BIOCAP Canada Foundation
 Reports &

Research Networks and Centres

A major focus of the BIOCAP Canada Foundation has involved the focusing, coordination and funding of Canadian university research to develop bio-based solutions to the challenges of climate change and energy security.

The Foundation was very active in bringing university researchers together with industry and government partners to deliver both targeted research projects and larger, multi-disciplinary research networks. A list of the research projects supported by BIOCAP can be found here and in the annual reports.

BIOCAP was instrumental in establishing the following national research Networks, many of which continue to carry on important research related to the emerging bio-based economy.

Fluxnet Canada Research Network / Canadian Carbon Program
The Fluxnet-Canada Research Network (FCRN) was BIOCAP’s first national research network, established in 2002 after 3 years of concerted effort in working with university researchers as well as industry and government partners. The FCRN was established to study the influence of climate and disturbance on carbon cycling in Canadian forest and peatland ecosystems. The federal government’s Natural Science and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) and the Canadian Foundation for Climate and Atmospheric Sciences (CFCAS) provided over $12M and leveraged BIOCAP’s $1.5M investment. The network had 22 research locations conducting continuous measurements of carbon dioxide, water, and energy exchanges between ecosystems and the atmosphere using the eddy covariance flux measurement technique. The network maintained a publicly-accessible database, containing flux and associated ecological data, which was updated on a regular basis. The work and assets of this research program were transitioned to the Canadian Carbon Program (CCP) in early 2007.

Greenhouse Gas Management Canada Research Network
In 2003, BIOCAP invested $1.35M to set up the $2.7M Greenhouse Gas Management Canada (GHGMC) Network in partnership with the Social Science and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC). This Network focused on addressed the socioeconomic dimensions of greenhouse gas management at the local, national and international levels. GHGMC nodes included: Emission Trading Systems, Terrestrial Carbon Economics, Cost Effective Strategies and Technologies, Mitigation Strategies Analysis, Bioproducts Research and Transformative Change. The Network’s BIOCAP funding ended in 2006, but the network continues to exist and carry out research under a more informal mechanism.

Green Crop Research Network
BIOCAP provided the initial concept, organizational structure and financial investment for a national research network focused on developing more sustainable agricultural crops. After many years of working with university researchers as well as industry and government partners, we were successful in attracting over $6M in NSERC support for the Sustainable Forest Management Networks of Centres of Excellence (NCE) that resulted in more than a $2.5M investment in university research directed to developing optimal strategies for managing carbon in forest ecosystems. Studies funded under this joint venture provide valuable insights to inform investment and policy decisions regarding how forest C management can provide GHG emission reduction credits.

Other Networks in Development
BIOCAP also worked closely with other groups of researchers, industry and government partners to help them develop strong, competitive applications for major Network funding under the NSERC or NCE programs. By investing in workshops and synthesis reports, and by providing organizational and financial support for small group grants (PDF) (typically $100K to $170K/yr), BIOCAP was working to build the multidisciplinary, cooperative thinking and the critical industry support that would lead to multi-year, multi-disciplinary Network grant support in the range of $1.5 to $5M/yr. With BIOCAP closing, many of the research groups that the Foundation spawned continue to work towards this objective. Such ‘proto-networks’ include:

  • Aquatic Systems and Climate Change Research Network. To advance understanding of the role of aquatic systems in global C and N cycles and the potential of lakes to be both sources and sinks for greenhouse gases. The network’s research will generate data and models that increase scientific understanding of the processes, environmental factors and human activities that directly or indirectly affect GHG sources and sinks in aquatic systems.
  • Environmental Goods and Services Research Network. The Environmental Goods and Services Network is an amalgamation of two emerging BIOCAP networks: the Landscape-scale Cropping Systems Research Network and the Animal Production and Manure Management Research Network. The focus is on the development and implementation of ‘Beneficial Management Practices’ that not only provide value to agricultural producers but also environmental benefits such as GHG reductions, enhanced soil health, biodiversity, and water quality.
  • Bioenergy Research Network. This emerging Network was to be focused on the production and conversion of lignocellulosic biomass into heat, power and liquid fuels.

BIOCAP Supported Research Centres and Institutes
When the decision was made to close BIOCAP, the Board of Directors decided to invest some of its remaining funds with ongoing research Centres or Institutes that will continue to carry on some of the work that the Foundation had been doing in the past. The following four Centres/Institutes were supported:

Institute for Sustainable Energy, Environment and Economy (ISEEE). A contribution of $14,000 and some furniture was made to ISEEE at the University of Calgary to support the incorporation of bioeconomy research into the ISEEE program. BIOCAP’s former President and CEO has moved to the University of Calgary as the Executive Director of ISEEE.
Sustainable Bioeconomy Centre (SBC). A contribution of $70,000 was made towards the launch of a new Sustainability Bioeconomy Centre (SBC) at Queen’s University. Queen's Research Chair in Fluid Dynamics and Multiscale Phenomena, Andrew Pollard, will lead the SBC. The centre will continue to expand the role that BIOCAP played in promoting and encouraging sustainable bioeconomy research at Queen’s University.
Queen’s Institute for Energy and Environmental Policy (QIEEP). A contribution of $40,000 was made towards two projects linked to the QIEEP in the School of Policy Studies at Queen’s University, one project led by Dr. Bryne Purchase and one led by Dr. Warren Mabee.
Innovation Park. Much of the furniture and equipment that BIOCAP owned was donated to the new Innovation Park at Queen’s University in Kingston. Innovation Park specializes in linking university research to industry in the Kingston area. Janice Mady, BIOCAP’s former Director of Operations, has taken the position of Managing Director of Innovation Park.