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

To explore options for reducing the health impacts of extreme heat events in Vancouver, the City of Vancouver is undertaking a number of Extreme Heat projects, of which this review is one. The focus of this research is to explore alternative strategies to traditional air conditioning in buildings to address the issue of overheating, with an emphasis on multi-unit residential buildings, and, in particular, retro-fitting existing buildings. 

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

PDF
2014
Cassie Tesche

This report summarizes a selection of City of Vancouver engineering projects to develop a framework to identify lessons learned that are transferable to future engineering projects. The findings are intended to bring improvements to project management practices at the City of Vancouver, and to help develop the language in contracts to improve the social sustainability aspects of projects carried out by private contractors.

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

PDF
2014
Rajesh Sachidanandan

The City of Vancouver is considering the role energy benchmarking of large commercial and institutional buildings could play in supporting energy reductions targeted in existing policy. An initial benchmarking process has been used to identify potential difficulties for a city-wide benchmarking initiative. Challenges encountered and lessons learned have been identified in this document. Examples include methods of obtaining data and data reliability as well as challenges associated with multi-use or multi-building properties.

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

PDF
2014
James Montgomery

The over-arching goal of this project was to compare single resource versus combined resource Demand Side Management (DSM) Programs, primarily in North America. The research examined the costs and benefits of combined DSM programs, as well as clarifying whether combined DSM programs do indeed provide increased savings for utility providers. Following on from this the hope was to be able to draw on the research findings to inform future DSM program development at BC Hydro.

Partner: BC Hydro
Keywords: sustainable development & green economy, water

PDF
2014
Ali Alnaggar

This project was produced for BC Hydro to identify trends that could impact future electricity consumption and effect  meeting their 66% energy savings target. The project involved a high-level scan of a range of social, technological and utility trends, followed by an in-depth analysis of Big Data and Analytics, and Networked Citizens to understand their influence on electricity generation, consumption, and future service provision.

Partner: BC Hydro
Keywords: social sustainability, sustainable development & green economy

PDF
2014
Georgia Piggot

This project was produced for BC Hydro to identify trends that could impact future electricity consumption and effect  meeting their 66% energy savings target. The project involved a high-level scan of a range of social, technological and utility trends, followed by an in-depth analysis of Big Data and Analytics, and Networked Citizens to understand their influence on electricity generation, consumption, and future service provision.

Partner: BC Hydro
Keywords: social sustainability, sustainable development & green economy

PDF
2014
Isabel Barrios

Studies on telecommuting have shown many qualitative benefits, such as increased productivity and improved work-life balance. However, research on quantitative benefits focuses primarily upon the energy and cost savings related to decreased oil consumption from reduced travel distance. The intention of this project was to provide background on current telecommuting and hoteling practices, as well as to investigate the potential energy savings due to the lowered utilization of office space and equipment.

Partner: BC Hydro
Keywords: sustainable development & green economy

PDF
2014
Leslie Mao

This report provides an assessment of the potential impacts of further Renewable Natural Gas ( RNG) market development in B.C. This includes reviewing the product value proposition, potential contribution towards Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emission reduction targets, and other socio-economic factors.

Partner: Fortis BC
Keywords: supply chain management & green procurement

PDF
2014
Adam Holmes

The overarching purpose of this project is to identify how the Musqueam community understands sustainability. The first goal was to assess how the community perceives sustainability on the reserve today and the second goal was to identify concerns and priorities. These goals work to further the objectives of the Musqueam Comprehensive Community Plan. 

Partner: Musqueum
Keywords: social sustainability

PDF
2014
Megan Herod

This report considers the water use of the UBC Athletics Department in order to recommend water saving upgrades and a department-wide sustainable water-use strategy.

Partner: UBC Athletics and Recreation
Keywords: green buildings, water

PDF
2014
Roxanne Nesbitt

This purpose of this project was to facilitate the Healthy UBC program in running an effective, evidence based health promotion program and to help UBC realize their goal of creating a progressive, sustainable work culture. The objectives were: build an evidence base to inform programming; identify how the organization can support and enable sustainable health promotion initiatives implemented at the department level; review existing evaluation tools; and make recommendations on how to best assess and demonstrate the unit’s overall impact on campus.

