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 report includes 1) an assessment of the future composition and quantity of demolition, land clearing and construction waste in the Vancouver Landfill (VLF); 2) the chemistry of the wood waste at the VLF; and 3) a review of the applicability of common thermal conversion techniques (including incineration, gasification and pyrolysis) for wood waste treatment. 

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

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2015
Maryam Zoughi

The City of Vancouver currently has 24,950 non-market housing units spread over 484 housing projects operated by 208 different organizations, and is actively pursuing the addition of 5,000 new housing units to their stock. The majority of these units were built between 1950 and 2000 and considering the advancements of mechanical equipment to cool and heat buildings built since then, these buildings have potential for energy savings and reduction of GHG emissions. This report includes a non-market multi-family housing energy retrofit analysis, and includes information on the state of the housing sector, current programs, energy efficiency retrofit program case examples, and recommendations. 

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

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2015
Hooman Shahrokhi

The report provides information for small project teams on how to access and process salvaged dimensional lumber. It also provides them with some recommended reuse opportunities for this lumber. In addition the report provides recommendations for the City of Vancouver and other governmental organizations to incentivize and facilitate salvaged wood reuse.

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

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2015
Zahra Teshnizi

The Healthy Workplace Initiatives Program (HWIP) is a health promotion program implemented by Human Resources at UBC. It is designed to address the university’s goal of being an employee-centered, socially sustainable community, of which health and wellbeing is an important component. The purpose of this project was to provide insight into best practices in order to enhance the programming capacity and increase the rate of success of the HWIP. Research included a best practices review of over 120 peer-review articles and development of an improved evidenced-based version of a stress model for the Workplace Experiences Survey.

Partner: UBC
Keywords: social sustainability

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2015
Shayesteh Jahanfar

In this project, we have aimed to understand further how UBC’s Human Resources department has utilized positive psychology, strengths-based inquiry, and Appreciative Inquiry into four of its leadership programs aimed at UBC faculty and staff, namely the  Academic Leadership Development Program (ALDP),the  Appreciative Leadership Program, Managing@UBC, and the Community Leadership Program (CLP).

Partner: UBC
Keywords: social sustainability, sustainability in education, leadership & behaviour change

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2015
Frances Narwaez

The report analyses key elements of sustainable design challenges and lessons learned on four LEED Gold Certified projects within four lower mainland health organizations. It also includes a post occupancy study of the facilities.

Partner: Fraser Health
Keywords: green buildings

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2015
Mahsa Akbarnejad

Sport Hosting Vancouver is a partnership between UBC, the City of Vancouver, the Vancouver Hotel Destination Association, Tourism Vancouver and PavCo. The objective of this project was to create a viable assessment framework, an assessment tool and an implementation plan to inform sound investment decisions, and bid development, and to support evaluation and reporting requirements.

Partner: World DanceSport Federation
Keywords: social sustainability, transportation, waste management & recycling

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2015
James Thompson

As part of a broad strategy to reduce energy and greenhouse gas emissions, the City of Victoria is developing an online decision support tool to inform its residents of the potential benefits of investing in solar hot water and photovoltaics  systems for their homes and businesses. This report outlines the details of a solar benefit calculator that will help decision-making and ultimatley reduce energy use, utility costs and carbon footprints.

Partner: City of Victoria
Keywords: green buildings

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2015
Amir Shoolestani

The purpose of this project was to support the Recycling Renewal Project at Lower Mainland Health Organizations by creating news stories based on interviews with Recycling Champions and researching best waste management practices in healthcare. The research also included development of an internal document summarizing the waste impact of the Lower Mainland Health Organizations, including the environmental and health impacts, and mitigations specific to the BC Lower Mainland.

Partner: Fraser Health
Keywords: waste management & recycling

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2015
Michelle Hepburn

This project evaluated a number of standards, technologies and methods for new home construction in the remote communities of the Great Bear Initiative Coastal First Nations in British Columbia. Current home construction in these communities does not address a number of technical, social, economic and cultural needs. Key issues to be addressed in new home construction, and recommended solutions are included in this report.

