Background: On April 22, 1993, Earth Day marked the renaissance of the innovative Partnership for Ecosystem Research and Management (PERM) program between Michigan State University and the Fisheries and Wildlife Divisions of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (MDNR). The PERM program was enriched by establishing agency supported faculty positions to improve the ability of the university and MDNR to work with other stakeholders toward identifying significant ecosystem problems and conducting research and outreach toward their solution. PERM's novel approach to promoting cooperation among its partners, facilitating cutting-edge natural resource research, and applying results to resource management soon attracted other partners including the MDNR's Forest Management Division, the Great Lakes Fishery Commission, and the U.S. Geological Survey.
Objectives of PERM include:
PERM faculty members bring a common ecosystem perspective and emphasis on state-of-the-art qualitative and quantitative approaches to meet the needs of partner agencies. The research efforts of PERM faculty are augmented by graduate research assistants, visiting professors, academic specialists, postdoctoral associates, and undergraduate interns. In addition to addressing research needs of the partner organizations, PERM faculty provide significant technical and outreach expertise that serve agency information and technology transfer needs as well building capacity to make sustainable decisions about Michigan's ecosystems.