SBSP Trainee Guidelines

Updated August 3rd, 2015

These guidelines outline the privileges, duties and obligations, and other information to help SBSP trainees make the most of their SBSP involvement and help make the SBSP a success for all.

Who is an SBSP Trainee? / Categories of Trainees

SBSP trainees are graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and occasionally undergraduate students—trainees are first admitted into home-department programs, and they then become SBSP Trainees through the research work they are doing with SBSP Faculty members.

  • Full SBSP Trainees: Full SBSP trainees are normally any student who receives a monetary stipend (such as a GRA appointment) from the SBSP through their SBSP faculty supervisors. Full SBSP Trainees are expected to meet all of the SBSP obligations.
  • Associate SBSP Trainees: They are students who wish to be associated with the SBSP community, or who benefit in some way from the SBSP (such as enrolling in an SBSP course), but who do not receive an SBSP stipend. Associate SBSP Trainees are encouraged to meet the required elements of the program, but it is not mandatory. The SBSP benefits from Associate SBSP trainees because it allows us to identify and report to NSERC the ways in which SBSP is impacting the broader community.
  • SBSP Post-Doctoral Fellows (PDFs): PDFs funded through SBSP are expected to contribute to the program in substantive ways, which are determined on a case-by-case basis.

Trainees may receive funding and a certificate from SBSP, but will graduate with a degree from their home units.

SBSP has faculty and their associated trainees in many disciplines such as science, engineering, architecture, forestry, psychology, and public health.

Benefits of SBSP Trainees

As an SBSP trainee, you have full access to the resources and benefits of the Program.  These include the following:

  • The expertise and academic activities of the Program researchers and collaborators,
  • Stipend funding (through your supervisor),
  • A workspace in the CIRS building (if required and available),
  • Access to funding to attend conferences and to undertake an internship during your studies and,
  • Most importantly, access to the sustainable-building-science community that is evolving at UBC and in the surrounding professional community.

Responsibilities of SBSP Trainees

The obligations of Full SBSP trainees include the following:

  • Satisfy all graduation requirements of your home department.
  • Complete a trainee plan as part of your application to become an SBSP trainee, and then fully complete the activities that you identified in the plan.
  • Take the SBSP Topics and Project courses.
  • Attend the SBSP Seminar series and other SBSP events.
  • Complete at least 60 hours of Professional Development activities in 2 years
  • Complete an internship, or participate in a student exchange activity.
  • When asked, present a seminar on your research.
  • Submit an annual progress report, informing us about progress in achieving your plan, funding you have received, internship/exchange progress, publications, and your expected date of graduation, etc.
  • Most importantly, contribute to the sustainable building-science community and to help the SBSP to evolve.

All full SBSP trainees must meet ALL of these requirements, unless you explicitly request and are granted an exception by the SBSP program.  Please coordinate with your supervisor on your plan to meet these requirements (although approval of your supervisor alone is not sufficient, your plan must be approved by the SBSP trainee committee).

These responsibilities are not intended to be onerous, but to ensure that the SBSP provides a unique, meaningful, and substantive learning experience for trainees.  The SBSP is under obligation to its funding body, NSERC, to ensure that its trainees meet these requirements and, therefore, failure to satisfy these requirements by trainees may affect your SBSP funding.

Benefits and Responsibilities of Associate Trainees

Associate SBSP Trainees are welcome to participate in SBSP activities, such as enrolling in SBSP courses, attending SBSP seminars, participating in professional development activities, and interacting with program researchers and collaborators, but they are not eligible for SBSP funding without becoming full SBSP trainees.  SBSP Associate Trainees must register to identify themselves through the SBSP program office or web site: there are no other formal requirements of SBSP associate trainees, but they are encouraged to complete an annual report.  This allows the SBSP to identify and report to NSERC the ways in which SBSP is impacting the broader community.

