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 investigate opportunities for renewable energy use in the City’s building portfolio (560 buildings) and develop a long-term strategy (35 years to 2040) for incorporation of renewable energy opportunities and reduction of GHG emissions.

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

PDF
2016
Michaela Neuberger

This report consists of a review of international best practices in transit fare policies from cities around the world based on academic literature, publicly available transit agency information, and interviews with transit agency stakeholders. The report identifies opportunities and challenges for the Metro Vancouver Region in the following areas: distance and zone based pricing, time of day pricing, differentiation by service type, concession fares, and approaches to policy changes. Lessons are drawn from each case study with a view to informing the City of Vancouver’s ongoing participation in TransLink’s Fare Review process.

Partner: City of Vancouver
Keywords: green transportation

PDF
2016
Peter Lipscombe

This report was prepared to support the “Preparing Vancouver for Autonomous and Driverless Cars” motion from February 2016. This report reviewed a variety of literature and was supplemented by interviews with City of Vancouver staff, researchers from UBC’s Transportation Infrastructure and Public Space Lab, consultants and TransLink staff. This information was used to determine future scenarios, a series of guiding principles for future policies, and immediate actions related to the introduction of autonomous vehicle technology.

Partner: City of Vancouver
Keywords: green transportation

PDF
2016
Cail Smith

This report contains design guidelines for Class B urban farms on City of Vancouver-owned land. These guidelines were produced for the Department of Social Planning and the City of Vancouver as an initiative of the Greenest City Scholar Program. It is a living document capable of being updated and edited to fit the needs of both urban farmers and the City of Vancouver.

Partner: City of Vancouver
Keywords: lighter footprint, food systems, sustainable development & green economy

PDF
2016
Christopher Szymberski

The objective of the study was to identify strategic actions for repositioning the Vancouver Landfill as a centre of Zero Waste excellence. The findings are based on 23 internal and external stakeholder interviews, a customer survey, and four case studies on facilities known for their resource recovery or Zero Waste.

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

PDF
2016
Allison Lasocha

The purpose of this project was to provide recommendations on how the City of Vancouver can assist SRO and subsidized housing buildings to divert their waste. The report includes research to identify barriers and issues that impede implementation of zero waste strategies, research on measures that have been or are being implemented by other jurisdictions, an estimate of the amount of solid waste generated from SRO and subsidized housing within the City.

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

PDF
2016
Andrew Martin

The Vancouver Landfill (VLF) Composting Facility closes the loop between collections and processing within City operations, diverts yard waste away from the landfill, and aims to produce high quality yard waste compost. This project supports the City of Vancouver's Zero Waste goal of reducing waste entering the Landfill by 50% of 2008 amounts. 

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

PDF
2016
John Musil

This report discusses research conducted during the summer of 2016 on the potential value of establishing a 2030 District in BC. Information was extracted from interviews with participants and leaders from other Districts and staff from the coordinating non-profit Architecture 2030, as well as from a literature review. Findings indicate that a 2030 District in BC could realize a number of key benefits.

Partner: BC Ministry of Energy and Mines & City of Richmond
Keywords: green buildings, leadership & behaviour change, sustainable development & green economy

PDF
2016
Fiona Jones

The provincial government has developed a stretch code with higher energy performance requirements than the B.C. Building Code (BCBC), to ensure that advances in energy efficient building design and technology continue within this new policy context. In anticipation of this new regulatory framework, this report assesses the supports available for the implementation of a stretch code in B.C. In order to do this, existing supports in B.C. are compared with those in five other leading beyond-base energy code jurisdictions across North America.

Partner: BC Ministry of Energy and Mines
Keywords: green buildings, sustainable development & green economy

PDF
2016
Karolina Pol

This report provides an overview of thermographic technology and its applications in evaluating building energy efficiency.  By reviewing this report, it is expected that readers will be informed of both the benefits and the challenges of using thermal cameras to survey energy efficiency, and will be better equipped for evaluating the feasibility of incorporating this technology in municipal programs. 

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

PDF
2016
Andrew Plowright

This report presents an overview of a project to assist the City of Surrey’s application of FCM’s Partners for Climate Protection Community Milestone 5: Monitor Progress and Report Results. The project included populating Surrey’s community greenhouse gas accounting tool with data, providing feedback, reports and briefings on the community GHG accounting tool, and preparing briefing documents summarizing four notable Surrey GHG reduction projects.

