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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions (PICS)?

The Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions (PICS) is a four-university research and engagement network. The participating universities are University of British Columbia (UBC), University of Victoria (UVic), Simon Fraser University (SFU), and University of Northern British Columbia (UNBC). PICS operates as an independent, non-partisan organization that is policy and technology neutral.

What is PICS’ mandate?

To produce leading climate solutions research that is actively used by decision-makers to develop effective mitigation and adaptation policies and actions. PICS has a global remit, but a focus on BC.

What is PICS’ relationship with the University of Victoria, and how is it governed?

PICS is hosted by the University of Victoria but does not represent the University or its administration. PICS is governed by the four-university Executive Committee which includes the four Vice-President Research (ex-officio) from PICS’ four partner universities, the PICS Executive Director, and members from the BC Government, among others. The committee is chaired by the University of Victoria Vice President Research.

How is PICS funded?

PICS' independent and stable funding is drawn from the income of a major Government of British Columbia endowment established in 2008. This investment is held in trust and managed by the University of Victoria Foundation, which is a separate entity from the University of Victoria and a registered charity. Information regarding endowment management objectives and approaches applied by the foundation board can be found here.

How is PICS supporting students at the other three PICS partner universities?

SFU: PICS supports funded student researchers, and directly engages with other future leaders through seminars, talks and the biennial Climate Energy Research Day. UBC: PICS provides support to the student-led UBC Climate Hub, acts as a liaison between students and UBC faculty and staff, and supports events and workshops. UNBC: PICS works with students on-and-off campus, connecting with dynamic guest speakers, supporting clubs and advancing their climate knowledge through events and workshops.

What is the Climate Solutions Navigator?

The ​​Climate Solutions Navigator (CSN) is a two-year university-wide climate solutions initiative, supported by the Strategic Framework Impact Fund. The CSN is guided by a cross-campus working group integrated by 20 members from 17 departments/units at UVic, and 1 student representative. It aims to connect the university community on climate solutions opportunities and facilitate new research partnerships across faculties and with industry, public and civil society. The CSN develops multiple actions, from a hub of climate solutions information in an institutional website, to a range of academic and applied events engaging multiple stakeholders, units and institutions to aimed to create awareness, new research partnerships and enhance opportunities for climate solutions at UVic.

Who created the Climate Solutions Toolkit?

The Climate Solutions Toolkit was created and hosted as part of a new student engagement initiative by the Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions (PICS) at UVic in partnership with and with content support (especially the research and faculty inventories) provided by the Climate Solutions Navigator (CSN) initiative UVic.

Why did we create the Climate Solutions Toolkit?

The toolkit was largely inspired by a survey conducted by PICS and the University of Victoria Sustainability Project (UVSP) in the fall of 2019. The survey revealed that many students are unsure of where to access information about climate related resources and engagement opportunities at UVic and were interested in a centralized ‘hub’ for such information. The toolkit is a work in progress and we hope to further develop and adapt it with your feedback.

How were the toolkit listed assets (courses, clubs, researchers) at UVic selected for inclusion?

Our objective was to identify as many UVic assets as possible that are helping to address the climate challenge in different ways, including how we understand climate change and identify with it. By systematically reviewing information available on different UVic department webpages, faculty profiles, and course lists we selected for assets relating to climate solutions, climate science, or climate awareness. This did involve some judgement calls based on the information available during this desktop exercise and we hope to refine this information and ideally include more filters over time. Also, because there are fewer student clubs with an explicit climate focus, we opted in this case to also highlight environmental clubs on campus.

How do PICS and the CSN define "climate solutions"?

Policies and actions aimed at either reducing greenhouse gas emissions or adapting to a changing climate.