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New partnership strengthens research and education in the Arctic

Rectors and directors from Aarhus University, the Greenland Institute of Natural Resources and University of Manitoba met in Nuuk 8 July to sign a partnership agreement. The agreement strengthens international research in the Arctic regions and, at the same time, draws attention to education with respect to a number of Arctic issues.

2012.07.12 | Peter Bondo Christensen (oversat af Christina Levisen)

During negotiations for a new partnership agreement between Aarhus University, the Greenland Institute of Natural Resources and University of Manitoba, Canada, the participants went on a boat ride in the fjords surrounding Nuuk on Saturday afternoon, followed by a picnic.

Rector Lauritz B. Holm-Nielsen, Aarhus Universitet, Director Klaus Nygaard, Greenland Institute for Natural Resources, Nuuk, and Rector David Barnard, University of Manitoba, Canada, met Sunday 8 July to sign the partnership agreement between the three institutions. The agreement strengthens research and educational efforts in Arctic issues.

The new, large-scale Greenlandic, Canadian and Danish research partnership joins more than 200 of the world’s leading scientists in Arctic research. The work will cover a wide range of topics, from health sciences to socio-economics to environment and climate related issues.

The collaborative formation is known as the Arctic Science Partnership (ASP). Together, the three countries have at their disposal a number of laboratories, research vessels, field equipment and field stations which will be mutually available to the researchers.

Employees and students have the possibility of working at all three research institutions, and through close collaboration in selected Arctic focus areas, the ASP will ensure synergy in research, education and dissemination of Arctic issues.

Leading interdisciplinary centre

- The Arctic is faced with enormous changes. These years, the climate is changing dramatically, and at the same time, the interest in exploring for oil, gas and minerals in the Arctic regions is increasing. We have to be at the forefront of the research in this area in order to deal effectively with the new challenges and to be able to educate the public about the consequences, says Rector Lauritz B. Holm-Nielsen.

Aarhus University is committed to the ASP, and a new, interdisciplinary Arctic Research Centre has been established based on a DKK 65m grant over a five-year period.

- We set high standards for our research centres and expect them to quickly become trendsetting amongst the experts in their fields – a goal which has been fulfilled by eg. the iNANO centre which was established about 10 years ago, says Lauritz B. Holm-Nielsen.

The Director of Arctic Research Centre in Aarhus, Professor Søren Rysgaard, is happy to take on this challenge. He is convinced that Arctic Research Centre will quickly become recognised internationally as a preeminent force and, at the same time, attract new students who would like to be part of an interdisciplinary, dynamic study environment and take part in a large-scale, international effort at the highest scientific level.

- Through the recently established ASP, we will have an enormous, very valuable, logistical platform which will offer our employees and students easy and low-cost access to icebreakers, research vessels and research stations in the Arctic area – something which is usually not easily attainable, says Søren Rysgaard.

Local roots

The Minister for Education, Research and Nordic cooperation, Palle Christiansen, self-rule, Nuuk, has worked hard for the establishment of ASP and on behalf of the self-rule, he was a very happy man when the agreement between the three institutions was signed.

- There is a great need to foster education and knowledge about Arctic matters in Arctic regions – among others Greenland and Canada, says Palle Christiansen.

Palle Christiansen is also happy that the ASP will facilitate new educational programmes in the three countries, and that students will be able to enroll in a number of different modules at all three research institutions.

Read the Memorandum of Understanding.

Arctic Research Centre, Environment, climate and energy, Meeting