Call for graduate student applications in “Economics for the Anthropocene” program

Economics for the Anthropocene: Re-grounding the Human-Earth Relationship

Economics for the Anthropocene offers exceptional graduate students the opportunity to collaborate in rethinking and redirecting the human/Earth relationship.

POSITION: The Gund Institute at the University of Vermont (UVM) in Burlington, Vermont, McGill University in Montreal, Quebec, and York University in Toronto, Ontario seek up to nine PhD or MS students to join the international Economics for the Anthropocene (E4A) research initiative, in Fall 2015. The Fall 2015 cohort will focus broadly on applying approaches based on ecological economics to issues of energy supply and use in Eastern Canada and Northeastern U.S. Students will have considerable latitude and assistance in developing the direction of their work.

BACKGROUND: Humanity is degrading the Earth’s life support systems. Fresh water is too often contaminated, in short supply, and subject to competing claims. Continued reliance on non-renewable sources of energy is unsustainable and faces increasingly unacceptable trade-offs for both regional and global environments. Irreversible climate changes are raising stark questions of justice. In short, Earth has entered a human-dominated epoch: the Anthropocene. Yet, prevailing norms continue to rely on thought systems that insufficiently account for knowledge of how human society interacts with and affects Earth’s life systems.

The Economics for the Anthropocene (E4A) project builds on the strengths of McGill, York and UVM in ecological economics. They form the core of a diverse partnership of 25 academic, government, and NGO partners designed to improve how the social sciences and humanities connect to ecological realities of the Anthropocene. E4A’s overarching goal is to articulate, teach and apply a new understanding of human-Earth relationships grounded in and informed by the insights of contemporary science. The partnership will:

  1. Create a vibrant international research network in ecological economics;
  2. Train students to become change agents capable of analyzing and managing the unique challenges of the Anthropocene;
  3. Actively link academic and non-academic partners in solving transnational problems that exemplify these new challenges; and
  4. Integrate the natural sciences, social sciences, and humanities by extending the core vision of ecological economics to other normative disciplines such as finance, law, governance, ethics, and cosmology.

The partnership will train up to 60 graduate students in three cohorts over six years. Students will enroll at any of the three universities, and cohorts will take core courses together through web-enabled classrooms that link our campuses. Joint field courses will engage non-academic partners in providing hands-on experience in transdisciplinary problems and their ecological, social, and economic dimensions. E4A partners and collaborators will help guide research questions, mentor students, and provide internship opportunities. The partnership will focus on three daunting challenges: water security, energy supply and use, and climate justice.

OFFER: PhD and MS students at UVM, McGill, and York may receive a generous 12-month E4A research stipend. The majority of tuition for this program will be covered via scholarships and teaching assistantships. Travel and research funds are also available. Funding is guaranteed for three years.

QUALIFICATIONS: Master’s degree preferred for PhD applicants, but all highly qualified candidates interested in all four dimensions of the program will be considered.

APPLICATION: Applications from women and people from diverse racial, ethnic, and cultural backgrounds are encouraged. Interested students should contact one of the following:

  • McGill University
    Peter Brown:
    Nicolas Kosoy:
    * Applicants must apply to the Department of Natural Resource Sciences by February 15.
  • University of Vermont
    Jon Erickson:
    Joshua Farley:
    Taylor Ricketts:
    Asim Zia: (on Sabbatical FY 14)
    * Applicants must apply to the Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources PhD program at UVM by February 1st and meet all of the admissions requirements.
  • York University
    Ellie Perkins:
    Peter Victor:
    Graduate admissions: Gwen Gringhuis:
    * Applicants must apply to the Faculty of Environmental Studies PhD program by January 8, or the Masters in Environmental Studies (MES) program by February 5 (international applicants) or March 12 (Canadian applicants), and must meet all of the admissions requirements.

For more information, visit the E4A website at