Johnson House, built in 1806

Gund Institute for Ecological Economics (2002-2017)

The Gund Institute for Ecological Economics (GIEE), was founded at the University of Vermont in 2002. The Institute became an internationally leader in Ecological Economics, and a hub for interdisciplinary scholarship at UVM.

In 2017, GIEE was replaced by the Gund Institute for Environment with a broader mission: to mobilize scholars and leaders to understand and solve the world’s most important environmental challenges. Below is a brief summary of selected highlights of 15 years of GIEE scholarly activity

Quick facts:

  • Established in 2002 at the University of Vermont with support from the Gund Family.
  • Directors: Taylor Ricketts (2012-17), Jon Erickson (acting, 2009-12), Robert Costanza (2002-10)
  • GIEE scholars published more than 600 scientific papers.
  • Alumni have pursued successful careers in business, government, NGOs and academia, including World Bank, WWF, IBM, Princeton, and Cambridge.
  • Partnerships included: European Union, City of Burlington, Green Mountain Coffee, Virgin Atlantic, Tiffany & Co., CGIAR, Natural Capital Project, Nature Conservancy, USDA, EPA, Harvard, Stanford, McGill and state agencies.
  • Attracted funding from government agencies, NGOs and private sector, including NASA, Google, NSF, USDA, Ford Foundation, MacArthur Foundation, Norman Family Foundation.
  • The GIEE was replaced by the Gund Institute for Environment in April 2017.
  • As of 2017, the GIEE had:
    • 25 current faculty Fellows.
    • 35 current graduate student Fellows.
    • A global network of 100+ Gund alumni and 30 Affiliated researchers.

Global highlights:

  • International leader in Ecological Economics, an transdisciplinary field that grounds economics to natural sciences.
  • GIEE researchers attracted global media coverage, including major stories in the New York Times, Washington Post, CNN and the Guardian.
  • Director Taylor Ricketts  named by Reuters among world’s most influential environmental scholars for three years straight.
  • Scholars participated in major global initiatives, including UN Climate Change Conferences, Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, and The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity.
  • Gund research drove a 2016 International Whaling Commission resolution recognizing the environmental importance of conserving whales.
  • Created first ever map U.S. wild bee declines.
  • Launched Economics for the Anthropocene (E4A), an innovative international graduate program with Canada’s McGill and York universities.
  • Led 30+ experiential learning ‘Ateliers’ in Cuba, Brazil, Iceland, Ukraine, Ethiopia, Peru, Dominican Republic, Philippines, South Africa, Zimbabwe and Vermont.

Vermont highlights:  

  • Led the Vermont Climate Assessment in 2014, the first university-led state climate assessment in the U.S.
  • GIEE scholars helped Burlington, VT, become a UN Center of Excellence for Sustainability in 2014.
  • Created the Vermont Genuine Progress Indicator, which was adopted by Vermont government in in 2013.
  • GIEE scholars served as expert witnesses for state and federal governments on environment issues, including climate change, water quality, carbon tax, endangered species, harmful pesticides.
  • Bloom, a PBS series on Lake Champlain water quality, received Emmy award in 2011.