How to create value for Greenland with your research

Government of Greenland, Naalakkersuisut, research strategy, Nuuk Center, Arctic Hub,

Research should benefit society and it can do that in many ways. Read this guide to gain inspiration for how your research can leave positive traces in the Greenlandic snow.


By Ole Ellekrog


It is stated clearly in Greenland’s new research strategy: “Research in and around Greenland should first and foremost be of benefit to Greenland.” The Greenlandic government wishes to put an end to researchers coming to Greenland and taking advantage of its resources without giving anything in return.


But it is not always easy to figure out how your research can create value outside the world of academia. If your research involves complex processes or if your fieldwork takes place far from any inhabited areas, you may need to think creatively to make your research valuable to the common citizen.


First of all, when considering how to create value for Greenland, you should consider the four main goals of the strategy. They are:


1) Research should be anchored in Greenland.

2) Research should support a sustainable development in society.

3) Research results should be easily accessible to everyone.

4) The research effort should be at an international level.


If you dive into the details of the strategy, however, you can find more information on which kind of value from research the government wants. In this guide, we have gathered some of the best examples of researchers finding creative solutions to creating value from their research.


This list will be continually updated as we gather more examples. If you know a research project that should be included on the list, then let us know at

Use of original and local knowledge

One way to ensure that your research is creating value for Greenland is by actively incorporating knowledge from the population. In the new research strategy, this wish is clearly stated: “Researchers should do more to include original and local knowledge in their research projects,” the strategy reads.


The moving sea ice in Uummannaq

In Uummannaq a group of researchers led by Parnuna Egede Dahl used knowledge that the local people had gathered over generations in a very concrete way. The researchers investigated the thickness and movement of sea ice and gained new knowledge that they could use in their mathematical models. Read more here.

Improved overview of research activities

Naalakkersuisut, the government of Greenland, also wants to improve the overview of research in Greenland. The research strategy reads: “Moving forward, research projects in Greenland should to a greater degree be registered to create an overview of research activities. Researchers working in Greenland can therefore create value for Greenland by getting themselves registered and thus contributing to a better overview.


Arctic Hub Connect

At Arctic Hub we work hard ourselves to help create an overview of research activities. One way we do this is with the workshop Arctic Hub Connect. Here, researchers across scientific fields meet and coordinate their fieldwork. They can also network and learn more about the research of their peers. The workshop is an annual event. Read more about the most recent workshop here.


Helping local businesses

The research strategy also calls for research projects which help local businesses. The strategy reads: “the research environment should cooperate with the business world and the labor market to optimize the value of our human and natural resources in a sustainable manner.”


Magnus and the municipality: A tourism cooperation

Magnus Biilmann Trolle and his cooperation with Kommuneqarfik Sermersooq, the municipality of Nuuk, is a great example of research that directly helps develop Greenland’s businesses. Magnus had studied Business Management at Copenhagen Business School and decided to write his MA thesis on sustainable tourism. In this way, he solved a concrete demand that the municipality had.


Read more about Magnus’ work and watch a video with him here.

Optimizing the utility of human resources

In the same section of the research strategy, another wish is expressed: The wish that research in and around Greenland should “optimize the utility of its human resources.” This wish can be interpreted in many ways, but a good example is this one:


Homelessness in Nuuk

The researcher Steven Arnfjord from Ilisimatusarfik, the University of Greenland, is researching homelessness. He does this to help politicians make decisions on the topic. Not a lot of knowledge on the reasons for homelessness in Greenland exists yet so Steven’s research makes an important contribution to creating more.


Read more here.

Researchers should make ethical considerations

The government of Greenland and the Greenlandic research institutions are working on a set of ethical guidelines that should guide all research in the country. This is also mentioned in the research strategy: “Naalakkersuisut and the research institutions have a common wish to create ethical guidelines for research in Greenland.”


Research projects that make ethical considerations have a higher potential for creating value for Greenland. This could, for instance, be considerations on how to avoid overloading parts of the population with too many projects. It could also be considerations of cultural differences, and of remembering to give something back to the population, things like the new knowledge gained from the research.


Greenland Research Council and the ethical guidelines

Greenland Research Council is among the institutions that have worked for many years on creating ethical guidelines for research in Greenland. Read more about the considerations of the council here.

Research should be at an international level

In the research strategy, it is recognized that research in Greenland is already “of a high, international quality”. The government wishes to continue this high-level research. Specifically, it is interested in research in areas such as sea ice that benefit the population.


As a researcher in Greenland, you should therefore be aware that high-quality research is also considered valuable for Greenland.


Julius and the Greenland shark

There are not many better stamps of quality than being published on the front page of the journal Science. This is what Julius Nielsen achieved in 2016 when he discovered that the Greenland shark gets much older than previously thought – perhaps up to 400 years old. This knowledge is of value, for instance, to the country’s fishermen that can now more effectively protect the age-old sharks.


Read more here.

Top photo Peter Lindstrom Rasmussen, Visit Greenland