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History of POLIS

The precursor to the POLIS Project on Ecological Governance was a group of diverse researchers working under the auspices of the Eco-Research Chair of Environmental Law and Policy at the University of Victoria from 1995 to 2000. In 2000, these projects coalesced into an informal research organization and POLIS was publicly launched in the fall of 2001 as an integrated and innovative collective effort focused on ecological governance.
 
During the early years of the Eco-Research Chair, the Eco-Research Secretariat in Ottawa provided financial support. The Secretariat was closed just prior to the public launch of POLIS as an organization in 2001. With the termination of its support, a substantial part of the core operating budget of the Eco-Research Chair has come from an endowment fund held at the University of Victoria. This fund was originally created with the generous support of the Real Estate Foundation of BC, the BC Ministry of Environment, and the Notary Foundation. Research and policy advocacy projects carried out by POLIS researchers are financed mainly by funds raised from research granting agencies and private foundations.
 
With continued support from the endowment of the Eco-Research Chair, and additional vital funds from the Walter and Duncan Gordon Foundation and the Vancouver Foundation to develop the organizational capacity of POLIS and harness our synergies, our work has grown and evolved in exciting ways. Since 2000, POLIS has helped launch a number of independent research and advocacy organizations dedicated to ecological governance in specific research areas. These include: SmartGrowth BC, Dogwood Initiative (formerly Forest Futures), the UVic Sustainability Project and Common Energy.
 
POLIS has also made significant contributions to the establishment of the new Office of Community Based Research at the University of Victoria; a number of research and educative activities undertaken by the Clayoquot Alliance for Research, Education and Action; research ethics policy development by the International Society of Ethnobiology and many other initiatives. Our chronology of past projects summarizes the work at POLIS and its predecessor the Eco-Research Chair since 1995.
 
Through a combination of project specific support and continued contributions from the Eco-Research Chair endowment, from 2001-2011 POLIS operated as part of the Faculty of Law and School of Environmental Studies, and maintained a small office with part-time staff and a diverse community of researchers at University House 4 on the campus.
 
In Fall 2011, POLIS joined the Centre for Global Studies (CFGS), and relocated to Sedgewick C Building, thus began an exciting new level of integrated research, policy engagement, education and community action in collaboration with the other CFGS projects and initiatives.

 
Page last updated: 01/22/2013