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 was commissioned to determine the successes and challenges of partner engagement in UBC Thrive. As an annual health promotion initiative, Thrive is aimed at promoting strategies for improving the mental health of students, staff, and faculty. Thrive partners include individuals from various student, staff, and faculty groups and departments.

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

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2018
Nandini Maharaj

Using insights from behavioural and social science research, and best practices in existing programs, this analysis examines different pathways to energy efficiency in the District of West Vancouver. Current trends suggest that energy efficiency programs have been shifting towards the integration of behavioural-based approaches to achieve more significant impact. The recommended behavioural program for the District combines three key dimensions—community-based, outreach and competitions.

Partner: District of West Vancouver
Keywords: green buildings, leadership & behaviour change

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2018
Reagan Rockzsdfforde

On-demand mobility services have been seen as a way to reduce the cost of transit while improving the customer experience by using technology to request a ride. In 2018, TransLink launched the Bowen Island Pilot Project to test on-demand services. This report serves as a best practice review of on-demand mobility services to assist with future implementation of on-demand service in the Metro Vancouver region. The recommendations in this report are directed towards Bowen Island, BC, but are applicable to other areas with similar characteristics.

Partner: TransLink
Keywords: transportation

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2018
Zak Zenasni

A growing number of trips in Metro Vancouver are being taken through shared mobility providers such as bikesharing and carsharing. As these services become ever more present in our cities, and accessed by customers with mobile phones, the travel data generated has been flagged by regulators and transportation authorities as potentially valuable. To date, the data generated from these services has been sporadic and inconsistent. This report summarizes challenges with sharing data and examines several emerging technologies that could be part of a standardized sharing solution.

Partner: TransLink
Keywords: transportation

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2018
Rainer Lempert

This project explores the concept of mobility hubs in an effort to implement strategies and initiatives that prioritize low emission transportation modes in the long term. In existing research, mobility hubs are often defined as areas where a variety of sustainable transportation modes connect seamlessly. As such, hubs present an opportunity to integrate mobility options that utilize new transportation technology to help enhance user experience and travel resiliency to help cover first and last mile travel.

Partner: TransLink
Keywords: transportation

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2018
Saki Aono

The UBC Food and Nutrition Committee is a diverse group of faculty, staff and students with interest and expertise in food systems and food security. The committee developed an Action Framework for a Nutritionally Sound Campus. To achieve this goal, a literature and best practices review was conducted to inform recommendations for measuring food insecurity prevalence within the UBC community.

Partner: UBC Wellbeing
Keywords: food systems, social sustainability

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2018
Sara Kozicky

This project aims to support the Greenest City Action Plan 2020 goals of increasing access to nature and green transportation by enhancing the resiliency of street planting in the face of climate change over the next thirty years. Climate changes in Vancouver will put further stresses on street horticulture assets, in addition to the existing harsh street conditions that these plants are subject to such as air pollution, road salt and low soil volumes. 

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

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2018
Divine Ndemeye

This project helps the Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation to optimize treatment of young ornamental trees planted along streets and parks. Specifically, the recommendations of this report are intended to help decrease transplanting stress and enhance tree health and longevity. 

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

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2018
Xueyao (Iris) Jiang

This project investigates how K–12 educators within the Vancouver School Board use the City’s parks and what actions the Park Board and its community partners could take to support their efforts. The study examined which schools and grade levels use the parks, which parks are used most often, which subjects are taught in parks and what kinds of activities occur.

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

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2018
Naomi Reichstein

The purpose of this project was to construct an inventory of tailpipe emissions (sepcifically, carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxides) from the City of Vancouver’s fleet based on applicable emission standards from the United States Environmental Protection Agency and COV fleet fuel usage data from 2015 to 2017. 

