Recruiting PhD Students for “Leadership for the Ecozoic” Partnership

Position: The Gund Institute for Environment at the University of Vermont (UVM) in Burlington, Vermont and McGill University in Montreal, Quebec, seek up to ten PhD students to join the Leadership for the Ecozoic partnership in Fall 2018. The cohort will focus broadly on developing and applying systems-based approaches to ecological economics, law, ethics, and related transdisciplinary efforts to research and chart pathways to the Ecozoic.

Background: The Ecozoic represents a vision for the future founded on mutually enhancing relationships between human societies and the global community of life. Leadership for the Ecozoic (L4E) is a global partnership initially based at McGill University and the University of Vermont to work toward that vision by: (1) advancing transdisciplinary scholarship in select doctoral programs to educate and empower new leaders for the Ecozoic; (2) 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; and (3) mobilizing and focusing higher education resources and communication on multi-faceted, human-induced, planetary disturbances. A central L4E goal is to enable the development of thought leaders for the Ecozoic era. The partnership builds on the strengths of UVM and McGill in ecological economics and the initial Economics for the Anthropocene (E4A) partnership that currently includes about 40 graduate students, 80 collaborators, and 25 academic, government and NGO partners.

The Ecozoic: “Ecozoic” is a term for an era coined by Thomas Berry, outlining a comprehensive objective of humanity “to assist in establishing a mutually enhancing human presence upon the Earth.”  As Berry and Swimme in The Universe Story (p. 251) maintain, “This cannot, obviously, be achieved immediately. But if this is not achieved in some manner or within some acceptable limits the human will continue to exist in a progressively degraded mode of being.” Berry further states in a chapter on “The University” in The Great Work (p. 85), that universities must decide whether they will continue training persons for temporary survival in the declining Cenozoic Era or whether they will begin educating students for the emerging Ecozoic.”  This partnership charts a course for enabling the Ecozoic.

Offer: PhD students at UVM and McGill may receive a 12-month stipend for 3 years to support their research, the L4E shared coursework, an internship with a partner organization, and other partnership-related work assignments.  Tuition support will be available via scholarships and supplementary teaching assistantships.  Travel and research funds are also available.

Qualifications: PhD candidates, accepted by their host university (UVM or McGill).

Application: Interested students should contact one of the following:

McGill University
Peter G. Brown:
Applicants must apply to the Department of Natural Resource Sciences in “Renewable Resources” by February 15, 2018.

University of Vermont
Jon Erickson:
Applicants must identify a Fellow from the Gund Institute for Environment as an advisor, apply to a UVM PhD program of interest, and apply for an L4E assistantship at

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

Published by Jon Erickson

Blittersdorf Professor of Sustainability Science & Policy University of Vermont

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