Achieving the world’s goal of reaching net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 isn’t one project. It will require thousands of projects, policies and action in every part of the world, contributing in some way to meeting this monumental challenge.

Whether it’s the Reef Aquaculture Conservancy restoring coral reefs in Mexico whose ecosystems act as carbon sinks, research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology on carbon capture and sequestration or the University of Alberta searching for ways to decarbonize the steel industry — every step counts.

Scotiabank created the Net Zero Research Fund in 2021 to initiate partnerships — including the three organizations mentioned above — that are working to advance research and leadership in the transition to a low-carbon economy. 

“If we’re going to reach our ambitious emissions reduction goals, we have to explore the opportunities in every sector, all across the economy,” said Kim Brand, Vice President and Global Head, Sustainability at Scotiabank. “There are people in every corner of our world working on ways to solve the challenges a changing climate presents, and through the Net-Zero Research Fund, we want to contribute and enable these insights so we can help accelerate this needed transition.”  

In its first three years, the Net Zero Research Fund has contributed $3 million to 30 organizations conducting 31 projects in Canada, the U.S., Mexico, Chile, Peru and other countries across the Americas.

Brand says the reaction from the research community has been very encouraging.

“We have seen so many insightful and innovative research and development proposals,” she said. “We are proud to support these organizations and their meaningful work as part of the broader effort to adapt, mitigate and be resilient in addressing climate change.” 

Scotiabank has allocated $25 million until 2030 for community investments in non-profit and charitable organizations that support climate-related systems change and sector decarbonization, of which $10 million is earmarked for Scotiabank’s Net-Zero Research Fund. 

The fund is now accepting applications for its next set of research projects. Proposals that have the potential to accelerate the transition to a net-zero emissions future by 2050 or sooner are eligible for up to $100,000 each. Themes include exploring pathways for decarbonization of industry sectors, carbon storage and sequestration, and levers to increase consumer, municipal, or industrial demand for lower or zero-carbon technologies. Organizations must be registered for not-for-profit or charitable organizations in their jurisdiction. 

Previous NZRF recipients: