UBC Map the System

About the competition

Map the System is a global research-based competition that 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.

Students register to compete at UBC and one team is selected to represent UBC on the global stage. Winners will virtually compete in the Global Final Competition at Oxford University.

Map the System provides an opportunity to gain research experience while looking into a specific issue with the potential of examining the issue from interdisciplinary perspectives

Former UBC Map the System participant

How the competition works

Step 1: Register on our Canvas page and Explore

For information sessions, register for an upcoming Canvas page to access resources, web tutorials, and discussion boards with your fellow researchers.

Enrol now

Step 2: Register online

Register individually or as a team through the online form by February 6, 2023 at 9:00pm (PST).

Once registered, you’ll receive updates about the competition and reminders about upcoming deadlines.

Step 3: Pick your team or participate individually

You can register for the competition as an individual or in a team of 1 to 5 members.

If you form a team, one team member must be a current UBC student or recent alumni of 12 months from the competition registration date. The rest of the team can include anyone who is interested, including community members, faculty, or professionals.

Top tips to find teammates:

  1. Reach out to classmates and friends.
  2. Make a short presentation in class to share your involvement and search for teammates.
  3. Connect with clubs or groups where you are a member or that are relevant to your issue area.
  4. Talk to your professors and teaching assistants. Remember your teammates do not have to be current students.

Step 4: Work on your research submission

You can find support for your visual map, research process and final report through the additional resources on this page, one-on-one advising sessions, or the Canvas page.

Check out the Oxford Evaluation Criteria Scorecards which you will be judged by.

Step 5: Submit final research documents

Your final submissions for the UBC competition are due April 2, 2023. Please submit the final documents through the online form.

All participant submissions will be evaluated, and all teams will present their findings at the UBC Semi-Final competition between April 3 and 6, 2023.

Step 6: The UBC Semi-Final and Final

UBC Semi-Final details

  • The UBC Semi-Final will be hosted between: April 3 and 6, 2023.
  • All student teams will attend the UBC Semi-Final and present their research.
  • Selected top 5 teams will advance to the UBC Final.

UBC Final details

  • The UBC Final will be hosted on:  April 10 or 11, 2023, 5:00 to 7:00 pm (PST).
  • Presentations at the Final Competition will be 8 - 10 minutes long, with an additional Q&A session from the judges.
  • The winning UBC Finalist Team will represent UBC at the Map the System Canadian Final in May 2023.

Application items to submit

All participants must submit the following:

  • 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. 
  • 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. Read previous reports from global finalists.
  • Bibliography
    It is extremely important that you cite the sources that you have learned from. 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 you are comfortable with.

Additional resources

Throughout the competition, the Canvas page will continuously be updated with helpful links and presentations to help you get the most out of the competition. One-on-one support will also be provided to students through advising sessions, and other support as requested.

Resources from Oxford and Map the System Canada

Advising sessions

To schedule an advising session, email community.learning@ubc.ca or make a request through Canvas.

2022 competition winners

1st Place - Pediatric Vaccine Hesitancy in British Columbia

In 2019, the World Health Organization (WHO) listed vaccine hesitancy as one of the top ten threats to global health, and the COVID-19 pandemic has brought the existing issue to a focal point. Yet, in British Columbia, the COVID-19 vaccination rate for children is significantly lower than the rate for the adult population. This team used a systems-thinking approach to examine the symptoms, processes, and roots of pediatric vaccine hesitancy in BC. They conducted primary research through surveys and interviews with community members and researchers, as well as a thorough literature review. As a result, they found that trust is paramount to addressing vaccine hesitancy and that vaccine advocates should reevaluate common assumptions and mental models around trust, the reasons for vaccine hesitancy, and public health communication campaigns, which have exacerbated the issue.

This team represented UBC in the Canadian Map the System Finals and placed in the Top 10 in the Global Map the System Finals at University of Oxford where they received the ‘Highly Commended’ Excellence Award for outstanding research.

2nd Place -  Structural Barriers to Climate Action in HigherEducation: An Institutional Example of UBC

Limiting the devastation of climate change requires actors, such as higher educational institutions, to make active changes to the greenhouse gas emissions. As a case study, this team analyzed UBC's approach to climate actions and the underlying structural barriers it faces in order to rapidly and radically implement change. They conducted their research through an extensive literature review and interviews with students, faculty members, and community members. They identified that the institution's revenue model and structure prevents rapid climate action from being implemented. As a result, a deeper change in approach, including limits on growth, are necessary for creating and disseminating meaningful climate action.

If you have questions