Applied research and interdisciplinary partnerships between students, faculty, staff and community partners. SEEDS advances sustainability ideas, policies, and practices by using the campus as a living laboratory, supporting the integration of academic and operational sustainability efforts.

28
UBC SUSTAINABILITY PLANS AND POLICIES ADVANCED

 

898
STUDENTS, FACULTY, STAFF AND COMMUNITY PARTNERS ENGAGED

 

167
APPLIED RESEARCH PROJECTS

 

47
GRADUATE AND UNDERGRADUATE COURSES INTEGRATED SEEDS PROJECTS

 

KEY ACHIEVEMENTS

SEEDS awarded $100,000 for two-year pilot on urban biodiversity in a changing climate

This award from the Program for Undergraduate Research Experience (PURE) supports a pilot initiative to develop undergraduate applied research pathways, launch an Interdisciplinary Knowledge Exchange, and promote inclusive research design and engagement models that expand underrepresented students’ access to applied research opportunities.

Applied local research

Students and faculty partnered with staff and community partners through SEEDS to pilot new solutions to local versions of wider societal issues, while advancing UBC’s sustainability commitments. Some examples include:

Living Breakwaters: nature-based solutions to coastal adaptation | Can nature-based reefs protect our region’s coasts and cliffs? This project developed climate change related coastal adaptation ideas that incorporate living systems and enhance local ecosystems while reducing flooding and erosion risks.

Inclusive Athletics and Recreation: Move More | Athletics and Recreation partnered with kinesiology students to identify barriers and facilitators for Asian females to participate in physical activity, a community they identified as underrepresented.

Predicting bird collisions in the living lab

A collaboration between Applied Science and Geography developed sensors and software to map and predict bird collisions with campus buildings, enabling UBC to enhance biodiversity in the built environment.

New Action Research Symposiums

UBC’s first Food Insecurity Action Symposium, hosted by SEEDS and UBC Wellbeing, brought students together with diverse stakeholders to share research and identify tangible actions.

Biodiversity at the Cascading Fountain

Tasked with investigating an algae bloom in a campus water feature, UBC Environmental Science students worked with faculty and staff to develop new ways to preserve and enhance biodiversity. 

“We thought the bloom was due to a buildup of nutrients from the collection and recycling of rain water harvested from Main Mall. But control and management of the algae with chemicals was not a sustainable practice,” said Doug Doyle, Associate Director, Municipal Engineering at Campus + Community Planning. 

However, the student team discovered that nutrients weren’t to blame. “It’s very difficult to reduce the algae because it’s a really resilient species,” said Melissa Lin. “So we thought why don’t we make this a biodiversity learning lab instead and support UBC’s goals in providing a sustainable and biodiverse campus.” 

Switching their focus from control to biodiversity, the team presented new ways for UBC to support aquatic life in the water feature. “We’ve realized that we have to learn to live with algae, and leverage its presence into something positive,” said Doyle.