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.

Fraser Estuary Research Collaborative (FERC)

A new stream in the Sustainability Scholars Program focusing on applied research with the goal of restoring and protecting the endangered Fraser Estuary.

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.

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.

Program History

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 report is to provide recommendations on how the City of Vancouver can collaborate and work alongside Indigenous communities, on whose unceded land it is located, to address and support social and environmental resilience. Can the City collaborate and foster relationships that uplift the Indigenous voice and protect sacred knowledge, for the combined goal of environmental and social resilience for futures to come?

Partner: City of Vancouver
Keywords: climate mitigation, equity, diversity, inclusion, healthy city, leadership & behaviour change, sustainability in education, sustainable development & green economy

2021
Atlanta Grant

This project aims to assess the potential to reduce the embodied carbon emissions of low-rise residential construction using materials and products available to the Vancouver market. It provides a building supply inventory and information about local suppliers that can be used by local builders, developers, and designers to specify low carbon products. The results include recommendations for improving the embodied carbon footprint of low-rise residential buildings.

Partner: City of Vancouver
Keywords: climate mitigation, green infrastructure, low carbon buildings, green buildings, supply chain management & green procurement

2021
Shiva Zargar Ershadi

This project aims to review the existing literature on cycling data collection, examine Vancouver's existing practices and goals, and provide recommendations on improving cycling data collection practices within the City. It is important to ensure that collected cycling data is representative of the City's diversity. The report summarizes the context and provides recommendations on areas of improvement related to count data type, count location, frequency, context, and means of analysis.

Partner: City of Vancouver
Keywords: active transportation, climate action, equity, diversity, inclusion, transportation, data collection, cycling

2021
Amir Hassanpour

This project identifies opportunities for aligning Vancouver Park Board work with the Burrard Inlet Action Plan, a strategic marine environmental plan from Tsleil-Waututh Nation that expresses their vision for a healthy Burrard Inlet. The opportunities focus on marine habitat restoration and protection actions in Stanley Park, CRAB Park, and New Brighton Park, and also include general opportunities for broader Park Board work. This is a public summary of the project process and outcomes.

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

2021
Tecla Van Bussel

This report lays the foundation for an integrated and connected park network. By understanding park mobility infrastructure and existing greenway interactions the Park Board can determine safe, efficient, environmentally sound and community-directed mobility near, to, and through parks. Specifically, this report identifies key planning observations and considerations as well as a mobility classification system to align future park development with the goal of an integrated park system.

Partner: City of Vancouver
Keywords: access to nature, active transportation, green infrastructure, transportation

2021
Kevin Parsons

This project provides a review of ideas and examples for tenant governance initiatives to act as a guiding resource for tenants, advocates, housing providers, and governments working to increase tenant governance in low-income housing. Includes key findings and recommendations for supporting future tenant governance projects based on information from relevant literature, case studies, and community stakeholder interviews.

Partner: City of Vancouver
Keywords: equity, diversity, inclusion, healthy city, leadership & behaviour change, social sustainability

2021
Jamin Short

This report includes an overview and analysis of a GIS mapping overlay for green rainwater infrastructure (GRI) assets at twenty-two applications proposed for site developments at the building permit review stage on private sites as of May 3, 2021. As the project is in support of the Rain City Strategy and Rainwater Management Bulletin, the analysis focuses on how GRI could impact the volume of rainwater capture, the total area of green space, and peak flow rate.

Partner: City of Vancouver
Keywords: clean water green infrastructure, healthy city, green buildings, sustainable development & green economy, waste management & recycling

2021
Zurui Gao

This report informs how the City of Vancouver could proceed to measure progress towards Zero Waste 2040, advance the need for operational change within businesses, and inform adjustments in zero waste initiatives by researching government policies and incentives that encourage food waste measurement in businesses. The food business sector operating in the City will stand to benefit from engaging in designing the path towards zero waste and improve their triple bottom line.

Partner: City of Vancouver
Keywords: green economy zero waste, food systems, waste management & recycling, circular economy

2021
Juan Martinez

This guide provides an overview of compatibility issues associated with industrial land uses, examples of mixed-use industrial developments, and mitigation measures through building and site design. The intent is to encourage industrial intensification in acknowledgement of the decreasing supply and increasing demand of industrial land in Metro Vancouver. Past strategies, current scenarios, and potential opportunities for the mixing of industrial and non-industrial lands are explored.

Partner: City of Vancouver
Keywords: climate mitigation, healthy city, land use planning, sustainable development & green economy, industrial land, intensification

2021
Victoria Ng

This project aims to research lighting and intersectionality on Vancouver's cycle routes to increase perceptions of comfort and safety beyond motor vehicle proximity to think about the qualitative components of safety and comfort. Includes recommendations for revising the definition of lighting in Vancouver's AAA design guidelines, a qualitative methodology for evaluating safety and comfort, lighting design, inclusive cycling, and improvements in data collection.

