University Row, looking towards Billings

Call it a watershed moment.

The Gund Institute for Environment launched in 2017 to solve critical global environmental issues and advance the University of Vermont’s longstanding leadership in sustainability.

With founding support from the Gund Family, the Institute resulted from a five-year effort to create a truly university-wide research venture that connects environmental scholars and leaders – at UVM and beyond – and catalyzes new research and solutions.

Led by inaugural director Taylor Ricketts, the new Institute replaced and broadened the internationally-renowned Gund Institute for Ecological Economics (GIEE). In doing so, the Institute moved from UVM’s Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources, which housed the Gund since 2002, to become a central unit in UVM’s Provost’s Office.

Institute Design Process

The Institute was designed over a four-year faculty-led process. 

  • In 2012, a University-wide Envisioning Environment effort resulted in a recommendation to create a university-wide Institute to enhance cross-disciplinary collaboration among UVM’s broad community of environmental researchers and scholars. 
  • In 2014, a faculty-led working group developed the Institute’s mission statement, strategic vision, and operating plan. Participants studied best practices at 10 major U.S. environmental research institutes, interviewing leaders to identify optimal design elements.
  • In 2015, another faculty-led working group focused on resourcing the Institute and refining its governance structure.
  • In 2016, the proposed Institute was approved by UVM’s Faculty Senate and Board of Trustees.
  • Read our design working groups’ reports