UVM Creates Institute For Interdisciplinary Research On Environmental Challenges

Apr 11, 2017

The University of Vermont announced Tuesday the creation of a university-wide environmental institute.

One purpose of the new Gund Institute for Environment is to encourage interdisciplinary research on environmental challenges.

Taylor Ricketts, the director of the institute, said environmental problems cut across academic disciplines — so the work of the institute should too.

“Environmental issues are going to define this century — things like sustainable food systems and water security and bio-diversity and climate change,” Ricketts said. “None of them are just a biology problem. None of them are just an economics problem. All of them are both those things plus other things … These problems are really crosscutting and any effective solutions for them are going to have to be equally crosscutting.”

The Gund Institute for the Environment is also designed to bridge the gap between research and application, according to Ricketts.

“We're going to focus much more externally on connecting with leaders in business and government and nonprofits,” Ricketts said.

The institute was created with a $6 million donation from the Gund family.

The family had previous donated funds in 2002 to form the Gund Institute for Ecological Economics, which is being replaced by the new institute.