The BC Ministry of Agriculture and Food (AF) has completed preliminary work that showed the potential for broad groups of on-farm beneficial management practices (BMPs) to help farmers and ranchers achieve reductions in net greenhouse gas emissions (Agricultural Greenhouse Gas Study, 2021). With the Climate and Environment Research Fund, AF is looking to build on this work by addressing knowledge gaps with on-farm BMPs that have high potential to sequester carbon or reduce GHG emissions. The Faculty of Land and Food Systems (LFS) aims to support this work using an internal funding framework similar to that used for its Internal Research Grant Program (IRGP).

AF is interested primarily in BMPs that fall under the following priority areas:

  • Riparian, grassland, and habitat management (mitigation/carbon sequestration focus)
  • Soil health including carbon sequestration
  • Nutrient management
  • Waste management (i.e. Organic matter, CO2, methane and other mitigation)
  • Mitigation and carbon sequestration BMPs on the S-CAP national list (see Appendix)

AF suggests that the above target areas could be addressed through the following types of research activities:

  • Experimental research: New and existing BMP development including:
    • Defining practices
    • Quantifying BMP outcomes (e.g. GHG emission factors, co-benefits, economics)
  • Landscape-level research to inform policy, goal setting, programming, and facilitates reporting.
  • Research that helps farmers adapt BMPs to regional and on-farm conditions.
  • Cost-benefit analyses to support producers in making informed management decisions.
  • On-farm assessment/validation of BMP outcomes.

The lead applicant must be a LFS faculty member. Co-applicants may be, but are not limited to: researchers and professors, practitioners, policy-makers, educators, decision-makers, health-care administrators, Indigenous Elders, Indigenous Knowledge Keepers, community leaders, or individuals working for a charity. If the co-applicant is a researcher or professor, they must meet the tri-Council criteria for an independent researcher. Applicants and co-applicants who have previously held an LFS or another UBC internal research grant must have completed the project and submitted an acceptable Final Report where required. Associate Deans and Deans are eligible to apply, but will be expected to recuse themselves from the IRGP adjudication committee (see below).

Support will only be provided for the direct costs of research that are essential to the completion of the proposed research, including but not limited to salaries, honorariums, administration (up to 15%), materials and consumables, and contracted services. Extension and knowledge transfer components of funded research projects are eligible expenses. Capital expenditures need to be directly related to research activities and approved by AF. All items must be critical for the successful completion of the proposed research and must be defended in a detailed budget justification to be submitted as an attachment to the main application (see below). Expenses incurred prior to the start date of the proposed work will be ineligible to receive funding.

While not required, the research fund can be used as matching funds for larger grant proposals. Be mindful that stacking limits (i.e. the maximum level of total government (federal, provincial and municipal) assistance for the same eligible expenditures) are not exceeded and that the proposals align with the priorities set out in this document.

Researchers are invited to apply to the LFS CERF program by submitting:

  • A completed CERF application form (applicant and co-applicant information, budget summary table and signatures) with the following attachments:
  • A proposal (three-page maximum) that includes:
    • A Rationale in which the central problem or question addressed by the applicant’s research project is explained, with particular attention paid to how the project connects to one or more of the above AF priority research areas, as well as the current LFS Action Plan.
    • A Methodology section that details the theoretical/conceptual framework guiding the research and any research hypotheses if applicable, supported by references to existing literature and detailing the methods and procedures to be used, and that highlights the roles of specific individuals (co-PIs and HQP) required to successfully carry out the work.
    • An EDI in Research Practice Providing context specific to their field(s), proponents should describe qualitatively any barriers encountered by under-represented groups in accessing research, training and extension opportunities. Proponents should reference specific best equity and inclusion practices that they have implemented or will undertake to ensure participation from a diverse group of individuals in building the research team, in recruiting and training HQP, and in their outreach activities.
    • A Significance and Benefits section which explores the broader impacts of the proposed research to the agricultural sector, including a consideration of the knowledge gaps that will be filled and how the project will advance AF priority areas such has BMP adoption and/or GHG mitigation and C-sequestration. New research collaborations within and exterior to the Faculty, the training of HQP, planned manuscripts or proposals and the relevance of the work to the LFS Strategic Plan should also be addressed. Applicants should discuss any plans to leverage these funds and make clear how the CERF will position any future external application(s) for success.
  • Budget justification (one page)
  • References (one page)

