Theme Partnership Program


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Theme Partnership Program

"I would like to alert BC researchers, who have the ambition and vision for achieving high-impact climate change solutions, to our flagship Theme Partnership Program. Applications are now open for the $1M Theme Partnership Program which supports research into particularly complex—and critically important—climate mitigation and adaptation challenges.

Theme projects involve interdisciplinary teams of researchers and climate solution decision-makers (from the private and public sector) working together on thematic areas of high complexity and impact – from project outset, to results implementation. These projects generate not only new knowledge, but also build international leadership within British Columbia’s research community, which will help drive further innovation in critical thematic areas. 

We are excited to offer BC-led teams this opportunity to pursue potential game-changers for combatting, and adapting to, climate change, and to be leaders in the emerging low-carbon economy.” PICS Executive Director, Sybil Seitzinger

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.

Theme projects require three kinds of contributing partners:

  • 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,

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


Theme Partnership Awards (to date)

Solid Carbon: A Climate Mitigation Partnership Advancing Stable Negative Emissions. Project lead: Kate Moran, Ocean Networks Canada

A team of international researchers plan to turn the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide into rock by permanently injecting it beneath the Earth’s ocean floor. The Solid Carbon project involves researchers from Canada, the United States and Europe, as well as industry and government. The vision is to extract CO2 from the atmosphere using a direct air capture technology developed in BC. Then, using deep ocean technology powered by ocean-based wind and solar energy, inject the CO2 into the subseafloor basalt, where it will mineralize and remain permanently as rock. State-of-the-art technologies behind renewable energy production, carbon capture, offshore drilling, and carbon mineralization will come together in this feasibility study. The four-year project officially begins Oct. 1, 2019, with the ultimate goal of making viable the delivery of a globally applicable ocean-based negative emissions technology by 2050.

See media release about this project.