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Participatory Action Research Grants

PAR Grants Open in September 2020

[UPDATE: May 8, 2020]

Funding systems change work is a priority for Vancouver Foundation. The pandemic has had profound effects on our communities, which presents both opportunities and challenges for systems change work. Through community engagement, we’re exploring how we can adapt the Systems Change and PAR grant programs in light of this situation. Our goal is to ensure these grants can be relevant and responsive to current needs. Applications will open in September 2020. Please sign up for email updates and to learn how you can get involved.

Participatory Action Research Grants: Overview

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Participatory Action Research Grants 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.

How do they work? Participatory Action Research Grants support a collaborative approach to research that involves stakeholders – those whose lives are affected by the issue being studied – and researchers in all phases of the research process. The research projects we consider for funding must investigate the root causes of a complex health issue, and must be a collaboration between community organizations and institutions with access to an ethics board, such as universities.

Participatory Action Research Grants fund projects that investigate any of the social determinants impacting the health of communities. In addition, some of our funding is specific to researching the social determinants of heart disease, cancer, arthritis, mental health, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease, or neurological, emotional or paediatric disorders. But no matter the research area, the project must be led by a registered charity or other qualified donee listed by the Canada Revenue Agency.

Do you need to know more about the root causes of a complex issue before action can take place? Have you established a community-research partnership that can co-lead the work?

If so, then we’d love to receive your proposal.

Types of grants

There are two different grant types available, depending upon the stage of your project.

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. They offer up to $10,000 towards the project's process, and up to an additional $10,000 to support community's participation in the process. Convene grants are a one-stage application. They can be submitted online anytime and decisions are made by the end of the quarter.

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. You can apply online for an Investigate grant during either the spring or fall granting call, and decisions are made by the mid-June or mid-December. Investigate grants are a two-stage application. Applicants begin their application by completing the first stage of questions, and if successful, are then invited complete the remaining questions.

Eligibility quiz

To help you understand if your organization and project meet our eligibility criteria, we’ve developed a quick and easy online quiz.

Take the eligibility quiz now.


Our Participatory Action Research Grants Guidelines are designed to give you all the information you need to apply. The guidelines provide an overview of the program, 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.

In addition, our guidelines include step-by-step application instructions, including every question you will be asked throughout the online application process.

Download Guidelines and get started today.

Key dates

We appreciate your need to plan your time in advance to work on new proposals. The following key dates are updated throughout the year, so please check back here regularly for updates on our granting cycle.

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

Convene Grants

Applications can be submitted online at any time throughout the year. Decisions on Convene Grants are made by the end of every quarter.

2020 Key Dates for Develop and Convene Grant Applicants

If you submit your grant application between:

You will know if your application has been approved on:

  • Jan 1 and Feb 14, 2020
  • March 31, 2020
  • Feb 15 and May 11, 2020
  • June 29, 2020
  • Cycle 3 (Details TBD)
  • Details TBD
  • Cycle 4 (Details TBD)
  • Details TBD











Investigate Grants

Spring Cycle
  • January 2, 2020: Stage 1 Application process opens online
  • January 27, 2020: Deadline to complete the Stage 1 online application process
  • March 13, 2020: Decisions about Stage 1 Applications communicated via email
  • April 5, 2020: Deadline to complete the Stage 2 online application process (by invitation only)
  • June 26, 2020: Decisions communicated via email
Fall Cycle 
  • Opens September 2020

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