Transition Pathways – Research Funding Opportunity

The Transition Accelerator is looking to collaborate with researchers across the country interested in developing transformational pathways to reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions. To this end, we will be awarding small grants to support pathways scoping studies.

We seek submissions for projects that can help define credible, compelling, and capable pathways across Canada. These can be local, sub-regional, or regional in scope, and should be anchored in the Accelerator’s pathways methodology.

There is no formal application form, but the applicants will need to submit a short project proposal by Monday, May 31, 2021.

Applicants are also eligible to apply for Mitacs funding to support students working on the projects they submit to The Transition Accelerator for funding consideration.

The Transition Accelerator policy regarding administration and overhead fees charged to grants

The Transition Accelerator’ s official policy is that the maximum rate for administration and overhead costs that may be applied against any funding we provide is 10%, regardless of who the recipient organization is. While our organization recognizes and values the critical role that university administration and related infrastructure play in supporting and enabling research and knowledge mobilization, we feel that the public funding should support these costs, and our cap of 10% is meant to offset any direct expenses associated with administering a particular grant. For smaller grants (e.g. $20,000 and below), our policy is that all administration or overhead fees must be waived.



Applicants must be affiliated with a Canadian university, research institution or thinktank. Applications may involve investigators at more than one institution. The principal investigator must not already have received funding from the Transition Accelerator. Projects may involve societal partners.


Up to three proposals will be selected and awarded a maximum of $20,000 each. We regard these scoping studies as an entry point to potential long-term collaboration with The Transition Accelerator to fully develop novel pathways. The Accelerator will be open to working with teams involved with successful projects to secure long term funding to support larger initiatives.


We welcome proposals that apply The Transition Accelerator methodology in domains that fall inside or outside our existing priorities (building decarbonization, electric vehicle market penetration, electrification and grid Integration, and Canada’s hydrogen economy). Proposals in domains not related to existing priorities should nevertheless be in areas that:

(i) Have the potential to lead to substantial GHG reductions
(ii) Are experiencing other social and economic issues/roadblocks; and
(iii) Contain willing partners and agents of change.


Applications will be evaluated according to the following main criteria:

  • Relevance to the Transition Accelerator net zero mission
  • Engagement with the pathway methodology
  • Potential to open the door to substantial GHG reduction (scaling up)
  • Potential for other positive societal benefits (economic, social, environmental, etc.)
  • Identification of potential societal partners enthusiastic about pursuing pathway development
  • Overall quality of the proposal.

The selection committee will be composed of one member of the Transition Accelerator Board and two Transition Accelerator Research Directors. Selected projects will be those judged to have the greatest potential for positive impact.


There is no application form. Proposals should include the following elements:

1. Project summary (max 4 pages) that addresses:

a. Systemic presentation of the problem, and the potential to lead to substantial GHG reduction
b. Understanding of potential solutions
c. Objectives of the project
d. How this project will apply the pathways methodology
e. Potential for scaling up
f. Role of the partner(s) and/or agent(s) of change collaborating on this project, if applicable
g. Timeline of the project

2. CV of the applicants (max 2 pages)

3. Letter of support from the partner(s)/agent(s) of change, if applicable.


The deadline to submit an application is Monday, May 31, 2021

  • Files should be sent to
  • Files submitted must be in PDF format.
  • File items must be clearly and consistently identified; it is recommended that only one file containing all requested items be submitted.
  • All text should be single-spaced in 11-point Ariel font.
  • Proposal can be submitted in English or in French


A dedicated member of our team is there to talk to you about our methodology and to answer your questions. Participants may submit questions (no later than May 28, 2021) via email to


The winners of the RFP process will be announced publicly by the end of June 2020.



The Transition Accelerator is a pan-Canadian organization dedicated to creating positive, transformational system changes while moving Canada down viable pathways to reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. To achieve this, the Accelerator harnesses existing economic, social, and technological disruptions already affecting multiple industry sectors and regions. Using momentum underway in these sectors, it acts as a catalyst and convenes innovators, progressive industry, researchers, and key stakeholders into collaborative teams that advance Canada down credible, compelling, and capable pathways to a stronger future. The Accelerator’s four-step ‘transition pathways’ methodology, as summarized below, provides the intellectual foundation for our work.


Our four-step approach is to understand, codevelop, analyze and advance credible and compelling transition pathways that are capable of achieving societal and economic objectives including driving the country towards net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

To learn more about the methodology, applicants are encouraged to read the report “The Transition Accelerator: Building Pathways to a Sustainable Future”.


The core of the Accelerator’s work focuses on the initiation, development and build-out of priority pathways. These pathways have been selected based on the following criteria:

i) that the pathway relates to a sector with significant GHG emissions
ii) that the sector displays disruptive currents and problems aside from climate-related emissions; and
iii) that there are societal partners who are enthusiastic about pursuing a pathway process.

At present the Accelerator is working in four priority areas: Building Decarbonization, Electric Vehicle Market Penetration, Electrification and Grid Integration & Canada’s Hydrogen Economy.