The CERF funding envelope will be awarded in two intakes, each with a $260,000 envelope as follows. The first intake (2024) will fund two projects of ~$65,000/year for two (2) years. A second intake will be held in 2026 at which time, successful first intake proponents will be able to seek renewal of their funding for a third and fourth year, contingent on the review and approval of a final report by committee detailing progress achieved towards AF objectives, together with the proposed activities for years 3-4. Renewals will be adjudicated together with new projects and two final projects will be selected at the same funding level of $65,000/year for the final two years. The Adjudication Committee reserves the right to only partially award the envelope available if the proposals submitted are not of sufficient quality.

All successful proponents will have access to project co-ordination and knowledge mobilization services provided by the UBC Centre for Sustainable Food Systems. Support could take the form of, for example, meeting facilitation with producers/stakeholders, translation of BMP research findings into lay language for web publishing (e.g. BC Food Web) or other logistical support.

AF has offered to review project ideas for alignment Ministry priorities. This fund should prioritize projects relevant to B.C.’s agricultural sector, focusing on the most adoptable BMPs with higher GHG reduction potential.

At any time LFS faculty can share their project ideas with a brief description via email to Gregory.rekken@gov.bc.ca . AF may request for more information and discussions with LFS faculty proponents to better understand how projects will support climate change mitigation in B.C.’s agricultural sector.

Applications (application form plus all attachments submitted as a single PDF file) for this funding call should be sent to lfs.research@ubc.ca  by 5 pm, Friday July 5, 2024. Proposals will be reviewed by a Committee; whose membership will consist of:

  • the Associate Dean of Research (Chair);
  • the Program Directors of: Applied Biology, Food, Nutrition and Health, and Food and Resource Economics;
  • LFS Centre Directors and/or co-Directors: for Centre for Sustainable Food Systems, Dairy Education and Research Centre, Wine Research Centre
  • other faculty members as deemed necessary by the Committee.

AF will serve in a non-voting capacity in the review process, providing feedback on the degree to which projects align with the CERF rationale and target areas, as listed above.

Decisions will be returned by the start of the fall term, with the funding start date of September 3, 2024.

Submitted proposals will be judged against the following evaluation criteria:

  • Originality: the degree to which the proposed research is clearly presented, is original and innovative
  • Significance: the degree to which the proposed research will advance research in AF priority research area(s) and/or lead to BMP adoption, new technology, or policy development.
  • Objectives/Plan: the degree to which the objectives are planned and any longer-term plan for future proposal submission is defined.
  • Methodology: the degree to which the methodology is clearly described and appropriate.
  • Feasibility: the likelihood of success within a three-year time frame as demonstrated by the objectives, methodology and budget justification
  • Research Team: the degree to which team expertise is complementary, the roles of each team member in carrying out the research are clearly described, and the work incorporates EDI best practices to ensure a diverse research team (researchers and HQP)

One annual report not to exceed two pages and one longer Final Report not to exceed three pages are required and should describe:

  • a summary of the major research activities/findings and how the work has addressed AF priorities and contributed towards BMP adoption;
  • the plans for and/or completed research dissemination, including any reports, publications (including in press/in preparation), presentations or events supported by the grant;
  • a list of the research personnel trained;
  • any other external funding that has been obtained or applied for as a result of the project;
  • a budget table showing how funds were allocated, noting the reasons for any significant departures from the proposed budget profile

Reports should be prepared and submitted within sixty (60) days of the completion of each project year, and copies will be provided to AF for review, strategic planning and policy development purposes.

The annual report submitted in year 2 should contain a comprehensive summary of the project activities as listed above; proponents seeking additional funding for years 3 and 4 may be asked to present their work and future plans before the Adjudication Committee and AF representatives.

Questions should be directed to David Kitts [david.kitts@ubc.ca], or Nick Grant [nick.grant@ubc.ca].