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

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

PDF
2020
Remzi M. Xhemalce Fuentes

The project was commissioned to provide an analytic and synthesized energy poverty profile from the Census 2016 dataset for the City of Abbotsford. This data will help the City develop climate action plans and policies to reduce GHG emissions while providing for vulnerable and marginalized groups affected by blanket energy policy interventions. The report shows significant numbers of senior, lone-parent and racialized households experience energy poverty.

Partner: City of Abbotsford & CUSP
Keywords: green buildings, energy poverty

PDF
2020
Vincent Chireh

The project aims to identify best practices regarding approaches taken by transit authorities for partnering with local and/or senior levels of government to support the success of major transportation investments. Through case study reviews and interviews with practitioners, key takeaways were summarized. The findings from this study may help inform TransLink's approach to future Supportive Policies Agreements, which are called for by the 10-Year Vision for Metro Vancouver Transit and Transport. 

Partner: TransLink
Keywords: sustainable development & green economy, transportation, land use

PDF
2020
Veronica Ardila Vernaza

The project aims to identify best practices regarding approaches taken by transit authorities for partnering with local and/or senior levels of government to support the success of major transportation investments. Through case study reviews and interviews with practitioners, key takeaways were summarized. The findings from this study may help inform TransLink's approach to future Supportive Policies Agreements, which are called for by the 10-Year Vision for Metro Vancouver Transit and Transport. 

Partner: TransLink
Keywords: sustainable development & green economy, transportation, land use

PDF
2020
Veronica Ardila Vernaza

This project supports greenway planning in Vancouver by providing recommendations for equitable public engagement on greenways. These recommendations are aimed at addressing the City's Equity Framework Commitments. This research identifies that meaningfully advancing the equity of public engagements requires changes to embed equity at the project and institutional level. It concludes with a list of equitable engagement principles and strategies to guide the work of engagement practitioners.

Partner: City of Vancouver
Keywords: transportation, equity, public engagement

PDF
2020
Bronwyn McIlroy-Young

This research report supports the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority's (VFPA) existing body of work in Indigenous relations by providing an environmental scan of common practices relevant to strengthening port relationships with Indigenous communities. Such research findings will provide VFPA with strategic benchmarks to evaluate progress, identify gaps and opportunities, and inform the development of aspirational goals and objectives.

Partner: Vancouver Airport Authority
Keywords: leadership & behaviour change, social sustainability, supply chain management & green procurement 

PDF
2020
Yuki Zhang

This report was authorized by the City of Vancouver Sustainability Group to examine how the Sustainable Commuting Program can encourage City of Vancouver staff to commute more via active transit (walking/cycling) and public transit amidst recent Sustainable Commuting Program expansions, and to recommend ways of properly funding the Sustainable Commuting Program to avoid deficits while helping Vancouver achieve its Climate Emergency goals.

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

PDF
2020
Kenneth Santos

This project provides a global review of leading practices with respect to circular economy certification practices and applicability for procurement at the City of Vancouver. It includes a summary of a global review and interviews with representative staff at the City of Vancouver responsible for procurement (of products, equipment, infrastructure and services), as well as six recommendations for applying leading new Circular Economy procurement practices within the City of Vancouver.

Partner: City of Vancouver
Keywords: supply chain management & green procurement, sustainable development & green economy, waste management & recycling

PDF
2020
Max Cohen

BC's transition to a fossil-fuel-free transportation system brings with it a comprehensive transformation of the transportation sector and is guided and facilitated by multiple government policies. This project focusses on analyzing the suite of policies guiding this clean transportation transition at the city, regional and provincial levels with a view to quantifying changes in demand for clean transportation products; and thus, lay the foundation for a clean transportation market forecast.

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

PDF
2020
Neha Sharma

This research assesses the challenges and opportunities associated with obtaining mandatory home warranty for new multi-unit residential building (MURB) developments that incorporate the following two forms of green rainwater infrastructures (GRI): resilient roofs and/or rainwater harvesting in the City of Vancouver.