Partner: City of Vancouver
Keywords: active transportation, climate action, equity, diversity, inclusion, leadership & behaviour change, transportation, comfort and safety

2021
Jasmin Senghera

Fuel economy is an important metric in understanding fleet vehicle performance, fuel cost, and emissions. This project report documents the building of a fuel economy calculation tool in Microsoft Excel, designed to work seamlessly with the City of Vancouver's data systems for all fleet vehicles. A subset of heavy and medium duty vehicles was analyzed using the tool to help support the business case to transition to low-carbon options.

Partner: City of Vancouver
Keywords: climate action, zero emission vehicles, transportation, green operations

2021
Graham MacGillivray

This report explores effective parking management practices to support Vancouver's Climate Emergency Action Plan (CEAP) 2020-2025. Examines best practices and provides recommendations for both on-street and off-street parking policies, taking into consideration their effectiveness, equity issues, and potential implementation challenges in the context of the City of Vancouver.

Partner: City of Vancouver
Keywords: active transportation, climate action, land use planning, transportation

2021
Anh Le

The purpose of this project is to determine how the built environment of rapid transit stations can impact gender inclusion. The project examines gender and transit through an intersectional lens, identifying barriers to access and biases in the built environment. Recommendations for specific built environment features are identified based on a literature review, a survey conducted in Vancouver, and policies from five cities that lead the way in gender inclusion and transit.

Partner: City of Vancouver
Keywords: social sustainability, transportation

2021
Emily Baird

This project pilots holistic neighbourhood-scale evaluation methods adapted from the City's Resilient Neighbourhood Design Tool (RNDT). A selection of resilience and sustainability indicators is used to assess the performance of a typological model corresponding to an existing low-density Vancouver neighbourhood for three projective growth scenarios (e.g., limited, moderate, and intense densification).

Partner: City of Vancouver
Keywords: active transportation, climate action, land use planning, transportation, neighbourhood resilience

2021
Noora Hijra

This project aims to benchmark the monthly non-exhaust emissions from tire wear and brake wear of the City of Vancouver's light-duty fleet. It describes several technological and non-technological strategies to reduce the fleet's non-exhaust emissions, improve urban air quality, and mitigate environmental issues. Implementing a fleet emission reduction strategy for both combustion sources and non-combustion sources is vital in response to the climate emergency.

Partner: City of Vancouver
Keywords: climate action, zero emission vehicles, transportation

2021
Mehmud Iqbal

This project aims to understand and define best practices for a just transition in Vancouver. The executive summary highlights findings from a preliminary labour market analysis of Vancouver and a jurisdictional scan of just transition practices happening globally at a local and regional level. The findings and recommendations will advise the just transition section of the Vancouver Economic Commission's development of the Zero Emissions Economic Transition Action Plan (ZEETAP).

Partner: City of Vancouver
Keywords: climate action, equity, diversity, inclusion, green economy, leadership & behaviour change, social sustainability, sustainable development & green economy

2021
Vanessa Sun

This aim of this project is to review plans, policies, and strategies prepared in other jurisdictions related to understanding, managing, and protecting groundwater. Recommendations for leading practices and actions currently being executed in other jurisdictions that may be suitable for the City of Vancouver's groundwater management strategy are provided. The recommendations cover issues such as climate change, groundwater contamination, and groundwater conservation.

Partner: City of Vancouver
Keywords: clean water water, groundwater

2021
Michaela Dyck

This project aims to support the development of the recently implemented Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) at the City of Vancouver. It highlights the benefits of ERGs for marginalized identities, the organizational advantages, and anticipates possible challenges to address in order to ensure their long term success. Includes a summary of current ERG concerns and needs, interviews with experienced municipalities, a list of best practices, and a set of appendices that act as a toolkit.

Partner: City of Vancouver
Keywords: equity diversity, inclusion, healthy city, leadership & behaviour change, social sustainability

2021
Valeria Alcaraz

The purpose of this project is to investigate culturally safe ways to conduct Indigenous research, with a focus on gender-based violence research. This work is needed to ensure that investigative strategies essential for policy and program planning do not further perpetuate violence. Recommendations are made to align practices with critical mandates from the TRC, the National Inquiry, RWR and UNDRIP, as well as best practices in culturally safe research.

Partner: City of Vancouver
Keywords: equity diversity, inclusion, healthy city, leadership & behaviour change, social sustainability, cultural safety, reconciliation, self-determination, data sovereignty, reconciliation, ethics, research, MMIWG, gender-based violence, Indigenous

2021
Eryn Braley

This project aims to inform how the City of Vancouver's Social Policy & Projects Division can further support community-based non-profits as they work towards greater equity and inclusion. The report reveals aspects of organizational equity policy and areas of action common in non-profits. Recommendations for Social Policy include embedding an equity lens into its granting programs, convening a non-profit community of practice, and streamlining granting/capacity-building efforts within the City.

Partner: City of Vancouver
Keywords: equity, diversity, inclusion, healthy city, leadership & behaviour change, social sustainability

2021
Emily Van Halem

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