Map the System

UBC Map the System

Identify opportunities to affect positive change


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 complete at UBC and one team is selected to represent UBC on the global stage. Winners will receive cash prizes, and a trip to Oxford University for the Global Final. Registration details will be announced September 2019.


  • Teams of 1- 5 members
  • One member must be a current UBC student or a recent alumni of 12 months from the date of registration for the competition
  • Students can be from any degree level and faculty
  • The rest of the team can include anyone who is interested: e.g. community members, faculty, professionals

How does this work?

Step 1: Register for an information session 

Information Sessions:

Register for an upcoming info session to learn more about Map the System, get your questions answered, and hear about a past participant's experience! 

  • Dates TBA in September 2019

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.

See Eligibility above for details of who can be on your team.

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 TA’s. Remember your teammates do not 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 should be available to contribute time throughout the research, problem mapping and visual mapping stages. All members need to be present for the Canadian and Global competition, but not for the UBC competition.
  • Growth—Are there learning opportunities for each member?

Step 3: Register online

Registration links and dates will be live in October 2019.

Step 4: Work on your research submission

Important Info for Participants  

Step 5: Submit final research documents

Submission links and deadlines will be live in October 2019.

    What do I submit?

    Participants submit 3 things:

    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.

    Resources from Oxford

    Resources from UBC


    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 won a $500 prize and represented UBC at the Canadian Final competition at SFU in May!

    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!