Map the System

UBC Map the System 2019

Identify opportunities to effect positive change


Map the System is a great opportunity for those interested in a social or environmental issues, and want to identify opportunities to effect positive change.

A global research-based competition, Map the System asks you to think differently about social change. Participants select a social or environmental issue, conduct research, and present the issue in a way that people can share and learn from.

Confirming your participation in Map the System will sign you up for a series of workshops where UBC will help you to establish, develop, and research your idea; you will be supported every step of the way.

Register now for a chance to represent UBC at the global stage, win cash prizes, and a trip to Oxford University for the Global Final.

Am I eligible?

Map the System is open to individuals or teams of up to 5 people. At least one member of the team must be a current student at UBC, or alumni of 12 months from the date you register for the competition.

Map the System accepts students of all degrees, levels, and faculties! The rest of the team can include anyone who is interested in taking part including community members interested in learning about an issue. Contact us if you have questions about eligibility!

How does this work?

Step 1: Register for an information session 

Information Sessions:

Register here for a upcoming info session to learn more about Map the System, get your questions answered, and hear about a past participant's experience! 
1)  - Date: Thursday, November 15; 5:00-6:00pm 

     - Location: CIRS, Policy Lab 

2) - Date: Wednesday, November 21; 12:00-1:00pm

     - Location: CIRS, Policy Lab 

Step 2: Pick your team or participate individually

You can apply for Map the System as an individual or in a team of up to five people.

 At least one member of the team must be a current student at a partner institution (enrolled in a course of 6 months or longer), OR a recent graduate of a partner institution (having completed studies within 12 months of the date you register for the competition).

Students may be at undergraduate, diploma, postgraduate or doctoral level.

Top Tips to Find Teammates:

  1. Join the UBC Map the System Facebook group for students interested in forming or joining groups linked here or search “UBC Map the System 2019” on Facebook.
  2. Reach out to classmates and friends.
  3. Make a short presentation in class to share your involvement and search for teammates.
  4. Connecting with clubs or groups where you are a member or that are relevant to your issue area.
  5. Talk to your professors and TA’s. Remember your teammates don’t have to be current students.

Considerations in Building a Team

  • Topic of interest—Is there a topic that links you to others or one you can rally others around?
  • Balance—Varied skills sets, passions and perspectives
  • Time commitment—Is each member willing and able to contribute to the end of the competition? Note: all members need to be present for the Canadian and Global competition, but not the UBC competition and should be available to contribute time throughout the research, problem mapping and visual mapping stages.
  • Growth—Are there learning opportunities for each member?

Step 3: Register online by January 27

Register for the Map the System 2019 competition online here before 11:59pm on January 27 2019. You MUST be registered online by this date to participate. 

*Note: registering online does not mean that you must complete the competion, rather it is just a way to stay on the mailing list and receive further support. We highly encourage all interested students to register online before the deadline.*

Step 4: Work on your research submission

Important Info for Participants  

  • The deadline to submit your Map the System submissions is 11:59pm on March 17, 2019.  
  • All participants have the opportunity to prepare an optional 2-3 minute video presentation of their project which can be submitted in addition to the visual map, research/analysis, and bibliography.
  • This video presentation is due by 11:59pm on March 17, 2019 on this webpage. This is a valuable opportunity receive feedback and develop your presentation skills.
  • All participant submissions will be evaluated after March 17, and up to ten finalist teams will be selected and notified soon afterwards. These finalist teams will be asked to present their findings at the UBC Final competition on March 26th, 2019.
  • Presentations at the Final Competition will be 6 – 8 minutes long, with an additional 2 – 3 minutes Q & A from the judges. The winning UBC Finalist Team will represent UBC at the Map the System Canadian Final in May. The finalist team and two runners-up will receive prizes.
  • Linked here and here are the Oxford Evaluation Criteria Scorecards which you will be judged by. 

Step 5: Submit final research documents by March 17

The submission deadline has now passed.

    What do I submit?

    Participants submit 3 things by March 17, 2019:

    1. A visual map – The visual map represents your research in an accessible, and succinct manner. This map can take different formats including prezis, infographics, and PowerPoint presentations. 
    2. An analysis of your research – This is an opportunity for you to present an analysis of your findings in up to 3,000 words (excluding footnotes). This can be a written report or a presentation. See previous reports from global finalists here!
    3. Bibliography – It is extremely important that you cite the sources that you have learned from, and we encourage you to engage with a diverse range of sources including community-based knowledge through interviews. Please use Harvard, MLA, or other accepted citation formats that you are comfortable with!


    Throughout the competition we will host a series of workshops to help prepare your submissions and get the most out of this competition. We will also provide one-on-one support to students on a rolling basis, and other support as requested. See additional resources below.


    Click here for a list of comprehensive FAQs provided by Oxford.

    Past Projects

    Take a look at previous finalists and their projects here.

    Struggling to come up with a topic?

    Click here for a some resources available to help you come up with a topic.


    Have any other questions? Contact us via email at or come speak with us in person at the Centre for Community Engaged Learning.

    Please email to schedule an advising session.

    Terms and Conditions 


    Map the System 2018 Winners

    1st Place - Inclusive Education for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder in British Columbia

    Did you know that there has been a 555% increase in students with Autism Spectrum Disorder from 2001 – 2016? And yet, there has been a 24% decrease in Special Education Assistants in BC.

    Tackling the challenge of Inclusive Education for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder in British Columbia, Gurkamel Gill, Alexandra Lemon, Samantha Wong, and Joanna Xia, 4 students in the Faculty of Science, presented a strong understanding of this issue, identified gaps that exist in meeting the needs of students with ASD, and opportunities through which positive change can be made.

    This team will represent UBC at the Canadian Final competition at SFU in May, and won a $500 prize!

    2nd Place - Post-Consumer Textile Waste Management in Metro Vancouver

    In spite of being recognized as one of the greenest cities in the world, the Metro Vancouver region contributes over 20,000 tons to the 9.5 million tons of clothing waste dumped in landfills in North America every year.

    Tackling the challenge of “Post-Consumer Textile Waste Management in Metro Vancouver”, Morsal Niyaz and Mychelle Wong, 2 students in the Faculty of Science, explored the lack of centralized textile waste recycling opportunities in this region, and identified opportunities for change with a variety of stakeholders including waste management companies, clothing donation bins, and thrift stores.

    This team placed second and won a $250 prize!

    3rd Place - Impacts of Climate Change on Smallholder Rice Production in Southeast Asia

    Did you know that global rice yields are expected to decrease by 50% by 2100 due to climate change?

    Francis Durnin-Vermette, Skylar Kylstra, and Emily Peer-Groves, a team of 3 students in the Faculty of Land and Food Systems examined the effects of climate change on rice production, focusing on smallholder rice farmers in Southeast Asia. These students identified the various socio-economic and environmental impacts due to this decrease, identified opportunities to make positive change, and explored ways to mitigate the various negative impacts of this issue.

    This team placed third and won a $250 prize!

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