Partners: Pinna Sustainability, BC Hydro, Coastal First Nations
Keywords: green buildings, social sustainability

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2015
Dylan Heerema

This report includes a draft engagement strategy for the UBC Wellbeing Initiative’s  “Conversations in Wellbeing” program. The strategy proposed in this report is intended to help build and support a network of students, staff and faculty working on wellbeing-related issues, define community-based wellbeing priorities and inform the draft UBC Wellbeing strategy.

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

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2015
Stephanie Aitken and Jenna Dunsby

This report reviews and analyses commercially available biomass technology for the Bioenergy Research & Demonstration Facility (BRDF) at UBC to understand potential plant expansion capacity to meet UBC’s 2020 GHG emission reduction target of 67% below 2007 levels. 

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

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2015
Alessandro Deviato

The purpose of this report is to provide a snapshot of local government commitments to renewable energy projects in BC as of early 2015. It provides a reasonable base of renewable energy and district energy initiatives from the past five years, as well as a ‘heads up’ on what to expect from local governments. Additionally it will enable the Province time to ‘tool up’ in proactive support of anticipated local government efforts. Finally, it will provide other agencies with insights into future local government needs for policy, technology or funding support.

Partner: Community Energy Association
Keywords: leadership & behaviour change

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2015
Avis Petersen

The City of Vancouver is interested in reducing or minimizing chemical exposure in City operations. This project is aimed at developing an inventory of toxins associated with materials used in internal City operations.This report contributes to larger project that will seek to reduce and minimize chemical exposure across the City of Vancouver.

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

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2015
Erika Mak

The purpose of this project was to gain a broad historical perspective on conflict in the workplace, and to gain an explicit understanding of organizational learning and development initiatives as they relate to workplace conflict. 

Partner: UBC Human Resources
Keywords: social sustainability, sustainability in education

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2015
Maggie Castor

This report is a brief summary of the results obtained after benchmarking 22 of City of New Westminster’s corporate buildings using Energy Star Portfolio Manager. The list of buildings includes community centres, swimming pools, a firehall, a public library, a convention centre, and offices (among others). The building performance data includes energy consumption from December 2010 to Dec 2014.

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

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2015
Priyanka Chakrabarti

The GreenCare community works to instill sustainable practices throughout the lower mainland health authorities. This report describes a project to identify where opportunities for sustainable practices could be implemented in the GreenCare community as well as help move the lower mainland health authorities towards zero waste.

Partner: Fraser Health
Keywords: sustainable development & green economy, waste management & recycling

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2015
Shirin Karoubi

This report is a resource for individuals at Musqueam and UBC who recognize the value of effective, meaningful collaboration, and seek to strengthen the relationship between our communities. The insights in this report were drawn from interviews with individuals from the Musqueam Indian Band and the University of British Columbia with success working collaboratively between the two communities.

Partner: Musqueam & UBC
Keywords: social sustainability, sustainability in education

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2015
Aaron Lao

This report is a resource for individuals at Musqueam and UBC who recognize the value of effective, meaningful collaboration, and seek to strengthen the relationship between our communities. The insights in this report were drawn from interviews with individuals from the Musqueam Indian Band and the University of British Columbia with success working collaboratively between the two communities.

Partner: Musqueam & UBC
Keywords: social sustainability, sustainability in education

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2015
Aaron Lao

The City of Victoria has a target of reducing community greenhouse gas emissions by 33% by 2020. The purpose of this project was to help the City conduct energy and water benchmarking of its own buildings and explore development of a policy to require the same of large buildings in the community in order to improve data access, transparency, demonstrate leadership and advocate early adoption with regard to building energy use.

Partner: City of Victoria
Keywords: green buildings, water

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2015
Manojkiran Casilingam

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