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Participatory Action Research Grants

Status: Applications under review.

Participatory Action Research Grants: Overview

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Visit the Grant Program Updates page to learn more about what funding opportunities will be available in 2022.

Participatory Action Research Grants (PAR) support research that is co-led by community members and researchers to learn more about the root causes of pressing issues impacting the health of communities.

The Participatory Action Research methodology is based on the belief that research must be done with people, not for them or on them. The researchers and community members that make up the research team are active co-participants who learn from one another. The research is grounded in critical reflection and is action-oriented to influence systemic change on the issues they are investigating.

Early in 2020, Vancouver Foundation began a project to deepen systems change grant making, first by recognizing entrenched power imbalances, and then by reimagining our relationships and practices. As we continue our work to shift and share power with community, we’re building on that work and past PAR cycles to introduce some changes to this grant call.

We’ve made some revisions to our application forms in an effort to make it easier for you to apply and access this funding. Download the 2022 PAR Addendum to find out what those changes are and why we made them.

The ongoing pandemic, the devastation caused by extreme weather events and the continued groundswell of the reconciliation and anti-racism movements has only amplified the urgency to investigate and understand the root causes of oppressive structures and to build just, equitable systems to displace them. If the number of applications we receive is greater than the funding we have available, then we will prioritize:

  • Projects that are co-led by communities who are disproportionately impacted by racism and other discriminatory behaviours and beliefs within health systems
  • Research teams that include as many community members as professional researchers
  • Research projects that bring an intersectional lens to the work 

We encourage you to download the 2022 PAR Framework for insight and context on the principles that will guide these changes.

Types of Participatory Action Research Grants

There are two different grant types available, depending on the stage your project is at in the participatory action research process.

1. Convene grants (up to $20,000, for up to one year)

Convene grants are short-term grants to help teams to unpack a complex heath issue and to question the systemic behaviours that have created that issue, or that are holding the issue in place. Convene grants help teams to articulate a research question and to develop a participatory research project plan that can then be submitted to funding organizations in the future. The funding requested should be distributed equitably between the convening process and the community's participation in that process. Convene grants are a one-stage application.

2. Investigate grants (up to $100,000 per year, for up to three years)

Investigate grants are multi-year grants to help teams answer a research question, analyze their findings, and share knowledge in a way that supports the community to take action in the future. Investigate grants are a two-stage application. Applicants begin their application by completing the first stage of questions, and if successful, are then invited to complete the remaining questions.


The research projects we consider for funding:

  • must investigate the root causes of a complex health issue
  • must be a collaboration between community organizations and institutions with access to an ethics board, such as universities.
  • must be led by a registered charity or other qualified donee listed by the Canada Revenue Agency.

We also invite projects that investigate the root causes of racism and other discriminatory behaviours and beliefs experienced by adults and children within health systems; especially communities who are disproportionately impacted by these discriminatory behaviours.

To help you understand if your organization and project meet our eligibility criteria, take the eligibility quiz now.


  • 2020 PAR Guidelines: An overview of eligibility criteria, an introduction to participatory action research and social innovation, practical questions to help you think about your project, and tips for making a successful grant application. 
  • 2022 PAR Addendum: A summary of the changes and rationale to the application questions for both grant types.
  • 2022 PAR Framework: The framework that includes the principles and priorities that will inform how PAR grant applications will be reviewed, adjudicated, and awarded during this cycle. 

Key Dates

We appreciate your need to plan your time to work on new proposals. The following key dates may be updated in response to the volume of applications we receive, and we will communicate any changes via email to authors who have applications started and/or submitted in our online system.

Applications close at 11:59pm PDT on the due date. We are available 8:30am - 4:30pm on weekdays to offer technical and other assistance.

Convene Grants

Please note: we are anticipating that there will only be one funding call for Convene grants in 2022. The information in the 2020 PAR Guidelines that states that you can apply for Convene grants at any time of the year and that they are awarded quarterly is out-of-date. Our apologies for the confusion. 

  • Now until February 7, 2022, 11:59pm PDT: Submit your application online
  • End of March 2022*: Decisions about application communicated via email
    *Due to the high volume of applications, we'll be communicating decisions a little later than anticipated.

Investigate Grants

  • Now until February 7, 2022, 11:59pm PDT: Submit your Stage 1 application online 
  • March 21, 2022: Decisions about Stage 1 applications communicated via email
  • April 19, 2022: Deadline to complete the Stage 2 application online (by invitation only)
  • June 24, 2022: Decisions on Investigate Grants communicated via email

How-to Videos

Here are some detailed instructions on how to use the online application system. 

Grant Alerts

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If you have questions about this granting stream, please contact us at