PICS is off and running

Climatologist Dr. David Rodenhuis is the new director pro tem of the Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions (PICS).

PICS was announced on Jan. 25 by BC Premier Gordon Campbell as a collaboration among the province’s four research-intensive universities—UVic, the University of British Columbia, Simon Fraser University and the University of Northern BC—as well as government and the private sector. UVic is the host and lead institution.

In general, PICS will work to increase our understanding of the magnitude and patterns of climate chan#8805; evaluate the physical, economic and social implications; assess options and develop solutions; and communicate climate change issues to government, industry and the general public.

The province provided UVic with an endowment for PICS that will generate more than $4 million a year for operating costs, and another $4.5 million this year for start-up expenses. The $90 million in funding is the largest single contribution to a university endowment in Canadian history.

Rodenhuis, whose expertise is climate monitoring and modelling of the atmosphere, is also senior scientist and acting director of the Pacific Climate Impacts Consortium (PCIC), a consortium that helps bridge the gap between research and applications. PCIC has been operating for several years at UVic with support from stakeholders in government and industry. PICS funding includes support for PCIC.

In its first few months, PICS has established communication among the four collaborating universities, initiated a competition for the first PICS graduate fellows, launched a database of climate researchers in the province and set up an initial governance structure.

The next step is to develop a five-year research plan. PICS research will be conducted by the community of physical scientists, engineers, social scientists and policy experts in BC whose work has a bearing on the climate change issues facing the province and local governments.

“We’re asking the BC research community to anticipate climatic changes that are coming to Pacific North America and direct their research toward solutions,” says Rodenhuis. “At the same time, we need to attract the entrepreneurial spirit of the private sector.”

The database will contain the basic information on “who is doing what” at BC’s four research-intensive universities, says Rodenhuis. “Researchers who want to join the search for solutions to the major issue of our times will be identified in that database.”

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Keywords: Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions

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