Environment and Climate Change Canada recently launched a request for proposals (RFP) under the Climate Action and Awareness Fund. Under that RFP, up to $59 million will be invested in projects that advance climate science and technology across Canada.

The fund supports climate science and technology innovation, as well as academia and think tank organizations to better understand Canada’s transition to net zero greenhouse gas emissions. The deadline to submit an application for this RFP is June 10, 2021.

The research themes include the following:

Theme 1: Informing carbon sink enhancements: nature-based climate solutions

Proposals should advance the quantification of, and reduce uncertainties in, our understanding of Canada’s carbon sinks to inform opportunities to employ Nature-Based Solutions to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions in Canada. The results should inform the development of integrated estimates of greenhouse gas emissions and removals from Canadian ecosystems, our understanding of how direct land management actions impact ecosystem carbon cycles, or our understanding of the potential role of carbon sinks in Canada’s greenhouse gas mitigation strategy. Also of interest are proposals that will inform Canada’s reporting on efforts to enhance natural carbon sinks, including the quantification of those actions, and will improve reliability and consistency in reporting methodologies for managed and unmanaged lands, wetland restoration, forestry and agricultural practices. Additionally, proposals could also address direct and/or indirect impacts on climate, air quality, ecosystem function, and biodiversity.

Theme 2: Understanding the potential for, and implications of, negative emission technologies

Proposals should advance our understanding of the extent to which technologies to remove carbon from the atmosphere — such as Direct Air Capture and Carbon Capture and Sequestration — may contribute to the net-zero goal. Proposals could explore the efficacy of different technologies and practices (including the development and testing of measurement tools), their economic viability, the risks associated with their use, and optimal policies for scaling up these technologies/practices (e.g., carbon price, tax credits). Also of interest are proposals that advance our understanding of potential environmental trade-offs and ecological or atmospheric parameters for validating large-scale quantitative assessments of emissions and removals resulting from intentional enhancement.

Theme 3: Understanding city- and municipal-level GHG emissions and mitigation effectiveness

Proposals should contribute to improving the quantification of GHG emissions and short-lived climate forcers at the city and municipal level, and enable the application of methods to identify mitigation opportunities and evaluate their effectiveness to augment national reporting processes (e.g., advancing the use of top-down atmospheric observations or bottom-up inventory-based approaches). Proposals could advance work related to atmospheric monitoring and modelling aimed at identifying emission reduction opportunities by source type and tracking changes in emissions (i.e., top-down approaches), as well as work to evaluate these top-down estimates against bottom-up emissions estimates. Proposals could also explore methodologies and protocols for using in-situ low-cost medium-precision GHG sensor technology to inform mitigation actions and evaluate effectiveness in a way that enables consistent application across Canada and aligns with international approaches.

Theme 4: Understanding multiple benefits of integrated mitigation approaches for greenhouse gases and air pollutants

Proposals should improve understanding of how greenhouse gas and air pollutant mitigation strategies impact both climate and air quality, recognizing that climate forcers and air pollutants frequently share common sources and climate forcers are often air pollutants themselves. This could include work to develop and apply new joint climate and air quality models and analysis frameworks to evaluate emission pathways for achieving net-zero GHG emissions and air quality objectives. Proposals aimed at quantifying the potential multiple benefits (e.g., reduced impact on human health and sensitive ecosystems) would also be valuable. This could include multidisciplinary studies across climate, air quality, health, and agriculture to understand the integrated impact of GHG and air pollutant mitigation.

Theme 5: Understanding and quantifying transportation sector emissions in Canada

Proposals should improve the characterization of travel behaviour in Canada (e.g., on-road public and private, including cars, trucks, buses, etc.) and inform improved inventory reporting and targeted policies to reduce GHG and air pollutant emissions, leveraging big data analytics, telematics, and other techniques. While there is high confidence in total transport emissions and some of the key drivers (e.g., total fuel consumption) and correlated variables (e.g., total number of vehicles), proposals are sought to address critical knowledge gaps in the more refined and geospatially resolved understanding of transportation emissions, such as use patterns of where, when, and what types of vehicles are driven over what distances or modal preferences. Proposals could also examine how travel patterns respond to significant changes, such as pandemics, socio-economic shocks, or extreme events, to quantify changes in travel patterns over time and modal shifts.

Application process

The RFP includes a two-step application process consisting of a letter of intent phase and a full proposal phase. Applicants who submit successful letters of intent will be invited to develop and submit full proposals.

Using the template provided on the Government of Canada’s Grants and Contributions Enterprise Management System (GCEMS), applicants will develop a letter of intent, which must be submitted by June 10, 2021. An Applicant Guide available on GCEMS contains detailed information on this request for proposals. We strongly suggest you complete the registration process well in advance of the deadline.

The applicant guide outlines the information that will be sought in the second phase, however the organizations who are invited to submit a full proposal will receive further instruction at a later date.

Note: Eligible applicants may apply more than once to this request for proposals as a lead applicant, and/or support more than one proposal as a supporting applicant or partner, under more than one research theme. Supporting applicants and partners can support more than one application. All proposals will be assessed on their individual merit.

For specific questions about the advancing climate change science and technology request for proposals, contact ec.fasc-caaf.ec@canada.ca.

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