Would applied student research or  interdisciplinary collaboration help you develop or implement a plan, policy or practice that advances your organizations, or UBC’s sustainability or wellbeing priorities? Leverage the creativity, energy, and expertise of UBC students and faculty and institutional knowledge and resources of SEEDS. 

The SEEDS Sustainability Program uses the Campus as a Living Laboratory in student-led applied research projects and interdisciplinary collaborations to advance sustainability and wellbeing commitments and broader societal issues.

By participating in a SEEDS collaboration, you can:  

  • Get support to develop or implement your sustainability plans, policies, and practices  
  • Gain access to interdisciplinary collaborations, student researchers, faculty mentors, partner courses and SEEDS resources 
  • Access SEEDS institutional knowledge and intellectual resources in a broad range of sustainability and policy issues  
  • Connect with best practices and navigate institutional challenges 
  • Get project management support on research challenges   
  • Collaborate with other practitioners to solve shared sustainability challenges 
  • Mentor students and contribute to UBC’s ambitious sustainability commitments  
  • Join a SEEDS Interdisciplinary Applied Research Initiative or Action Team, expand your network and collaborate with other UBC practitioners to provide expertise and guidance on advancing UBC’s sustainability commitments from urban biodiversity and climate to food security and sustainability.  


The SEEDS Sustainability Program is a well-established and effective way to advance your organization’s sustainability and wellbeing priorities through innovative and applied research projects and partnerships that use the Campus as a Living Laboratory. Having formed more than 1,300 research collaborations between staff, community partners, students and faculty, and generating 2000 research reports, we are experienced in stewarding applied student research and partnerships that support the integration of operational and academic efforts in sustainability.

SEEDS staff and community collaborations can take many forms. To date, we have worked with more than 30 of UBC’s operational departments. Our SEEDS team collaborates with you to scope a research proposal and then tap into our academic network to integrate the project into senior undergraduate or graduate courses, independent studies, thesis projects, or co-curricular paid or volunteer student research opportunities.

Each project is supported with a SEEDS Project Manager who provides oversight from start to finish, students conduct the research, and faculty provide mentorship and evaluate the research deliverables. 

Research deliverables  are published in the SEEDS Sustainability Library, and shared through a student presentation of key findings and recommendations.  As part our project management model, our team will also meet with you to discuss the implementation implementation potential of the recommendations, and if any further research or support is needed to move them forward.

Core SEEDS criteria: All SEEDS research projects must: 

  • Align with UBC’ sustainability and wellbeing commitments to advance knowledge and action  
  • Inform the development or implementation of campus plans and policies including the UBC Climate Action Plans, Wellbeing Strategic Framework, Green Building Action Plan, Zero Waste Action Plan, Integrated Stormwater Management Plan, Community Energy & Emissions PlanTransportation Plan, Water Action Plan, AMS Sustainability Action Plan, and more
  • Involve UBC students, faculty and staff, and can involve additional community partners if there is strong mutual benefit
  • Apply a Community-Based Action Research Methodology - all SEEDS research is designed to produce tangible positive changes within the communities they affect, and communities are involved in all stages of the project research cycle
  • Applies core project management principles and includes 5 phases: scoping, initiation, monitoring and control, close and follow up. 
  • Aligns with SEEDS core values, such as  research is openly accessible and shared to promote knowledge exchange and collective impact   
  • Produce a written deliverable to ensure knowledge is retained and can be built upon, in addition to any other deliverables (built, application, strategy, map, resource, etc.)
  • Generate knowledge exchange opportunities with the project clients and any other stakeholders the research affects through presentations, workshops or action symposiums 


Research results in a final report and presentation, and other deliverables may be scoped to meet your needs. The outcomes of the majority of SEEDS research gets implemented or influences decision making in advancing UBC’s sustainability and wellbeing commitments.

Previous research projects have resulted in: 

  • Advancing UBC’s operational sustainability commitments across a broad spectrum of areas spanning water conservation, sustainable food systems, zero waste, energy efficiency, biodiversity conservation, food security, and GHG emission reductions.
  • Informing the development of new sustainability plans, policies and strategies, including Zero Waste Food ware Strategy (2019), Bird Friendly Building Design Guidelines for Buildings (2019), AMS Sustainability Action Plan, Climate Action Plans and more 
  • Advancing UBC’s wellbeing commitments spanning physical, dietary and mental health; ecological and human health and wellbeing; and equity, diversity and inclusion within our campus communities.
  • Informing key decision making and practices, for examples see Seeds Showcase


Pathways to get involved with the SEEDS Sustainability Program include working with students and faculty on applied research projects or joining an interdisciplinary research initiative or action team. Learn more about SEEDS support for each option and your opportunities to get involved below. 

Student Applied Research Projects Pathway

Interested in getting applied campus based sustainability research projects to advance your department’s goals and UBC’s ambitious sustainability and wellbeing commitments?

Most staff and community participate in the SEEDS Sustainability Program through a student-led applied research project. You can check out the SEEDS Sustainability Library (scroll to the bottom) for types of research that we have collaborated with staff and community to date.  

All SEEDS research projects cover a range of critical societal issues and advance our SEEDS Big 5 Research Priorities and including: 1) Accelerate Climate Action, 2) Maintain & Enhance Urban Biodiversity, 3) Enable the Great Food Transformation, 4) Create Circular & Regenerative Economies, and 5) Foster Wellbeing, Inclusive, Resilient & Place-based Communities. 

Our SEEDS team works closely with you to scope research proposals that can advance departments plans, policies and practices, and achieve the UBC’s ambitious sustainability and wellbeing commitments. 

