Celebrating ten years of the ATREE Academy for Conservation Science and Sustainability Studies, and mapping the next ten years to come.
Siddhartha Krishnan, Milind Bunyan, Madhavi Latha and Neha Mohanty
Disciplinary approaches operate in silos and inadequately address complex and linked issues like climate
and land use change. They pose environmental and ecological risks that marginalized classes and cultures
disproportionately face. Biodiversity loss and water pollution, for instance, directly impact rural forest
dwellers and urban migrant labour. To understand and mitigate carbon emission or biodiversity loss, we need
imaginatively conceived knowledge institutions that transcend traditional disciplines. ATREE’s Academy for
Conservation Science and Sustainability Studies, established 11 years ago, is a pioneering and innovative
knowledge initiative and is the first of its kind in Asia. In addition to its flagship PhD programme, the
Academy offers training workshops for diverse stakeholders in biodiversity conservation and sustainable
In this presentation, we demonstrate how the Academy, through PhD students and fellows, has contributed to ATREE’s mission pillars of interdisciplinary knowledge, its policy and social utility and the creation of environmental leadership. We do so by using qualitative and quantitative indicators such as publications, certificate courses, alumni employment, and state and non-state engagement with Academy generated knowledge. We also provide numerical and narrative indicators for interdisciplinarity. Finally, while sharing our experiences of coordinating teaching and student rites, including synopsis presentation and thesis defense, we also communicate how we sought to further mission goals of interdisciplinarity of utility and environmental leadership.