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. Managed by the UBC Sustainability Hub.
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.

Apply

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.

Fraser Estuary Research Collaborative (FERC)

A new stream in the Sustainability Scholars Program focusing on applied research with the goal of restoring and protecting the endangered Fraser Estuary.

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.

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.

Fund scholars

Climate change, biodiversity loss, and growing inequality are some of the most urgent issues facing our world today. Support from donors will allow scholars to make a direct impact through organizations doing the on-the-ground work needed to address climate change and other critical sustainability challenges.

Program History

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

The objectives of this project are to undertake a review of emerging best practice examples from cities around North America on carshare parking policies. Policies such as ending trips at on-street meters, off-street parking requirements, and parking relaxations and incentives for publically-available car share vehicles are reviewed.

Partner: City of Vancouver
Keywords: green transportation, sustainable development & green economy

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2018
Rainer Lempert

This document serves as a guide for the City of Vancouer's Solutions Lab Community of Practice (SLab CoP) as it continues to evolve in 2018/2019. The plan for building practices and nurturing community has been informed by the first three sessions prototyped in Summer of 2018 and input gathered from current core group members of the CoP.

Partner: City of Vancouver
Keywords: leadership & behaviour change, social sustainability, sustainability in education

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2018
Lily Raphael

This goal of this report is to shed light on wise practices that can serve to inform the collaborative development of the next Healthy City Action Plan. The research approach involved a literature review of cross-sector collaboration as well as learning from three precedent models by reviewing their approaches to governance, finance, implementation, and evaluation.

Partner: City of Vancouver
Keywords: healthy city, leadership & behaviour change

PDF
2018
Emily Morales

The purpose of this project is to assist the Community Impact Real Estate Society (CIRES) in developing an efficient and updateable geospatial dataset that establishes a baseline of space, uses, and metrics for its retail portfolio. This report provides an overview of how the CIRES Web Map application was created. It also includes a summary of the data collection process, how the data is analyzed, the web application widget choices as well as some of the challenges and decision-making points throughout the project.

Partner: City of Vancouver
Keywords: healthy city, green buildings, social sustainability

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2018
Natalie Chan Ho Man

The City of Vancouver has a lease agreement until 2026 for a facility that will soon be vacated. As the facility possesses a commercial kitchen and is located within the Downtown Eastside, there is a unique opportunity to help develop options to serve community needs and advance the City’s social policy goals. The focus of this report is an assessment of the challenges and opportunities associated with the facility, as well as potential uses and tenants.

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

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2018
Kendall Andison

This report explores best practices in workplace-based childcare and how they might be supported by the City of Vancouver. The review provides information on operating models; facility siting and design; supply and demand; employer partnerships; as well as other criteria that pertain to workplace childcare. It aims to provide preliminary considerations to the City of Vancouver as it develops policy for quality, non-profit workplace childcare.

Partner: City of Vancouver
Keywords: social sustainability

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2018
Jacqueline Hunter

Indigenous concepts of wellness are distinct from western notions of wellness, and are unique to each Indigenous community’s respective worldview. As such, there is a growing recognition of the need for indicators that reflect Indigenous notions of wellness This project focuses on how to develop strengths-based, culturally relevant Indigenous wellness indicators for the City of Vancouver’s Healthy City Strategy in collaboration with the urban Indigenous community.

Partner: City of Vancouver
Keywords: social sustainability

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2018
Kathleen Heggie

The City of Vancouver has an extensive fleet of vehicles. Due to the significant impact of transportation on total greenhouse gas emissions across the region, the City wants to reduce this impact by replacing more internal combustion engine vehicles (ICEVs) in its fleet with electric vehicles (EVs). This study uses life cycle analysis to comparatively analyze two vehicle models of similar size of each type (ICEV and EV) currently used in the City’s fleet. 

Partner: City of Vancouver
Keywords: lighter footprint, transportation

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2018
Balpreet Kukreja

To support the City of Vancouver’s goals of zero emission new buildings by 2030 and for 100% of the city’s energy to come from renewable energy by 2050, the city is exploring solar energy generation on underutilized rooftop spaces and business models that would make this possible. This report investigates administrative and legal structures of successfully operating rooftop solar utilities and co-operatives, including ownership models and rate structures.

Partner: City of Vancouver
Keywords: climate and renewables, green buildings

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2018
M.K. Anand

The City of Vancouver is working towards zeroing its carbon emissions. Goods and services procured by the City continue to be the key contributors to GHG emissions. Through this project, the City is interested in assessing the magnitude of emissions associated with a good or a service to understand the strategic importance of suppliers as a part of corporate GHG reductions plan and to focus on contractors with the most significant impact.

