14 April 2020

Danish and Icelandic Ocean Research Center opens at UCPH

Ocean Research

With a grant from The Carlsberg Foundation and in close collaboration with Icelandic authorities, a new ocean research center opens at the University of Copenhagen. The center will be led by Professor Katherine Richardson from the GLOBE Institute.

Icelandic coasts
A new ocean research center at the University of Copenhagen aims to increase our understanding of the interaction between climate and ecosystems and the importance of climate-related changes in the ocean to culture and society in Iceland. The Carlsberg Foundation contributes DKK 25 million, the Icelandic state DKK 7 million and the Icelandic research center Rannís DKK 5 million.

The interdisciplinary research center "Queen Margrethe’s and Vigdís Finnbogadóttir's Interdisciplinary Research Center on Ocean, Climate and Society" is presented as a joint birthday gift to Queen Margrethe and former Icelandic President Vigdís Finnbogadóttir.

Icelandic society has always been very dependent on ocean resources, which are currently undergoing rapid change due to climate changes. Therefore, Iceland is quite a unique laboratory which makes it possible to map both historical and contemporary interactions between humans and the climate

Professor Katherine Richardson

The research center, which will be based at the University of Copenhagen and the University of Iceland, will be headed by Professor Katherine Richardson, University of Copenhagen, in collaboration with several Danish and Icelandic researchers.

The grant will mainly be used for the recruitment of young talented researchers, primarily at postdoc level. They will play a crucial role in strengthening the collaboration between the Danish and Icelandic researchers affiliated with the research center.

Studies of both past and present

The research carried out at the center will investigate the interaction between climate, ecosystem and society, including culture, based on the changes in the North Atlantic and Iceland - both in historical time and further back in geological time. The starting point is the ocean today as a background for understanding Icelandic society today - not least in view of climate change.

Research activities will focus on the ocean around Iceland, but many of the results obtained will be relevant to the North Atlantic in general. The research in the center will utilize the recent progress in environmental DNA methodology, which combined with information on current ecological processes can provide a whole new understanding of the interaction between climate, living organisms and society. This interaction not only forms the basis of people's way of life, but also of their worldview.

“We know that the climate in the form of wind and weather affects people directly. However, we know surprisingly little about the indirect climate effects on people and society. Many of these effects are apparent through changes in nature. Icelandic society has always been very dependent on ocean resources, which are currently undergoing rapid change due to climate changes. Therefore, Iceland is quite a unique laboratory which makes it possible to map both historical and contemporary interactions between humans and the climate,” says Professor Katherine Richardson.

Birthday gift to Queen Margrethe and Vigdís Finnbogadóttir

“Denmark and Iceland have a strong friendship and long and proud traditions of scientific collaboration, which the Carlsberg Foundation has contributed to in many different contexts historically. I am therefore pleased that we can now create a research center as a gift for Queen Margrethe and Vigdís Finnbogadóttir. They are both concerned about the environmental and societal development in the North Atlantic area, and they have often emphasized the importance of culture and science to the development of society," says Chairman of the Carlsberg Foundation Professor Flemming Besenbacher.

 

About the Carlsberg Foundation

The Carlsberg Foundation is one of the world's oldest industrial foundations. In 2019, the Carlsberg Foundation awarded DKK 467 million to basic research. The Carlsberg Foundation is the parent foundation of the Carlsberg family, which also consists of the New Carlsberg Foundation and the Tuborg Foundation, the museums Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek and the National History Museum at Frederiksborg Castle, as well as Carlsberg Research Laboratory and the brewery Carlsberg A/S.

Read more on the foundation´s website.

 

About Rannís – The Icelandic Centre for Research

Rannís aims to promote research and innovation in Iceland and provide support for education and culture. Rannís contributes to the development of a knowledge-based society by administering competitive funds in the fields of research, innovation, education and culture, as well as disseminating information on international foundations and collaborative programs. In addition, its purpose is to provide analyses and information about the impact of research, education and culture on the economy. Rannís is part of the Icelandic Ministry of Education and Culture and works closely with the Council for Science and Technology, which plans the political strategies and action plans of the Icelandic authorities three years at a time.