The Sustainability Scholars Program is an innovative paid internship program. We match UBC graduate students with on- and off-campus sustainability partners to work on applied research projects that advance sustainability across the region.
Apply your research skills to real-world sustainability challenges
Get paid and gain valuable professional work experience
Develop applied skills and knowledge under the guidance of a mentor
Build your professional network and enhance your career prospects

How It Works

The program is open to full-time UBC graduate students from any program or discipline. As a Sustainability Scholar, you work under the guidance of a mentor on an applied research project that supports their organization's sustainability goals.


UBC Sustainability Scholars work on applied research projects across a wide range of environmental, economic and social sustainability topics. See our list of current paid internship opportunities.

Project Library

The Scholars Project Library contains hundreds of reports, charts, tool-kits, and more, documenting the applied research produced by Scholars since 2010. A useful body of knowledge to support further research around sustainability.

Meet the scholars

UBC Sustainability Scholars come from all kinds of backgrounds and academic disciplines. Scholars stand out for being passionate about sustainability, having a strong work ethic, and for their applied research skills.

Partner with us

Partner organizations are essential to the UBC Sustainability Scholars Program. Partners provide work experience for UBC graduate students and benefit from their applied research.

About Scholars

Sustainability Scholars’ projects have been helping to move the dial on sustainability across the region for over 10 years. Find out more about our history, milestones, and impact.

Project Library

This project aims to research lighting and intersectionality on Vancouver's cycle routes to increase perceptions of comfort and safety beyond motor vehicle proximity to think about the qualitative components of safety and comfort. Includes recommendations for revising the definition of lighting in Vancouver's AAA design guidelines, a qualitative methodology for evaluating safety and comfort, lighting design, inclusive cycling, and improvements in data collection.

Partner: City of Vancouver
Keywords: active transportation, climate action, equity, diversity, inclusion, leadership & behaviour change, transportation, comfort and safety

Jasmin Senghera

Fuel economy is an important metric in understanding fleet vehicle performance, fuel cost, and emissions. This project report documents the building of a fuel economy calculation tool in Microsoft Excel, designed to work seamlessly with the City of Vancouver's data systems for all fleet vehicles. A subset of heavy and medium duty vehicles was analyzed using the tool to help support the business case to transition to low-carbon options.

Partner: City of Vancouver
Keywords: climate action, zero emission vehicles, transportation, green operations

Graham MacGillivray

This report explores effective parking management practices to support Vancouver's Climate Emergency Action Plan (CEAP) 2020-2025. Examines best practices and provides recommendations for both on-street and off-street parking policies, taking into consideration their effectiveness, equity issues, and potential implementation challenges in the context of the City of Vancouver.

Partner: City of Vancouver
Keywords: active transportation, climate action, land use planning, transportation

Anh Le

The purpose of this project is to determine how the built environment of rapid transit stations can impact gender inclusion. The project examines gender and transit through an intersectional lens, identifying barriers to access and biases in the built environment. Recommendations for specific built environment features are identified based on a literature review, a survey conducted in Vancouver, and policies from five cities that lead the way in gender inclusion and transit.

Partner: City of Vancouver
Keywords: social sustainability, transportation

Emily Baird

This project pilots holistic neighbourhood-scale evaluation methods adapted from the City's Resilient Neighbourhood Design Tool (RNDT). A selection of resilience and sustainability indicators is used to assess the performance of a typological model corresponding to an existing low-density Vancouver neighbourhood for three projective growth scenarios (e.g., limited, moderate, and intense densification).

Partner: City of Vancouver
Keywords: active transportation, climate action, land use planning, transportation, neighbourhood resilience

Noora Hijra

This project aims to benchmark the monthly non-exhaust emissions from tire wear and brake wear of the City of Vancouver's light-duty fleet. It describes several technological and non-technological strategies to reduce the fleet's non-exhaust emissions, improve urban air quality, and mitigate environmental issues. Implementing a fleet emission reduction strategy for both combustion sources and non-combustion sources is vital in response to the climate emergency.

Partner: City of Vancouver
Keywords: climate action, zero emission vehicles, transportation

Mehmud Iqbal

This project aims to understand and define best practices for a just transition in Vancouver. The executive summary highlights findings from a preliminary labour market analysis of Vancouver and a jurisdictional scan of just transition practices happening globally at a local and regional level. The findings and recommendations will advise the just transition section of the Vancouver Economic Commission's development of the Zero Emissions Economic Transition Action Plan (ZEETAP).

Partner: City of Vancouver
Keywords: climate action, equity, diversity, inclusion, green economy, leadership & behaviour change, social sustainability, sustainable development & green economy

Vanessa Sun

This aim of this project is to review plans, policies, and strategies prepared in other jurisdictions related to understanding, managing, and protecting groundwater. Recommendations for leading practices and actions currently being executed in other jurisdictions that may be suitable for the City of Vancouver's groundwater management strategy are provided. The recommendations cover issues such as climate change, groundwater contamination, and groundwater conservation.