Partner: City of Vancouver
Keywords: climate and renewables, green economy, supply chain management & green procurement

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2018
Sri Apoorva Kota

Vancouver is home to a wide range of establishments that support reuse activities. While there are several reuse, recycling, and disposal resources online for residents to consult, there is no consolidated resource that compiles zero waste assets into one platform. Drawing from community based asset mapping theory, this report applies a participatory mapping framework to propose a methodology for developing, maintaining, and analyzing a zero waste assets map.

Partner: City of Vancouver
Keywords: zero waste, waste management & recycling

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2018
Sarah Labahn

This report proposes a methodology  to facilitate informed decision making about the participation in Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR)-- management systems based on industry taking responsibility for the products they produce through their full life-cycle--to aid in negotiating fair compensation for participation. This model was conceived as a dynamic tool that can be used in different contexts, in bigger or smaller operations.

Partner: City of Vancouver
Keywords: zero waste, waste management & recycling

PDF
2018
Rodrigo Santistevan

This feasibility study consisted of analyzing current wastewater flow and concentration data from various sources at UBC, and applying growth estimates to determine parameters for a conservative wastewater treatment design. The use of best available proven technology for a compact treatment design was a requirement due to space limitations on campus, and to meet spray irrigation effluent requirements for water re-use (Class A effluent), recover nutrients, and capture energy from the wastewater.

Partner: UBC Sustainability and Engineering
Keywords: sustainability in education, waste management & recycling, water

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2017
Majid Keshavarzfathy

The University of British Columbia (UBC) wanted to create a legacy of real-time reporting for the International Sustainable Campus Network (ISCN) conference. The goal of real-time reporting was to fully understand the sustainability footprint of the ISCN conference and to develop shareable tools to capture, measure and report on the environmental footprint and sense of wellbeing at the conference in real time.

Partner: UBC Sustainability
Keywords: sustainability in education, sustainable development & green economy

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2017
Emily Mann

Mental health and resilience have been identified as a priority area for UBC to address in order to become a health and wellbeing promoting university. The purpose of this project was to develop a draft of the action framework for the mental health and resilience priority. The action framework intends to establish a shared vision, working definitions of mental health and resilience, and to synthesize existing strategies, practices, and actions across both UBC campuses.

Partner: UBC Wellbeing
Keywords: social sustainability, sustainability in education

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2017
Michael Jae Song

This report  provides a high-level introduction to community solar gardens, a concept that has proven effective in increasing the accessibility of solar energy in the United States. Best practices and policies from Canada and the US will be explored, including community engagement strategies, project plan, technology evaluation, design and development, and financing options available. This report will also provide an update on the status of the Urban Solar Garden project in New Westminster, British Columbia.

Partner: City of New Westminster
Keywords: sustainable development & green economy, green buildings

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2017
Ryan Voon

This report provides City Council and staff with an updated version of New Westminster’s Sustainability Report Card as well as a synopsis of interview feedback. The updated report would be in alignment to various sustainability strategies and plans. In addition, the newly revised report card will be a tool for staff and applicants to engage and encourage responsible practices using a social/cultural, economic, and environmental lens. 

Partner: City of New Westminster
Keywords: leadership & behaviour change, sustainable development & green economy, green buildings

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2017
Kai Okazaki

This paper explores how organizations can work to embed sustainability into their corporate culture by learning from the experiences of municipalities and businesses across Canada. The report outlines the best practices for how a municipality can embed sustainability into their corporate culture as well as highlights case studies that showcase local businesses’ sustainability practices and initiatives. 

Partner: Township of Langley
Keywords: leadership & behaviour change, sustainable development & green economy

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2017
Christina Treleaven

The BC Energy Step Code is a voluntary roadmap that establishes progressive steps to transition to constructing net-zero energy-ready buildings by 2032. The City of Maple Ridge is exploring the potential to use this optional roadmap to encourage more energy-efficient buildings. The key components of this project include: developing possible scenarios for the adoption of the BC Energy Step Code in Maple Ridge; modeling energy and GHG emissions reductions for each scenario; and creating a GHG modelling tool in Excel for development planning purposes.

Partner: City of Maple Ridge
Keywords: green buildings

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2017
Thi Nguyen

Establishing building energy labelling for the multi-family building sector could provide an impetus for more energy efficient design and construction, and greater energy conservation in a building type that is becoming increasingly significant in the Lower Mainland, and across BC and Canada. This report outlines stakeholder perspectives regarding the value and feasibility of developing an energy label which would accurately reflect the energy performance of multi-family buildings.

Partner: UBC Sustainability & Engineering
Keywords: green buildings, sustainable development & green economy

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2017
Jessica Hayes

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