new entrants and unleash emerging leaders with innovative ideas and approaches. The targeted and relatively short-term focus of this program will encourage researchers to take bold, but calculated, risks in pursuit of high-impact results, in partnership with their Solution Seeker partners. 

Applications for the latest funding round closed August 2, 2019. Please read the 2019 Guide for Applicants for details. Visit the Opportunity Projects Program page for information about currently funded projects. For further enquiries, please contact

Quick facts:

  • Each award is capped at $60,000 per year, for a maximum three-year duration.
  • 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.
  • Applications must be submitted by the project team’s Principle Investigator, who must be a full-time faculty member at one of the four PICS universities (Research Partner).
  • There is a total program allocation of up to $600,000 annually.

Theme Partnership Program

PICS $1 Million Theme Partnership Program supports research into particularly complex—and critically important—climate mitigation and adaptation challenges. Theme projects will connect top researchers with policy, industry and community leaders to develop climate solutions and legacy partnerships for British Columbia and beyond. We invite project proposals that aspire to build global leadership in climate solutions.

Theme Partnership Program Objectives

  1. To stimulate the development and implementation of highly impactful climate change adaptation and mitigation solutions by interdisciplinary teams of researchers and climate solution seekers working together on thematic areas of high complexity.
  2. To establish durable long-term partnerships that will exist beyond the nominal term of the project and build capacity for tackling ongoing climate change problems into the future.
  3. To build international leadership in the BC research community around climate change solutions in key thematic areas.

Quick facts

  • Projects will be funded to a maximum of $250,000 per year, per project for up to four years.
  • Application involves a two-phase review process beginning with a letter of intent (LOI) submitted by a full-time faculty member from a PICS university—i.e. the University of Victoria, University of British Columbia, Simon Fraser University or the University of Northern British Columbia. Selected candidates are then invited to complete a full proposal.
  • Projects must involve a Solution Seeker partner in the design, development and results implementation. Participation of researchers from more than one PICS university is encouraged.
  • There is no restriction on the number or location of researchers, but proposals should be relevant to BC.
  • At least half of project costs must be allocated to salaries of graduate students and post-doctoral fellows at one of PICS’ research universities.

One award will be made from this call, and the deadline to submit a Letter of Intent is 14 February, 2020. For more information, please read the news release and Theme Partnership application guide. For further enquiries, including to discuss a project idea or fit with the program, please contact