Partner: City of Vancouver
Keywords: green buildings

PDF
2020
Soraya Sarshar

This project examines alternate compliance approaches for private sites that may face specific constraints for meeting the City of Vancouver's rainwater management requirements. The policy, legal and financial barriers and opportunities for advancing alternate approaches are identified within Vancouver's current context, and successful approaches from Portland, Washington D.C and City of North Vancouver are documented. Possible approaches and next steps are identified for the City of Vancouver.

Partner: City of Vancouver
Keywords: rainwater 

PDF
2020
Sarah Marshall

This project aims to establish and apply a method to evaluate the biodiversity of the Park Board's golf and pitch and putt courses and make recommendations for enhancing biodiversity on the golf courses. The results will contribute to the Golf Strategy to be initiated in 2020 and improve understanding of how these spaces contribute to biodiversity, climate change mitigation and access to nature for a growing population.

Partner: City of Vancouver
Keywords: biodiversity, ecological systems, sustainability in education

PDF
2020
Uuganbadrakh Oyunkhishig

This report recommends methods to calculate the economic value of Vancouver's parks for three key benefits: tourism, recreation, and physical health; and briefly covers other benefits including property premiums, stormwater management, air quality and temperature regulation. This project will help Vancouver Park Board to secure funding for park maintenance, planning, and future development.

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

PDF
2020
Cheryl Ng

Through the Greenest City Action Plan and other strategies, the City of Vancouver strives to provide residents with access to nature. However, access to nature is a subjective experience that is difficult to plan for and measure. This report proposes a definition and mapping criteria for measuring and monitoring access to nature in Vancouver based on synthesized findings from a public engagement survey, interviews, a literature review, and a policy scan.

Partner: City of Vancouver
Keywords: ecological systems, social sustainability

PDF
2020
Joanne Fitzgibbons

This report presents regenerative planting design strategies for green rainwater infrastructure (GRI) in the road right-of-way. It suggests that connectivity is embodied by designed plant communities, and that the plant community approach contributes to the vision of the Rain City Strategy. Included are innovative methods, case studies, and conceptual frameworks that have potential to lower maintenance needs while enhancing communities and biodiversity through planting design.

Partner: City of Vancouver
Keywords: biodiversity, ecological systems, water

PDF
2020
Kendra Scanlon

This project explores behaviour change approaches for a future campaign to encourage the voluntary adoption of operational changes by the grocery retail sector in Vancouver to reduce the occurrence of wasted food and associated GHG emissions. These changes are integral to the City of Vancouver achieving zero waste by 2040 and becoming a leading city in food waste prevention.

Partner: City of Vancouver
Keywords: food systems, waste management & recycling

PDF
2020
Kat Jin

This project aims to address the challenges associated with urban freight and last-mile delivery by advancing the City of Vancouver's knowledge of existing loading assets. Includes the development of a framework and pilot for compiling a comprehensive and systematic inventory of both public and private loading facilities as well as a discussion of the opportunities, challenges, and recommendations for a future expansion of the inventory.

Partner: City of Vancouver
Keywords: transportation, urban freight

PDF
2020
Jimin Park

This project aims to monitor the early stages of how ride-hailing impacts Vancouver in terms of congestion and climate change. The report recommends policies that the City should consider implementing/adopting by quantifying, at a high level, the early stages of ride-hailing impacts. The work involved qualitative research to investigate curb management, congestion pricing and electric vehicles. The quantitative research is based on 4 months of data from Lyft.

Partner: City of Vancouver
Keywords: transportation

PDF
2020
Gracie Pu

This project analyzes how redevelopment may affect changes in the type of businesses that occupy commercial space (e.g., chain vs. independent stores) over time. Through statistical analysis, the study presents findings on business type occupancy, longevity and vacancies to confirm the extent to which new development favours chain businesses. Recommendations include ways the City can better support independent businesses in occupying new commercial retail space.

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

PDF
2020
Tru Taylor

The intention of this report is to provide policymakers with a general framework for approaching walkability, starting with a purely technical perspective and advancing towards a human-centred intersectional approach. The report also reviews the most common tools to measure different dimensions of walkability and explore the general findings of the existing literature. After reviewing this document, readers will know how to measure walkability and the limitations of their chosen methodology.

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

PDF
2020
Jorge Delgado-Ron

Pages