Academic Grants

The Noosphere Award

The Noosphere Award supports faculty-student collaborative projects unifying artistic, scientific, and spiritual elements that promote the advent of a worldwide culture of peace. The family of alumnus Adam Leveen Sher '02 established this endowed award to assist future generations of students at The Evergreen State College.

Noosphere (pronounced ˈnō-ə- sfir) refers to a goal of planetary evolution that is essential for the continuance of Earth’s evolutionary trajectory -- the creation of a unified human culture in harmony with the ecological values that support all life: diversity, creativity, interdependence, and communication. The Noosphere Award seeks to promote this hopeful vision by supporting modest proposals to facilitate this transformation.

The Noosphere Award provides Evergreen students and faculty opportunities to explore and contribute to the noosphere’s coalescence through concrete activities, including but not restricted to special research projects, guest lectures or seminars, fairs, or other events consistent with the endowment’s purpose.

How to apply

One award of up to $1,400 is typically available each year.  Smaller grant amounts may be considered.

Each proposed project must include at least one faculty member and one student working collaboratively; larger collaborations are also welcome to apply. Eligible faculty must be teaching at the college and eligible students must be enrolled during the proposed project period. Applications are due April 4, 2014 at 5 pm.

A complete application includes all of the following:

  • A completed cover page, available for download here in Word or PDF.
  • A three- to five-sentence abstract of the project.
  • A narrative (not more than three pages, single spaced, 12 pt type) that describes in numbered order:
    1. The proposed project activities. (Explain concretely what you plan to do and when.  Provide a timeline for completing  key project milestones.)
    2. How the proposed project activities will promote the kinds of transformation encompassed in the idea of the noosphere. (It is recommended that your review the materials about the noosphere linked below before developing this section of your narrative.)
    3. How faculty and students will collaborate to accomplish this project. (What is the nature of the collaboration? What specific roles will each member of the team play?)
    4. The anticipated outcomes of the project.  (What will be gained by the activities proposed in this project?  Who will benefit? Preference will be given to projects that engage the greater college community or general public in a meaningful way.)
  • A budget with adequate detail for a reviewer to understand the major costs of the project. The budget should include enough information about how costs were determined for reviewers to assess if the requested award is reasonable and necessary.

Projects may begin at any point after notification of award and must be completed by May 31 of the next academic year.

Submit your application electronically to the Academic Grants Office at sponsres@evergreen.edu. A single PDF or Word file is preferred. Contact the Academic Grants staff for information about other compatible file formats.

More about the noosphere

The noosphere is a term jointly introduced in the early 1920’s by Russian geologist Vladimir I. Vernadsky, French theologian-philosopher-geologist Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, and French mathematician Eduard LeRoy. It refers to that part of the world of life that is created by human thought and culture, arising from, but distinct from, the geosphere and biosphere.

Vernadsky, Teilhard and LeRoy considered the Noosphere to be a distinct state in the development of Earth, in which the planet itself finally emerges as a whole self-reflective conscious entity. Just as individual life-forms participate in the whole of the biosphere as one living entity, they reasoned, so individual human beings and thought forms can and do participate in the consciousness of the Earth, as one conscious entity. This understanding, in turn, led them to believe that the evolution and unification of human culture through the noosphere would be critical to solving the planetary political, ecological, and moral crises of our times. This vision has since been embraced and developed by a wide range of thinkers, artists and scientists and is at the conceptual core of the modern ecological movement.

You may wish to consult Paul Samson and David Pitt's book, The Biosphere and Noosphere Reader (Taylor & Francis 2007). The following web sites might also be helpful:

Recipients of the Noosphere Award

2012-13
  • Faculty member Shaw Osha and student Nina Fortier to support an artist presentation by Ashley Hunt, "Notes on the Emptying of a City."
  • Faculty member Yvonne Peterson and student Valerie Knox for the project, "Camassia: Spirit Food of the People."
2011-12
  • Faculty member Sarah Williams and students for the project, “Distracted Globes: Curating Awareness between Biosphere and Noosphere.”
  • Faculty member Rebecca Chamberlain and students Miles Drake, Chandra Alduenda, Alex Hendrix, Tim Varney, and Marisa Schuler for the project, “Cosmology and Consciousness—A Summer Lecture Series.”

For more information about the Noosphere Award, contact John McLain, Academic Grants Manager, at ext. 6045 or sponsres@evergreen.edu.