Partner: UBC Human Resources
Keywords: social sustainability

PDF
2014
Andrea Jones

This project intended to explore how an interactive theatre-based learning strategy affects participants’ awareness and understanding of conflict in the workplace. We developed a qualitative study that recognized the multicultural context that participants were immersed in, focusing on concepts like power and equality. This study was concerned with the potential shifts in participants’ abilities and thoughts on conflict in the workplace after participating in several sessions of Conflict Theatre. We were also interested in understanding the participants’ resilience capacity around conflict and difficult conversations in the workplace.

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

PDF
2014
Paola Adarve Zuluaga

Beginning in Fall 2013, the University of British Columbia began one of its largest public engagement processes to guide and inform the 20-Year Sustainability Strategy. This project involved the production of an engagement summary as well as identification of UBC climate action targets that will be used to monitor the implementation of UBC’s climate goals.

Partner: UBC Sustainability Initiative
Keywords: leadership & behaviour change, social sustainability

PDF
2014
Grant Diamond

The over-arching goal of this project was to compare single resource versus combined resource Demand Side Management (DSM) Programs, primarily in North America. The research examined the costs and benefits of combined DSM programs, as well as clarifying whether combined DSM programs do indeed provide increased savings for utility providers. Following on from this the hope was to be able to draw on the research findings to inform future DSM program development at BC Hydro.

Partner: BC Hydro
Keywords: sustainable development & green economy, water

PDF
2014
Cluny South

In response to a number of City of Vancouver and Park Board plans, the City’s Sustainability Group and Park Board piloted a local food menu at park and beach concessions. This report aimed to evaluate best practices for local, sustainable, and/or healthy food procurement in other North American municipalities as well as to review current research regarding consumer preference for local or sustainable food. The report also discusses the findings from a survey on the public response to the Park Board concession local food pilot. 

Partner: City of Vancouver
Keywords: local food, food systems, social sustainability

PDF
2013
Naseam Ahmadi

Vancouver has the opportunity to be a leader in local food systems by engaging and supporting the community in its 24 community centres. This report supports the city's prorities around urban food systyems by identifying the best opportunities and barriers to closing the local-food loop in Vancouver’s community centres.

Partner: City of Vancouver
Keywords: local food, zero waste, social sustainability

PDF
2013
Sophia Baker-French

This report aims to address the challenges involved in establishing a Green Enterprise Zone in the False Creek Flats industrial area by outlining a number of tactical, on-the-ground actions that can be taken by the Vancouver Economic Commission (VEC). It demonstrates ways in which the tools employed by the VEC can be leveraged to ground pieces of the greater economic development vision for the False Creek Flats and support local planning initiatives as VEC works towards a complementary Eastern Core Local Area Plan.

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

PDF
2013
Pietra Basilij

The project was informed by Goal 4 of the Greenest City 2020 Action Plan, seeking to make walking, bicycling, and public transit preferred transportation options. Specific to the research performed was the following question: “How does Metro Vancouver’s transit expansion compare with that of other cities around the world?”

Partner: City of Vancouver
Keywords: green transportation, transportation

PDF
2013
Zachary Bennett

Urban wildlife animates our green spaces and birds bring our city to life with their songs and flight, creating excellent opportunities to experience biodiversity in the city. Birds also provide ecosystem services in the form of pest control, pollination and seed-dispersal The “Bird-Friendly Landscape Design Guidelines” will support the development of bird habitat throughout the City of Vancouver. The document is intended for policy makers, developers, planners, landscape architects, operations staff and residential gardeners. When used in conjunction with the “Bird-Friendly Building Guidelines,” urban design throughout our city can become more bird-friendly.

Partner: City of Vancouver
Keywords: access to nature, biodiversity, ecological systems

PDF
2013
Michele Campbell

This report serves as a preparatory study into the scope of the reuse sector and the current perceptions, challenges and prospects of Reuse organisations. It is written as an exploratory study which contributes to the Green Economy (Goal 1), Climate Leadership (Goal 2), Zero Waste (Goal 5), as well as the Lighter Footprint Goals (Goal 7) of the Greenest City 2020 Action Plan. This report serves as a preparatory study into the scope of the reuse sector and the current perceptions, challenges and prospects of Reuse organisations. 

Partner: City of Vancouver
Keywords: lighter footprint, waste management & recycling

PDF
2013
Lorenzo Lane

Pages