Partner: City of Vancouver
Keywords: clean water water, groundwater

Michaela Dyck

This project aims to support the development of the recently implemented Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) at the City of Vancouver. It highlights the benefits of ERGs for marginalized identities, the organizational advantages, and anticipates possible challenges to address in order to ensure their long term success. Includes a summary of current ERG concerns and needs, interviews with experienced municipalities, a list of best practices, and a set of appendices that act as a toolkit.

Partner: City of Vancouver
Keywords: equity diversity, inclusion, healthy city, leadership & behaviour change, social sustainability

Valeria Alcaraz

The purpose of this project is to investigate culturally safe ways to conduct Indigenous research, with a focus on gender-based violence research. This work is needed to ensure that investigative strategies essential for policy and program planning do not further perpetuate violence. Recommendations are made to align practices with critical mandates from the TRC, the National Inquiry, RWR and UNDRIP, as well as best practices in culturally safe research.

Partner: City of Vancouver
Keywords: equity diversity, inclusion, healthy city, leadership & behaviour change, social sustainability, cultural safety, reconciliation, self-determination, data sovereignty, reconciliation, ethics, research, MMIWG, gender-based violence, Indigenous

Eryn Braley

This project aims to inform how the City of Vancouver's Social Policy & Projects Division can further support community-based non-profits as they work towards greater equity and inclusion. The report reveals aspects of organizational equity policy and areas of action common in non-profits. Recommendations for Social Policy include embedding an equity lens into its granting programs, convening a non-profit community of practice, and streamlining granting/capacity-building efforts within the City.

Partner: City of Vancouver
Keywords: equity, diversity, inclusion, healthy city, leadership & behaviour change, social sustainability

Emily Van Halem

This project investigates the organic waste-to-energy solutions for a small municipality on Vancouver Island. It surveys the current technological landscape and the ways in which other local governments in Canada are addressing organic waste management in their communities. Several potential solutions are subjected to a full cost-benefit analysis to assess private and economic returns, and to help inform future decision-making on whether to implement the solutions identified.

Partner: District of Central Saanich
Keywords: food systems, waste management & recycling, waste to energy

Timio Colistro

This project highlights opportunities to embed relevant climate action and energy management curricula into Indigenous post-secondary education and training. This research is intended to provide better support and opportunities to Indigenous people interested in clean energy and climate training, and to highlight existing programs at BC post-secondary and training institutions that can be adapted or enhanced to embed relevant climate action or energy management curriculum and content.

Partner: BC Hydro
Keywords: leadership & behaviour change, social sustainability, sustainability in education

Janna Wale

This project aims to lay the foundation for the City of New Westminster to create a climate equity framework to guide its climate action and assess different groups' vulnerability to climate change. The report provides a literature review of other North American approaches to climate equity and recommends climate equity indicators and potential next steps specific to New Westminster.

Partner: City of New Westminster
Keywords: leadership & behaviour change, social sustainability, equity

Lekha Tlhotlhalemaje

This project supports the development of guidelines meant to assist homeowners during energy retrofits on heritage houses. In creating these guidelines, the goal is to inspire homeowners to consider the best retrofit strategy for their house while ensuring that architectural features and materials of heritage value are maintained.

Partner: City of New Westminster
Keywords: green buildings, heritage, energy retrofits

Sophie Belzil

Launched in November 2020, the Renovate Smart Kamloops program (RSK) is one of Canada's newest community energy efficiency programs. The program provides home owner information on energy upgrades and incentives to advance comfort and reduce GHG emissions. This report analyzes data gathered through RSK's participant intake and feedback surveys, provides an overview of four successful energy retrofit programs and provides recommendations for how the RSK program might increase participation.

Partner: City of Kamloops
Keywords: green buildings, leadership & behaviour change

Andrea Barriga Guerra

The purpose of this project is to identify the challenges involved in retrofitting electric vehicle chargers in parking stalls of strata buildings. The project explores technical and legal constraints, and looks at local case studies of success stories. It also includes insights from experts and infographics to help strata councils in the retrofitting process.

Partner: UBC
Keywords: green buildings, transportation

Adriana Valentina Farias

This report offers recommendations in support of an Electric Vehicle (EV) strategy for the City of Prince George. It addresses the unique demographic, climatic, and topographic characteristics of the City and provides suggestions on how to overcome barriers to EV adoption. The report also includes information on how to improve the availability of home, workplace, and public charging and how to generate awareness about EV technology.

Partner: City of Prince George
Keywords: transportation, Electric Vehicles, Northern British Columbia

Pulkit Kathuria

The purpose of this project is to define and map the BC-based low/no carbon clean/green-tech construction ecosystem to inform industry and stakeholders on the current state of BC's cleantech construction sector.

Partner: Scius Advisory Inc.
Keywords: green buildings, supply chain management & green procurement, sustainable development & green economy

Peter Sun

Managed charging and energy storage can offer many benefits and electric vehicles are increasingly seen as viable energy storage assets. Using EV batteries to power homes via the vehicle-to-building model can provide economic benefits for EV owners and help offset the significant capital cost of EVs. The research looks to understand the technical contexts, EV storage capacity, and cost savings for owners based on projections for EV uptake in British Columbia.

Partner: Community Energy Association
Keywords: sustainable development & green economy, transportation

Amaiya Khardenavis