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

This study examines a number of external forces that have the potential to affect the industry uses and the demands of industrial lands in the Metro Vancouver region. Overall, the literature highlights that industrial uses are rapidly changing globally, and without a deliberate policy in place, industrial lands will likely be converted to other uses. The topics explored in this study shed light on a number of these emerging issues, as well as potential opportunities and challenges.

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

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2016
Dustin Lupick

This report details the impact of climate on the forested ecosystems of the Water Supply Area (WSA) of Metro Vancouver. It examines disturbance and climate history in the area, including a general discussion of how drought impacts forested ecosystem, followed by a more detailed discussion regarding the history of wildfires, insect outbreaks, and drought within the WSA. The report also includes an examination of future trends within the region.

Partner: Metro Vancouver
Keywords: ecological systems, water

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2016
Derek van der Kamp

The objective of this study is to review the literature on improved fuels for transportation, and their impact on transportation emissions, as well as explore policy and regulation that could be used to motivate a transition to improved fuels. The focus is on fuels that could replace conventional gasoline and diesel, with particular emphasis on on‐road vehicle applications.

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

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2016
Hasti Hosseinizand

This report describes a synthesis of sustainability, health promotion, and wellbeing initiatives at various universities that was completed at the national and international level. The purpose of this work was to assist with developing a set of recommendations to inform UBC’s path in activating and formalizing the adopting of the Okanagan Charter.

Partner: Wellbeing at UBC
Keywords: social sustainability

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2016
Alison Cassidy

Health Emergency Management BC (HEMBC) and Lower Mainland Facilities Management (LMFM) are partnering on a multi-phased project to develop adaptation action plans at the facility-level to holistically strengthen the climate resilience of health care facilities in the Lower Mainland. This report summarizes the first of multiple phases of this project, which aims to provide a first glance at the current state of our facilities’ resilience to extreme events in order to identify priority areas before conducting more detailed assessments that will shape the site-specific adaptation plans.

Partner: Fraser Health
Keywords: social sustainability

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2016
Jackie Yip

The primary objective of this report is to inform strategies for the City of Vancouver’s private property tree planting programs in order to help achieve Vancouver’s Greenest City target of 150,000 newly planted trees by 2020. This project examines cultural nuances, using interviews, surveys and relevant literature, within the Chinese and South Asian communities as they relate to private property tree planting.

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

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2015
Gurtej Tung and Elaine Zeng

Coastal cities all over the world have begun planning for sea level rise out of the recognition of its potential impacts on our land, infrastructure and communities. Public participation is a key part of good planning processes; however, the scope and complexity of climate change demands that planners utilize innovative tools to communicate and engage with the public. This report includes the background, rationale and a roadmap to demonstrate how the recommended engagement tools can used in combination to achieve public participation on sea level rise. 

Partner: City of Vancouver
Keywords: climate and renewables, leadership & behaviour change

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2015
Tina Barisky

This report discusses the data that is collected by the city on water consumption in parks. The data itself, the collection process, storage, access and the people involved are included, along with some recommendations. 

Partner: City of Vancouver
Keywords: lighter footprint, water

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2015
Daniel Klein

This report explores sustainable commuting options for the staff driving to and from the Vancouver Police Department’s (VPD) Graveley Campus. The VPD is striving to reduce its carbon footprint and by encouraging staff to “green” their commute, this project addresses both this goal and other strategies outlined in the 2015 VPD Business Plan.

Partner: City of Vancouver
Keywords: green transportation, transportation

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2015
Mania Nematifar

This project is intended to help the Vancouver Fire and Rescue Service (VFRS) meet the City’s 2020 Green Buildings Goal. The report includes 1) an audit and assessment of current energy usage and practices at the firehalls; and 2) a technical analysis of recommendations for reducing GHG emissions. The results provide information to inform successful implementation of new systems, technologies, and best practices to reduce energy usage at the VFRS.