Partner: City of Surrey
Keywords: sustainable development & green economy

PDF
2016
Ian Theaker

Compared to other intensively managed and diversified farms, the UBC Farm is a highly integrated farm system. This allows the farm to manipulate a wholly contained food system that ranges from food production to processing and consumption across an agricultural and forested landscape. The purpose of this project was to help clarify the farm system components and relationships between them. This involved developing a concept map of the farm system then building a data index and and an evaluation sheet using the framework.

Partner: Centre for Sustainable Food Systems at UBC Farm
Keywords: ecological systems, food systems

PDF
2016
Xuesi Shen

This report describes research intended to inform Metro Vancouver and BC Hydro about potential incentive models which could lower the barriers to obtaining an EnerGuide evaluation and label. Such an incentive program would assist in increasing the affordability, accessibility, and acceptability of labelling as an informational tool, leading to a greater understanding of this landscape by homeowners and builders and further normalizing home energy labelling in the region.

Partner: Metro Vancouver
Keywords: green buildings, sustainable development & green economy

PDF
2016
Jessica Hayes

The Healthy Built Environment Linkages Toolkit is a guide to designing and creating a healthier built environment. It is based on health evidence research and informed by expert opinion. The toolkit was developed in 2014 for the BC Healthy Built Environment Alliance, a network of public health, planning, and design professionals. This research project was a review of new food systems literature since 2014. The research started with identifying key search terms and databases. Relevant articles were summarized and assessed. The strength of each link in the evidence diagram, was updated based on the number and quality of studies and findings supporting it. A number of new impacts and health outcomes were added as a result of this review.

Partner: Provincial Health Servcies Authority
Keywords: ecological systems, food systems, social sustainability

PDF
2016
Deanne Manzer

The goal of this project is to improve implementation of energy requirements of the British Columbia Building Code and investigate the relationship of code requirements with the energy credits associated with the UBC Residential Environmental Assessment Program certification, for UBC multi-family buildings. 

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

PDF
2016
Amy Ferguson

The GreenCare team focuses on issues relating to energy, environment and sustainability including recycling and composting at the Lower Mainland Health Organizations (LMHOs). The purpose of this project was to move forward GreenCare’s communications strategies and help in shaping the direction of their communications in the future. It was a combination of both a research report and pieces of online communications content. It included content writing for the GreenCare website, reviewing KPIs to track website trends, creating key metric reports, reviewing online engagement strategies, and developing a video proposal and script for a GreenCare video.

Partner: Fraser Health Authority 
Keywords: social sustainability

PDF
2016
Tess Munro

Integrating sustainable practices into health care is a complex process, due in part to the fast-paced nature of health care, the limited resources available to devote to issues seen as “outside patient care,” and biomedical cross-contamination in recycling. This project was developed to support an ongoing engagement strategy, keeping experienced leaders engaged, and looking at more systemic changes including culture change.

Partner: Fraser Health Authority 
Keywords: leadership & behaviour change, social sustainability, sustainable development & green economy

PDF
2016
Evan Hammer

The purpose of this report is to identify areas of improvement for the Solid Waste Research Collaborative (SWRC) and provide a series of recommendations based on a comparison of similar collaboratives. The report includes a literature review highlighting best practices for research collaboratives and a summary of interviews with six of research collaboratives from Canada and around the world. 

Partner: Metro Vancouver
Keywords: sustainability in education, waste management & recycling

PDF
2016
Shirin Karoubi

To support the Circular Economy Working Group of the National Zero Waste Council, this report aimed to clarify the concept of the circular economy in relation to the upstream waste prevention values of the council and identify the advantages of this congruency. Through a literature review and informational interviews with multiple council members, current practices were analyzed to explore how the concept of the circular economy is being applied in Canada and where opportunities exist to advance the concept further.

Partner: Metro Vancouver
Keywords: sustainable development & green economy, waste management & recycling

PDF
2016
Mike Phillips

This report summarizes the current state of science for several priority invasive species and recommends the most effective control techniques for these plant species in Metro Vancouver. Techniques range from mechanical, manual, cultural, biological and chemical control. Where knowledge gaps remain, this report also identifies opportunities for future research.

Partner: Metro Vancouver
Keywords: biodiversity, ecological systems

PDF
2016
Li Ma

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