Partner: City of Vancouver
Keywords: lighter footprint, transportation

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2018
Stephen (Wenhao) Chen

This project assembled a toolkit for industrial and commercial on-site use of alternative water sources (rainwater, stormwater, greywater, foundational water, or steam condensate). The toolkit includes current regulations, commercially available systems, steps for system setup, and local case studies. The resources included are based on interviews with local subject experts and businesses, to assess the common water sources, potential water uses, and benefits and obstacles to using nonpotable water for industrial applications.

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

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2018
Emily Mistick

This project is a collaboration between the Engineering Department and Real Estate Department at the City of Vancouver to gain a better understanding of the typical water use of restaurants and microbreweries. This project aims to support the Greenest City Action Plan’s goal in reducing water consumption by 2020. This report will also be used by the Real Estate Department in determining water operating costs in their tenant lease agreements. This project report summarizes the methodologies used and findings of the water benchmarking study.

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

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2018
Kamonchanok Sirikan

An emerging priority has been to review water use by irrigation in Vancouver. This project follows suit by analyzing water use through irrigation on sports fields and in gardens. Throughout the project, we analyzed water use to identify key drivers of water use, compare methods of watering and find areas of improvement. We also developed a benchmark for sports fields to identify high water users and provide information to better assess the total water usage by Vancouver Parks. 

Partner: City of Vancouver
Keywords: water, clean water

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2018
Gillian Fuss

The objective of this project was to investigate the local supply market of three key components in buildings, namely windows, Heat Recovery Ventilators (HRV’s), and Heat Pump (HP) systems in terms of capacity and gaps of higher efficiency models. The output of this work will assist the City of Vancouver in implementing an effective update to the City of Vancouver Building Bylaw (VBBL) to lower greenhouse gases.

Partner: City of Vancouver
Keywords: lighter footprint, green buildings

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2018
Arash Shadkam

This report builds upon the existing research and engagement work in the False Creek Flats and identifies strategies and opportunities for private sector investment in green infrastructure and green technologies along the Walk-the-Line corridor. This report seeks to understand how green infrastructure is perceived by the business community in the False Creek Flats, including the barriers to green investments and  the drivers for current or planned green initiatives and projects. 

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

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2018
Alicia Kingdon

Stormwater Tree Trenches (STT) are a versatile green infrastructure (GI) technology that shows promising application in Vancouver’s highly dense urban environment. This project explores how STT align with the targets set by the Citywide Integrated Rainwater Management Plan (IRMP) and examines the life cycle cost of a boulevard reconstruction project.

Partner: City of Vancouver
Keywords: clean water, green buildings, water

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2018
Osvaldo Vega

The Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation (Park Board) is aiming to reduce carbon dependency by exploring the feasibility of switching from gas-powered to electric equipment. This project intends to evaluate the technical and economic benefits of adopting small electric equipment for the Park Board and the community. Other benefits include reducing the harmful health impacts caused by equipment noise, exhaust and hand arm vibration.

Partner: City of Vancouver
Keywords: lighter footprint, transportation

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2018
Gerardo Marquez

This report recommends actions that can be taken to improve the environmental sustainability of the Vancouver Police Department (VPD). A broad scan of the literature was conducted to identify best practices and assist in the development of a long-term environmental sustainability plan for the VPD that aligns with the corporate sustainability goals of the City of Vancouver. 

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

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2018
Jordan Konyk

In anticipation of the Millennium Line Broadway Extension and a new Broadway land use plan, this report explores case studies on the effects of transit investment on land values and the ways in which local governments around the world capture uplift as a result of transit investment. 

Partner: City of Vancouver
Keywords: green transportation

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2018
Devon Harlos

The objectives of this project are to analyze and interpret the financial, environmental, and community-wide implications of Corporate Carsharing. A previous report suggested that Corporate Carsharing would be approximately as financially viable as allowing employees to travel in departmentally assigned vehicles on a department-to-department basis, the old status quo. The Report also suggested there would be strong environmental, social, and community benefits of the Corporate Carsharing program. This project aims to discern whether these benefits have been realized.

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

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2018
Rainer Lempert

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