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 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

This project investigates the organic waste-to-energy solutions for a small municipality on Vancouver Island. It surveys the current technological landscape and the ways in which other local governments in Canada are addressing organic waste management in their communities. Several potential solutions are subjected to a full cost-benefit analysis to assess private and economic returns, and to help inform future decision-making on whether to implement the solutions identified.

Partner: District of Central Saanich
Keywords: food systems, waste management & recycling, waste to energy

2021
Timio Colistro

This project highlights opportunities to embed relevant climate action and energy management curricula into Indigenous post-secondary education and training. This research is intended to provide better support and opportunities to Indigenous people interested in clean energy and climate training, and to highlight existing programs at BC post-secondary and training institutions that can be adapted or enhanced to embed relevant climate action or energy management curriculum and content.

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

2021
Janna Wale

This project aims to lay the foundation for the City of New Westminster to create a climate equity framework to guide its climate action and assess different groups' vulnerability to climate change. The report provides a literature review of other North American approaches to climate equity and recommends climate equity indicators and potential next steps specific to New Westminster.

Partner: City of New Westminster
Keywords: leadership & behaviour change, social sustainability, equity

2021
Lekha Tlhotlhalemaje

This project supports the development of guidelines meant to assist homeowners during energy retrofits on heritage houses. In creating these guidelines, the goal is to inspire homeowners to consider the best retrofit strategy for their house while ensuring that architectural features and materials of heritage value are maintained.

Partner: City of New Westminster
Keywords: green buildings, heritage, energy retrofits

2021
Sophie Belzil

Launched in November 2020, the Renovate Smart Kamloops program (RSK) is one of Canada's newest community energy efficiency programs. The program provides home owner information on energy upgrades and incentives to advance comfort and reduce GHG emissions. This report analyzes data gathered through RSK's participant intake and feedback surveys, provides an overview of four successful energy retrofit programs and provides recommendations for how the RSK program might increase participation.

Partner: City of Kamloops
Keywords: green buildings, leadership & behaviour change

2021
Andrea Barriga Guerra

The purpose of this project is to identify the challenges involved in retrofitting electric vehicle chargers in parking stalls of strata buildings. The project explores technical and legal constraints, and looks at local case studies of success stories. It also includes insights from experts and infographics to help strata councils in the retrofitting process.

Partner: UBC
Keywords: green buildings, transportation

2021
Adriana Valentina Farias

This report offers recommendations in support of an Electric Vehicle (EV) strategy for the City of Prince George. It addresses the unique demographic, climatic, and topographic characteristics of the City and provides suggestions on how to overcome barriers to EV adoption. The report also includes information on how to improve the availability of home, workplace, and public charging and how to generate awareness about EV technology.

Partner: City of Prince George
Keywords: transportation, Electric Vehicles, Northern British Columbia

2021
Pulkit Kathuria

The purpose of this project is to define and map the BC-based low/no carbon clean/green-tech construction ecosystem to inform industry and stakeholders on the current state of BC's cleantech construction sector.

Partner: Scius Advisory Inc.
Keywords: green buildings, supply chain management & green procurement, sustainable development & green economy

2021
Peter Sun

Managed charging and energy storage can offer many benefits and electric vehicles are increasingly seen as viable energy storage assets. Using EV batteries to power homes via the vehicle-to-building model can provide economic benefits for EV owners and help offset the significant capital cost of EVs. The research looks to understand the technical contexts, EV storage capacity, and cost savings for owners based on projections for EV uptake in British Columbia.

Partner: Community Energy Association
Keywords: sustainable development & green economy, transportation

2021
Amaiya Khardenavis

This project compiled datasets from 53 participating projects from a Near-Zero Emissions Buildings program. It aims to study key trends and barriers of high-performance homes focusing on single-family homes and exploring, in partciclar, airtightness and low carbon mechanical systems. The outcomes of this research project will help set the foundation for further analytical work, better data collection practices, and well-informed industry discussions.

Partner: ZEBx
Keywords: green buildings, supply chain management & green procurement, sustainable development & green economy

2021
Hassan Al Bqaei

This project aims to develop articles on advancing deep emissions retrofits by analyzing four retrofit cases (three on Part 9 detached home retrofits, and a limited scope, domestic hot water retrofit of a Part 3 commercial building) all serving as educational material to encourage and supporte industry professionals and homeowners in British Columbia to opt for high performing equipment and design strategies to successfully meet the climate targets.

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

2021
Mridul Pareek

This project aims to design and develop a prototype tool to enable automatic extraction and assimilation of valuable details about the design, energy performance and operational emissions of newly constructed single detached houses using building energy reports. The report includes a demonstration of the prototype, its performance, and a brief discussion on the structure of the database followed by shortcomings of the prototype and possible avenues for further development.

Partner: City of Richmond
Keywords: green buildings

2021
Ayush Suhane

This project aims to identify and explore how other Indigenous Peer Network models engaged in capacity building work with Indigenous communities. This work is intended to support the Great Bear Initiative's Climate Action Network (CAN) to improve their network's functioning and provide lessons learned from other Indigenous Peer Networks to build off the current model of CAN. Includes suggestions for best practices based on interviews and an environmental scan.

Partner: Great Bear Initiative Society/Coastal First Nations
Keywords: Indigenous sovereignty, energy sovereignty, climate mitigation, climate adaptation, Indigenous Ways of Knowing

2021
Joanne Nelson

This project aims to improve electric vehicle (EV) charging access for residents with barriers to at-home charging in the City of North Vancouver. Includes an assessment of current residential and public charging opportunities, recommended locations and models for providing new public EV charging stations, and best practices for improving access to EV charging for residents living in multi-unit residential buildings (MURBs).

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

2021
Amanda Masse

This project aims to address inequities in accessing resources, opportunities, benefits, and costs/burdens of climate action initiatives among social groups. To achieve this, local governments must prioritize frontline, marginalized and vulnerable communities in the "Big Moves" while driving down GHG emissions. Includes a climate equity framework explicit on social equity goals and objectives for local governments to adopt and integrate into ongoing climate action initiatives.

Partner: Community Energy Association
Keywords: social sustainability, sustainable development & green economy, transportation

2021
Vincent Chireh

There is a clear relationship between anthropogenic CO2 emissions and global temperature rise. The goal of this project with Metro Vancouver is to develop a regional carbon budget for Metro Vancouver. A carbon budget is the maximum amount of greenhouse gases that can be emitted around the world without increasing the global average temperature by more than 1.5 degrees. The carbon budget for Metro Vancouver was calculated using the C40 Cities Convergence and Contraction methodology.

Partner: Metro Vancouver
Keywords: sustainable development & green economy, carbon footprint

2021
Rudri Bhatt

This project considers the concentrations and distributions of nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions from gas boilers, heaters, and generators of buildings in Metro Vancouver - particularly the potential impact of emissions on neighbouring buildings - and focuses on how other jurisdictions address similar issues. Recommendations include reducing NOx emission limits for such technologies; implementing stack design policies; increasing data collection, modeling, and leveraging a city-planning approach to emissions; and electrifying heating appliances and buildings.

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

2021
Claire Ewing

Healthcare facilities are large consumers of water and have a leading role in water conservation. This project aims to explore innovative water-saving opportunities applicable to healthcare settings and assess their feasibility for implementation at the Lower Mainland health organizations by identifying key challenges and opportunities.

Partner: Vancouver Coastal Health
Keywords: Water

2021
Monika Korczewski

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