PhD training for new era of thought leaders.

The Gund Institute for Environment and McGill University have partnered to launch the Leadership for the Ecozoic (L4E) PhD program.

The Ecozoic era, coined by Thomas Berry, is a vision for a future founded on mutually enhancing relationships between human societies and the global community of life. Leadership for the Ecozoic will chart a course for enabling this new era.

Charting a sustainable future

Leadership for the Ecozoic (L4E) is a global partnership – initially based at UVM and McGill University – that develops thought leaders for a new Ecozoic era by:

  • Co-creating a global research-to-action network to heal and restore Earth’s life support systems and foster a mutually-enhancing human-Earth relationship
  • Mobilizing and focusing higher education resources and communication on multi-faceted, human-induced, planetary disturbances
  • Advancing transdisciplinary scholarship in select doctoral programs to educate and empower new leaders for the Ecozoic

The L4E cohort will focus on developing and applying systems-based approaches to ecological economics, law, ethics, and related transdisciplinary efforts to research and chart pathways to the Ecozoic.

The partnership builds on UVM's and McGill's strengths in Ecological Economics, and an Economics for the Anthropocene (E4A) partnership, which includes about 40 graduate students, 80 collaborators, and 25 academic, government and NGO partners.

Funding Packages

PhD students at UVM will receive three full years of funding through a combination of research and teaching assistantships. These funds cover an annual stipend of $27,000, tuition, UVM's student health insurance, and an internship with a partner organization. Travel and research funds are also available.


  • Student must be starting year 1 of a PhD program at UVM
  • Student must apply through the graduate college to an academic unit at UVM
  • Preference given to applicants who have not previously studied at UVM, and who already have a Master’s degree, but all qualified candidates will be considered.

Applications from women and people from diverse racial, ethnic, cultural, and socioeconomic backgrounds are encouraged.

Application Process

Interested candidates should contact UVM Prof. Jon Erickson by email:

To apply:

1. Contact potential advisors directly to discuss your interests. Identify a Gund Fellow who can serve as your advisor. Co-advisors can be any full-time faculty member of UVM's Graduate College. Learn more about environmental and sustainability graduate studies at UVM.

2. Submit two required applications:


Interested students should contact one of the following:

University of Vermont
Prof. Jon Erickson:

McGill University
Prof. Peter G. Brown:

Gund Student and Alumni Stories

Learn about Gund students and alumni like Phoebe Spencer, who interned at the United Nations before joining the World Bank after graduation.

Key Dates

  • Gund applications: Reviews begin January 18, 2019.
  • UVM Colleges and Schools: Deadlines vary.
  • Start date: Fall 2019