We work with UBC faculty and students to integrate research into an undergraduate or graduate course, independent study, thesis,  professional project, or co-curricular paid or volunteer student research opportunity. We provide you with a range of support including: 

Project Management: 

  • A SEEDS project manager provides project management support for the duration of the project from project scoping, initiation, monitoring and control and close to follow up.

  • Key responsibilities include supporting the development of a well-scoped research proposal, integrating the research into a UBC course, or recruiting students and faculty mentors in a paid or volunteer option, convening a project team (other co-clients, students, faculty), and supporting the creation of a communications schedule to ensure the project stays on track. This typically involves the development of a milestone schedule with the students and project clients. It will also often include a bi-weekly meeting where the students are able to meet with the clients, pitch and refine their research approach and ideas, receive mentorship and elicit feedback on ideas and draft deliverables prior to final submission. 

Partnership Development 

  • SEEDS draws on campus networks to find suitable faculty and student partners for each research project. Every research project has at least one student, faculty member, and a primary client. There are often secondary clients as well. SEEDS has long lasting relationships with many client groups and each research project builds on previous research to amplify knowledge and action towards UBC’s and society's critical sustainability challenges with the staff and community partners these issues affect. 

Curriculum integration with UBC Sustainability and Wellbeing Commitments:  

  • Each project is carefully scoped in a “Research Project Charter” to align with UBC’s operational sustainability or wellbeing commitments and course learning objectives. 


  • Completed student projects always include a final research report, executive summary, and a presentation. Student projects may also include data sets, strategies, prototypes, conceptual designs, physical installations, maps, videos, art, software applications, and more. The final research report is published in the SEEDS Sustainability Research Library, the UBC cIRcle Digital Repository, and shared with staff and any community partners. 

Your Commitment: 

By participating in a SEEDS research project you commit to: 

  • Co-develop a Research Project Charter with the SEEDS team
  • Meet the research team and co-define the scope. You support the team to refine the research opportunity through initial project team meetings. There you will discuss expectations, set agreed-upon project milestones, ongoing communication process and any resources needed.
  • Stay involved. You keep in touch via an ongoing communication schedule with the project team (e.g. meetings, email, scheduled in-class sessions) to ensure research project deliverables align with your needs. Collaboratively review any subsequent research proposal/concepts developed with the student(s). Provide feedback on a project proposal, any submitted progress reports, other materials, and draft a report. Attend a final research project presentation. 
  • Time Commitment: Commit to attending regularly scheduled meetings with the project team and periodic review of documents as needed. Meeting and review schedules are determined at the project initiation meeting collectively with the project team. Typically time commitment is attending a bi-weekly 1 hour meeting throughout the project term and 2-3 hours per month to review documents.  

Interdisciplinary Research Initiative or Action Team Pathway

Interested in expanding your network to collaborate with other UBC practitioners, faculty and students to provide expertise and guidance on advancing UBC’s sustainability commitments from urban biodiversity and climate to food security and sustainability? Consider joining a SEEDS Interdisciplinary Applied Research Initiative or Action Team:

Together with our partners, SEEDS has co-created four interdisciplinary and multi-stakeholder research initiatives. Interdisciplinary collaborations help advance UBC’s sustainability, climate, and wellbeing commitments and SEEDS Big 5 Research Priorities. UBC students, faculty and practitioners collaborate in providing expertise and guidance on advancing UBC’s sustainability commitments from urban biodiversity and climate to food security and sustainability through impactful research and collaborations. Each interdisciplinary collaboration has a Steering Committee, supporting Action Teams and research clusters that utilize the Campus as a Living Laboratory. If you are interested in getting involved, please check out one of initiatives to learn more: 

Your Commitment: 

If joining a Steering Committee in one our Interdisciplinary Research Initiatives:

Role: Provide strategic and advisory guidance to advance the Interdisciplinary Initiative Strategic Plan mission and priorities. 

Responsibilities: Provide interdisciplinary expertise and guidance on formulation of sustainability or wellbeing planning and practices, feedback on strategic priorities and initiatives, input on initiative progression, and promoting the communication of outcomes.  

Time Commitment: Commit to attending on average a quarterly meeting. Periodic review of documents as needed.  

If joining and Action Team that supports our Interdisciplinary Research Initiatives:

Role: Supports implementation of actions specified in the Interdisciplinary Initiative Strategic Plan through engaged expertise 

Responsibilities: Support the scoping, development of content and research contributions that will inform  Interdisciplinary Initiative priorities. 

Time Commitment: Commit to attending a monthly meeting. 2 hours a month for document review.



Would applied student research or an interdisciplinary collaboration help you address a pressing sustainability challenge? Are you looking for help with the development or implementation of a plan, policy or practice that advances your organization's or UBC’s sustainability or wellbeing commitments? 

We’d be happy to speak to you, or present to your department or faculty on the opportunities to collaborate with the SEEDS Sustainability Program, including applied research, interdisciplinary collaborations, and/or partnership development. 

Do you already have an idea for an applied research project to advance UBC’s sustainability and wellbeing commitments? Do you want to work with SEEDS and our faculty and student academic partners to make it happen? Please connect with us  and we will follow up to discuss opportunities.


If you or your department are either developing or implementing a campus sustainability plan, policy, or guideline and would like to meet with SEEDS to explore a research collaboration, please contact Liska Richer, Manager, at liska.richer@ubc.ca. We can have a meeting, phone chat, or come in and give a presentation on how we work with campus partners.