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.

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.

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

The purpose of this project is to improve the individual and collective wellbeing of Indigenous, Black and People of Colour (IBPOC) staff and faculty at UBC through development of a podcast series focused on IBPOC wellbeing, equity, and community.

Partner: UBC Athletics & Recreation
Keywords: leadership & behaviour change, social sustainability, equity, inclusion, BIPOC

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2021
Erin de Sousa

 An assessment of the current state of UBC Department of Athletics & Recreation's equity, diversity, and inclusion initiatives, and a review of related programs in peer institutions across Canada. The report includes recommendations for resources and tools that can be developed at UBC to support identified needs for education and/or growth for staff and students in this area.

Partner: UBC Athletics & Recreation
Keywords: leadership & behaviour change, equity, inclusion

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2021
Aayza Asim

This project aims to understand ways in which the resources, materials, and facilitator training for a family health promotion program known as Healthy Together can be optimized by partner organizations to work for newcomer immigrants to Canada. The findings from the project have informed several recommendations in which the materials and facilitator training can be adapted to facilitate delivery for newcomer families to Canada.

Partner: The Bridge Youth and Family Services
Keywords: food systems, leadership & behaviour change, social sustainability 

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2021
Abdul-Fatawu Abdulai

This project explores the supports and challenges that Squamish Nation members living with physical disabilities face in their everyday lives. The report discusses the accessibility and inclusion challenges of working with various partner organizations and service providers in order to provide useful recommendations to support Squamish Nation members living with physical disabilities.

Partner: Squamish Nation
Keywords: food systems, leadership & behaviour change, social sustainability

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2021
Ling-En Lo

Applying an equity, inclusion, and reconciliation lens this project reflects on the biases and discrimination long-established in the Real Estate sector. It demonstrates how systems of oppression and injustice have been challenged within the sector, equipping individuals and organizations with access to resources and positive examples. Includes an annotated bibliography, list of resources, glossary of terms and examples of initiatives explored by members of the Social Purpose Real Estate Collaborative.

Partner: Social Purpose Real Estate Collaborative (SPEC)
Keywords: leadership & behaviour change, real estate sector

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2021
Danielle Bizinelli

This project seeks to understand the barriers to implementing a Green Industrial Innovation District (GrIID) in the False Creek Flats. The report discusses land affordability, climate action, existing industrial policy, and the active and eager business community that form the unique landscape of forces to be considered in what would be Vancouver's first circular economy hub.

Partner: Recycling Alternative
Keywords: supply chain management & green procurement, sustainable development & green economy, waste management & recycling, circular economy 

 

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2021
Anika Bursey

This research project includes a jurisdictional scan of income-qualified home retrofit programs across North America and makes recommendations for better practices for an equity-focused program delivery model. Furthermore, an in-depth analysis of BC Hydro and FortisBC's Energy Conservation Assistance Program (ECAP) is completed and supported by a customer journey map to illustrate points of stress in the ECAP customer journey.

Partner: Ecotrust Canada
Keyword: leadership & behaviour change, real estate sector, retrofits

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2021
Laura MacTaggart

This project aims to understand the state of youth engagement in Metro Vancouver and evaluate CityHive's youth programming through survey evaluations and focus groups. Includes an environmental scan of youth engagement programs and opportunities in Metro Vancouver and recommendations to deepen CityHive's connection with alumni, improve their programming, and reach out to under-engaged youth.

Partner: CityHive Youth Engagement Society
Keywords: leadership & behaviour change, social sustainability

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2021
Adriana Valentina Farias

The purpose of this project is to enable government officials and community champions to not only better understand what sustainable procurement is, but to also drive sustainable procurement pilot projects and programs in their city. This guide outlines key sustainable procurement terms, case studies, and a best practice framework for getting started. 

Partner: Canadian Collaboration for Sustainable Procurement (CCSP)
Keywords: leadership & behaviour change, supply chain management & green procurement

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2021
Andrea Barriga Guerra

This project investigates potential approaches to leverage data and enhance the functionality of the Business Energy and Emission Profile (BEEP) a carbon mapping tool for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) used by Climate Smart. Specifically, this project developed ways to present quantitative and qualitative emissions data, identified potential analysies to provide new insight into SME emissions and reductions, and provided recommendations on estimating cost savings associated with emissions.

Partner: Climate Smart Business Inc.
Keywords: sustainable development & green economy 

 

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2021
Minjeong Park

This project aims to understand how the City of Kelowna has aligned local sustainability efforts with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In conducting Canada's first Voluntary Local Review the project identified localized targets, trends, challenges and opportunities relevant to each of the 17 SDGs. The project highlights the relevance of local governance to meet global goals through local action towards a more in inclusive, resilient and sustainable society.

