These five researchers will battle in new big show

Paasisavut finalists, Nick Duelund, Ulunnguaq Markussen, Liz Cooper, Laura Helene Rasmussen, Naja Carina Steenholdt, Arctic Hub, Greenland research

Sustainable cruise ship tourism, vision problems in children, and urban development in Tasiilaq are some of the topics the researchers will present at the big show in Nuuk.


By Ole Ellekrog


The finalists in the new science dissemination contest Paasisavut 2023 have been found. Five researchers were chosen, and three of them are associated with Ilisimatusarfik, the University of Greenland. 


Paasisavut is a new competition for ph.d. students researching topics related to Greenland. At a live show in March, the researchers will compete in disseminating their research to the Greenlandic population. The winner will be the one who can speak in a way that everyone understands. The show will be broadcast at KNR, the Greenlandic Broadcast Corporation, and the winner will receive a prize of DKK 25,000 sponsored by Brugseni. 


“Now we hope that Paasisavut will help the five finalists reach a broader audience,” Anna-Sofie Skjervedal, head of secretariat at Arctic Hub. 


The five finalists come from very different branches of science. One has researched nitrate in the Greenlandic tundra, another how to make cruise ship tourism sustainable, a third has investigated how to prevent vision problems in Greenlandic children, a fourth has studied urban development in the town of Tasiilaq, and the fifth finalist has looked into what it means to live a good life in Greenland. They have one thing in common: their ability to talk engagingly about their research.


Read more about the five researchers below.


It is the first time Paasisavut will happen. The show will take place on March 1st in Katuaq, a cultural center in Nuuk. The competition is arranged by Arctic Hub and Ilisimatusarfik. Head of secretariat at Arctic Hub, Anna-Sofie Skjervedal, says: 


“It is the first time ever that a competition like Paasisavut will occur in Greenland, and we are overwhelmed by how many applications we have received. It is wonderful to see that so many researchers want to share their knowledge with the public. Now we hope that Paasisavut will help the five finalists reach a broader audience,” says Anna-Sofie Skjervedal, head of secretariat at Arctic Hub. 


Read more about Paasisavut at

Ulunnguaq Markussen

University: Ilisimatusarfik, University of Greenland


Title on PhD project: Piniartoq in a globalized world


Subject: Urban development in Tasiilaq


In short: Greenland is a constantly changing country, especially the development of the Greenlandic cities and settlements is moving fast. But how can you ensure that this development takes place in the best way possible? Is the best solution found locally or nationally?


Quote: “If there is to be a broader nationwide development, then it must be based on the resources and opportunities available in the various places, and it must be something that the citizens can participate in.”

Nick Duelund

Paasisavut finalist Nick Duelund, Arctic Hub, Greenland research

University: Ilisimatusarfik, University of Greenland


Title on PhD project: Vision Screening of Greenlandic Children


Subject: Vision problems in Greenlandic children


In short: Sight is one of the most important things we humans use in everyday life. But how can Greenland ensure that, in the future, children are tested for vision problems and given the necessary tools to regain their sight?


Quote: “Look! … A simple word with great meaning. If you say “Look!” to a person with poor eyesight, getting your message across is difficult.”

Naja Carina Steenholdt

University: Aalborg University and Ilisimatusarfik


Title on PhD project: Subjective Well-being and Quality of Life in Greenland


Subject: Quality of life in Greenland


In short: The statistics paint a dark picture of life in Greenland; social problems and the negative aspects of society are often the focus. But how does this relate to the fact that many say that they are satisfied with life? Are there some things that society values more highly?


Quote: “What is considered a good life in Greenland? Why and how can one be satisfied or even very satisfied with a society that is experiencing a number of welfare problems?”

Laura Helene Rasmussen

Paasisavut finalist Laura Helene Rasmussen, Arctic Hub, Greenland research

University: University of Copenhagen, Center for Permafrost


Title on PhD project: Nitrate movement in the permafrost landscape affected by snow redistribution


Subject: Nitrate movement in the Greenlandic tundra


In short: What are the consequences of the continued warming in Greenland? Laura looks at the evolution of nitrogen in the tundra through summer and winter, now and in the future. The big question for the future is: will the tundra release more CO2 from its permafrost than it absorbs through plants?


Quote: “You can’t see it, but in the tundra soil under your feet, a vicious battle of life and death is being fought between bacteria, fungi, and plants.”

Elizabeth Cooper

Paasisavut finalist Elizabeth Cooper, Arctic Hub, Greenland research

University: Copenhagen Business School


Title on PhD project: Towards a Sustainable Cruise Tourism Industry: Changing Tourist Behaviour in the Ports of Greenland


Subject: Sustainable cruise ship tourism in Greenland


In short: How can you ensure that tourism from the many cruise ships that dock in Greenland develops sustainably? Is it possible to improve human behavior and the interaction between the visitors and the locals?


Quote: “The cruise ship tourism industry is notorious for its negative environmental effects. However, it accounts for approximately 50 percent of Greenland’s total tourism.”