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

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2015
Ashley Boulter

Well-designed outdoor lighting can contribute to an accessible, healthy, and liveable city. At the same time, cities need to better understand and manage the negative impacts of unnecessary outdoor lighting at night on human health and safety, and on wildlife. The purpose of this project was to lay the groundwork for developing an outdoor lighting strategy by identifying precedents and best practices used in other jurisdictions and recommending ways City staff can move forward on the Vancouver Outdoor Lighting Strategy motion to council.

Partner: City of Vancouver
Keywords: climate and renewables

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2015
Kathryn Lennon

Vancouver has the goal of being the Greenest City in the world by 2020. In order to achieve this, the City has created both a public facing Greenest City Action Plan and an internal Green Operations Plan which looks at the City’s own operations. The Green Operations Plan includes both organization-wide Corporate Initiatives and more specific Departmental Action Plans. This report details the research conducted to develop a Departmental Action Plan for the Real Estate and Facilities Management department.

Partner: City of Vancouver
Keywords: green buildings, ecological systems, waste management & recycling

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2015
Andrea Bassett

The Vancouver Park Board plays an important role in helping the City achieve its sustainability goals, and this includes the “greening” of Park Board operations through sustainable procurement and other means. This project includes the results from 1) testing a compost tea spray on golf greens with the aim of reducing overall fungicide required for maintaining high-quality golf greens; and 2) testing a selection of “green” fertilizers on a sports field with the aim of reducing overall fertilization required for maintenance of high‐quality sports fields.

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

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2015
Emme Lee

This report outlines a sustainable infrastructure rating system to track the sustainability of the City of Vancouver’s infrastructure projects (primarily utility, sewer, water and road work) to provide direction to future projects. 

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

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2015
Ariel Peixian Li

This project focusses on the design and construction operations of the water, sewer and streets departments. The overall goal is to identify gaps in current practices and opportunities for using project management tools to address the identified gaps.

Partner: City of Vancouver
Keywords: green buildings, waste management & recycling, water

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2015
Raghav Grover

Cycling is gaining speed in Vancouver, and ridership has increased significantly since 2008. Unfortunately, reports indicate that the quantity and quality of bicycle parking has been unable to match this upsurge in ridership. Issues such as bicycle theft, insufficient space, and inconvenient facility locations are frustrating cyclists and threatening to slow the gains in cycling mode share. This report aims to address these issues by focusing on off-street, residential bicycle parking, which is an area of particular concern amongst cyclists. 

Partner: City of Vancouver
Keywords: green transportation, transportation

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2015
Patrick Bell

The report examines strategies used by cities from around the world to maximize the use of existing parking infrastructure in an effort to reduce the need for future parking construction and promote other forms of travel. These outlined strategies will then be applied to the West End neighbourhood in Vancouver in order to demonstrate how progressive parking policies can relieve parking shortages while still promoting the City’s sustainable transportation initiatives. 

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

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2015
Neal Abbott

This report focuses on the best practices of design, engagement, and evaluation of all-ages and abilities cycling facilities on commercial high streets and pedestrian-priority spaces to ensure safe, comfortable, and convenient cycling to destinations.

Partner: City of Vancouver
Keywords: green transportation, transportation

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2015
Alix Krahn

New technological innovations in the passenger transportation industry in the form of “ridesourcing services” (also known as “ridesharing”) are disrupting and transforming the taxi industry. Using available research and data, this study reviews all the documented impacts of Uber, and how governments in North America are developing new approaches to regulate the emerging and controversial ridesourcing/ridesharing industry. 

Partner: City of Vancouver
Keywords: green transportation, transportation

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2015
Victor Ngo

“Growing more food in the city” was identified as part of the City of Vancouver’s Greenest City 2020 Action Plan. Various steps have been taken to better support and work with residents and community groups that are interested in establishing food growing spaces in order to promote healthy urban systems and active living and wellness. This urban agriculture manual is intended to provide the necessary information to successfully apply for, design and construct an Urban Agriculture Project on City of Vancouver publicly owned land. 

Partner: City of Vancouver
Keywords: local food, ecological systems, food systems

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2015
Anezka Gocova

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