Partner: British Columbia Council for International Cooperation (BCCIC)
Keywords: social sustainability, sustainable development & green economy

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2021
Jonah Erickson

The purpose of this project was to support the long-term vision of the South Vancouver Food Hub by exploring the food asset landscape in South Vancouver and describing what has made for successful Food Hubs in Canada. The report focuses on the current barriers, trends and gaps in food spaces and programs and the best practices in food hub design.

Partner: South Vancouver Neighbourhood House
Keywords: food systems, social sustainability

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2021
Shanti Thurber

This project aims to visually communicate the importance of restoration work completed throughout the Lower Fraser River region. Visualization of restoration efforts such as this may increase public support and capital investment for restoration efforts in the region. The Sturgeon Bank Sediment Enhancement Pilot Project was utilized as a demonstration project, illustrating the opportunity to improve community resilience and ecological health at Sturgeon Bank.

Partner: The Rivershed Society of BC
Keywords: biodiversity, ecological systems

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2021
Lexi Maxwell

This project outlines a strategy to help inform Blockchain for Climate Foundation's establishment of a working group to assist in the development of a blockchain solution for the operationalization of Article 6 of the Paris Agreement. The final deliverable provides an overview of the initiative, as well as key considerations for building flexibility into the working group design by offering different means of engaging with the blockchain solution and offering feedback.

Partner: Blockchain for Climate Foundation (BfCF)
Keywords: international cooperation, climate change mitigation

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2021
Nadine Van Dalen

Through network mapping and primary market research, this project aims to identify gaps and opportunities within the BC textile industry when implementing circular strategies and diverting textile waste from landfills. This report explains the problems the textile industry is facing, why there is urgency to create system level change and what next steps should be taken to act on the insights identified through the research conducted.

Partner: The Leverage Lab
Keywords: leadership & behaviour change,waste management & recycling

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2021
Maria Thorlakson

This project assesses LEAF's certification and auditing process effectiveness in supporting a high sustainability standard by comparing the environmental performance of LEAF certified food service operators to  conventional foodservice operators. A quantitative analysis reveals that LEAF certified operations consistently outperform conventional food service operators in the large majority of metrics assessed; and LEAF certified venues have consistently improved their environmentally sustainable operations over time.

Partner: LEAF
Keywords: food systems, sustainable development & green economy, waste management & recycling

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2021
Juan D. Martinez

This project aimed to identify methods of addressing, mitigating, and coping with climate grief at the population, community, and individual levels. Of the two reports, one details the ways populations, communities, or individuals may experience climate grief and the wide variety of interventions and strategies that may be used to address climate grief. The other report serves as a toolkit of activities for use with groups and individuals to help them address and cope with climate grief. Link to a related webinar "Mental Health & Our Changing Climate: Impacts, Implications and Practices."

Partner: Fraser Basin Council
Keywords: social sustainability, mental health, climate grief, climate anxiety, solistalgia

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2021
Judy Wu

This project explores the impact of current land use policy and regulations on the potential for improving the affordability, and increasing the stock of energy-efficient, low-carbon and resilient housing in British Columbia. It focuses on identifying the barriers to resilient multi-family housing, defined here as housing that is designed and managed to decrease vulnerability to climate-related risks such as increased heat, air quality events due to wildfires, and flooding.

Partner: BC Housing
Keywords: ecological systems, green buildings, sustainable development & green economy

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2020
Gideon Odionu

This project aims to provide valuable insights into Energy Save New West (ESNW), the City of New West’s energy efficiency program progress and future program initiative opportunities for existing homes. Includes a thorough analysis of EnerGuide Rating System (ERS) reports and participant survey data, best practices review of selected US-based energy efficiency programs, and recommendations for the program improvement opportunities to support the City’s energy and GHG reduction targets.

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

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2020
Sue Youn Chung

With almost 6 billion CAD in assets, 18 billion in planned investments and the recognition of vulnerabilities to climate change, TransLink will need to invest in climate change adaptation actions. This will require securing resources, performing vulnerability assessments using the best standards and including climate change adaptation objectives in TransLink's policies. TransLink will benefit from publishing a Climate Action and Resiliency Strategy to showcase adaptation and mitigation actions.  

Partner: TransLink
Keywords: leadership & behaviour change, sustainable development & green economy, transportation

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2020
Remzi M. Xhemalce Fuentes

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