Benefits and Responsibilities of PDFs

SBSP Post-doctoral fellows are eligible for the same benefits as SBSP trainees.  The obligations of PDFs include the following:

  • Satisfy your home department’s requirements for PDF’s.
  • Make a significant contribution to Program operation.
  • You may take the SBSP Topics and Project courses.
  • Attend the SBSP Seminar series and other SBSP events.
  • When asked, present a seminar on your research.
  • Submit an annual progress report, informing us of funding you have received, progress, publications, etc.
  • Submit a final report of your time as a PDF.
  • Most importantly, contribute to the sustainable building-science community and help the SBSP to evolve.

Reporting and Governing Documents for SBSP Trainees

All SBSP Trainees are required to complete the following:

  • The SBSP Letter of Confirmation for Trainees: this letter spells out the trainee’s responsibilities and obligations.
  • Each trainee is required to submit an SBSP Plan outlining in advance how they will fulfil the mandatory portions of being in the program.
  • The SBSP Annual Report Document: this document is several pages and we ask that trainees acknowledge their agreement to complete it in the letter mentioned above.

SBSP Courses

The SBSP offers two unique courses that are mandatory for full SBSP trainees and are available to all interested graduate students (and, with special permission, undergraduate students).

  • Topics in Sustainable Building Science (3 credits): This course provides a broad overview of the field of sustainable building science primarily through lectures from SBSP faculty members and other experts. This course is offered every September.  It is currently offered under 3 course codes CVL 598C -001, FRST 576-101, MECH 550B-101
  • Projects in Sustainable Building Science (3 credits): In this course, students explore specific topics in sustainable building science in much greater depth through team-based projects.  This course is offered every January, usually under course code APSC 598G

SBSP Seminars and Events

The SBSP holds monthly seminars, an Annual SBSP Orientation Event, an Annual SBSP Industry Event, and more throughout the year: these events are mandatory for SBSP trainees. They are announced through email lists and on the SBSP website and Facebook page.

Professional Development

SBSP trainees are required to participate in professional development (PD) activities in addition to their normal academic coursework.

Trainees are required to attend a minimum of 7.5 days (60 hours) of PD workshops in their first two years (including a minimum of 4 hours in each year that they remain an SBSP trainee).

The three day Instructional Skills Workshop (ISW) is mandatory for all PhD student trainees (the ISW is NOT recommended for masters level students).

Trainees are free to choose the PD activities, either on or off of UBC campus, that they believe will be most beneficial to their careers and they are encouraged to seek out interesting PD opportunities. Current PD offerings can be found on the SBSP website under the ‘Resources’ tab. Some relevant PD workshops that are available at UBC and delivered through Graduate Pathways to Success, UBC Career Services, and Mitacs are:

  • Practice your Presentation Skills I and II, offered by Mitacs Step
  • Communication your research, offered by Mitacs Step
  • Building Effective Supervisory Relationships, offered by Graduate Pathways to Success
  • Essentials of Productive Teams, offered by Mitacs Step
  • Discovering the Entrepreneur Within, offered by GPS and Mitacs Step
  • Foundations of Project Management, offered by Mitacs Step
  • Getting on Track with your Thesis, offered by Graduate Pathways to Success

For more PD events and workshops, visit the Graduate Student Community, UBC Career ServicesMitacs Step, or CTLT websites.

Internships and Exchanges

All full SBSP trainees are required to complete an Internship OR an Exchange with another institution: both are encouraged.  Internship or exchange hosts may offer full or partial funding: SBSP funding to trainees during these periods may be available, please contact Margaret Gardiner or Dr. Murray Hodgson for more details.  Trainees are encouraged to work with their supervisors to identify and secure internship and exchange opportunities.  The MITACS program can assist with internship options.  SBSP sends out Internship notices as they become available.

Travel and Conferences

Funding for travel to conferences to present research findings is subject to availability and handled on a case by case basis. A one page application form will be available soon.

SBSP Community Involvement

‘Ask not what the SBSP can do for you — ask what you can do for the SBSP…’

SBSP is only as strong as its members are willing to make it.  We need your community involvement! Tuum Est.

Contracts and Getting Assistance

Information about the SBSP is available on the program web site at

The SBSP Program Assistant, Margaret Gardiner: ( CIRS Room 2160, phone (604) 822-3073. Usual office hours are Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday 11 am to 4:30 pm.