A message from Taylor Ricketts, Director of UVM's new university-wide environment institute

I’m writing to share some big news.

Today, the University of Vermont received a $6 million gift (with a pledge for more) to create the Gund Institute for Environment at UVM. 

The new Gund Institute for Environment will catalyze interdisciplinary research – at UVM and beyond – on global environmental challenges, and connect scholars and society’s leaders to solve urgent sustainability problems. Here’s the full announcement.

The new Institute is possible thanks to our long-time supporters, the Gund Family. In addition to today’s $6-million gift, they have issued a $4 million “challenge” to inspire further philanthropic support for the Institute. These gifts will transform environmental scholarship at UVM.

This will be UVM’s first university-wide environmental Institute. It will be accessible to all UVM faculty and students interested in cross-cutting sustainability research. Here are initial ways to get involved, beginning with our Research Slam on April 20.

The Institute will pursue an evolving set of research themes, identified in consultation with UVM and external stakeholders. These “grand challenges” will be globally important, relevant to our region, and linked to the UN Sustainable Development Goals – topics such as climate change, renewable energy, biodiversity, food and water security, and the relationships among them.

This exciting endeavor will broaden and replace the existing Gund Institute for Ecological Economics. The Institute will transfer from the Rubenstein School – which has housed and supported the Gund for 15 years – to become a campus-wide unit. Ecological economics – in which the Gund Institute has become an international leader – will remain a key initiative of the new Institute.

Hearty thanks to all of you who helped make this Institute happen, especially the hundreds of participants in consultations, design committees and retreats over the past four years. Feel free to share this message or the media release with your networks. Please subscribe to our mailing list and follow us on social media for future updates. Our Institute website will help to answer most questions.

I’d love to hear what you think, and I hope you find this as exciting as I do. Stay tuned for several exciting announcements, including a major new grant program.

Taylor H. Ricketts
Founding Director
Gund Institute for Environment at UVM
University of Vermont


Taylor Ricketts
The Gund Institute For Environment will catalyze research – at UVM and beyond – and connect scholars with society’s leaders to address critical global environmental challenges.