FURCA Sustainability Awards

Your research on environmental and social justice issues could win an award at the Festival of Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities.

FURCA is the University of Alberta's annual, campus-wide celebration of undergraduate research, showcasing the research and creative achievements of undergraduate students across all disciplines. It's a fantastic opportunity to share your work with other students and professors. You can help inspire and encourage other students to research sustainability topics that you care about.

And you could win a cash prize! The Sustainability Council presents the $250 award for Outstanding Sustainability Research to a project demonstrating academic quality, clear communication, and an analysis that integrates the environmental and human dimensions of sustainability.

Who can submit to FURCA?

FURCA welcomes abstract submissions from undergraduate students in any year of study and any discipline. Students may present research completed for academic credit (e.g. capstone, honours, certificate or other research-based course projects), from co-curricular experiences (e.g. summer research, internships, student group activities, etc.), as well as independent or high school research.

Need help preparing an abstract?

Your abstract is more than a summary of your research results, it's your opportunity to make a strong first impression. Learn how to write an abstract that can be used to apply to FURCA or any other conference, journal or funding application.

The Undergraduate Research Initiative regularly presents a free seminar on abstract preparation. You'll learn what information is essential for a strong abstract, how to use your abstract to generate excitement and enthusiasm for your research, and how to address common challenges to writing an effective abstract.

Check the URI Website for upcoming seminars.

Award Winners



2022 | Maïlys Paccoud: How historical tree markings can help Indigenous nations win land rights

This research analyzed using archeological evidence of culturally modified trees (CMT) to establish Aboriginal title. These trees preserve evidence of bark harvesting and can satisfy several of the criteria required for Aboriginal title claims in Canadian courts. Despite the evidence for title presented by CMTs, Maïlys found that pursuing Aboriginal title does not offer the entire solution for Indigenous self-determination. Maïlys’s thorough, organized and impressively-presented research looked at the benefits and challenges of using CMTs as evidence, and incorporated Indigenous scholarship in finding solutions for moving past the Canadian legal system for self-determination.

2022 | Bailey Brockman: Quality healthcare for unhoused Canadians

This research examined the barriers unhoused Canadians face accessing quality healthcare. Bailey proposed a number of measures, such as mobile health care units and permanent housing, that would improve healthcare accessibility and relieve pressure on Canada’s healthcare system. We felt that Bailey’s project addressed the government policies that perpetuate these barriers, and that she made strong connections to the UN Sustainable Development Goals. 


2021 | Kaila Belovich:  The Heart of Borneo

This presentation focuses on the multi-faceted sustainability issues the island of Borneo faces. Burdened by alarming rates of deforestation, how can these issues be addressed to mitigate the effects of climate change on its ecosystems and people?

2021 | Vidhya Krishnan:  Cow Pee Power

Over recent decades, both the occurrence of harmful algal blooms and resulting toxins has markedly increased. This is a pressing issue, especially given the environmental and human health risks of these toxins.


2020 | Freya Hammond-Thrasher:  Indigenous Food Sovereignty in Urban Canada

We were impressed with Freya's commitment to an interdisciplinary approach to address food insecurity in Indigenous communities. Her research also disrupts and questions the conventional understanding of food security and urban food sovereignty, with deeper exploration of divergent perspectives and decolonial approaches. This project has the potential to empower Indigenous communities by focusing on youth re-skilling workshops and supporting Indigenous-led initiatives on food gathering practices.

> Youtube Interview

2020 | Kyle Monda:  Complete Streets Audit

We were impressed with the comprehensive approach Kyle took in this project, addressing how a Complete Street would have a bearing on people, planet and profit. This type of work has the potential to make significant positive changes in the communities studied, leading to residents' comfort and safety on the streets, more money in the pockets of local businesses, and infrastructure that's conducive for active transportation.


2019 | Julie Ostrem:  Valuing Augustana's Urban Forest

The inaugural award was presented to Julie Ostrem for her work updating Augustana Campus’ tree inventory. Julie documented each individual tree, and using the 2008 inventory as a reference point, compared species populations and the overall canopy cover. Using a tool developed by the United States Forest Service, iTree, she also calculated its economic value. Her presentation built on this to show how urban forests can reduce our energy needs, intercept stormwater, provide wildlife habitat, remove air pollution including greenhouse gases, and provide health and well-being benefits.