Inauguration of Denmark’s and Greenland’s most northerly research station

The Villum Research Station in Greenland is set to be officially inaugurated on 8 July 2015. The Arctic research station, which primarily deals with climate research, is located north of the Arctic Circle in the north-eastern corner of Greenland.

2015.06.26 | Janne Hansen

The Villum Research Station in Greenland will be inaugurated on 8 July 2015. Photo: Stephan Bernberg

Approximately two years after the first sod was turned by HRH Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark, the world’s newest and most northerly research station of its kind – the Villum Research Station – will be inaugurated on 8 July 2015.

Attending from Aarhus University are Chairman of the Board Michael Christiansen, Dean Niels Chr. Nielsen, Science and Technology, Professor Henrik Skov, Department of Environmental Science, and Technical Manager Bent Lorenzen, ST Estates Facilities. They will all participate in the official opening in the north-eastern part of Greenland (81°36'N 16°39V) – a mere 924 kilometres south of the North Pole.

The overall aim of the Villum Research Station is to create an advanced platform and research infrastructure that provides scientists from all over the world and across research disciplines with the best possibilities for studying climate change and its effects in the High Arctic.

“The greatest threat to human civilisation is climate change – and not enough has been done about it. This means that we cannot ensure that we stay below a temperature increase of the 2°C that we believed we could adapt to. It’s therefore extremely important to know what happens when the temperature increase surpasses 2°C,” says Professor Henrik Skov, head of the new research station.

Unique facilities

The Villum Research Station has received DKK 70.5 million (EUR 9.3 million) in funding from the VILLUM FOUNDATION. The research station is located at Station Nord, which is the most northerly outpost of the Danish military. The new facilities will be the hub of interdisciplinary research in the effects of climate change on the High Arctic environment, including effects on the atmosphere, sea, ice, geology and biology. The research station is run by Aarhus University. Ownership is managed by the Greenland Institute of Natural Resources on behalf of the Government of Greenland and in an open collaboration with national and international research institutions. Researchers in Arctic conditions from all over the world will thus be able to use the facilities that comprise state-of-the-art laboratories and equipment.

One of the greatest limitations to carrying out research so far north is the lack of well-equipped research facilities. The Villum Research Station will solve this problem to a great degree. It will be possible to carry out land, air and sea research. At the base station located at Station Nord, there are well-equipped laboratories as well as accommodation facilities for up to 14 researchers at a time. Here it will be possible to carry out research into questions regarding air pollution, climate, geology and biological processes in the ecosystems that are located in the neighbourhood of Station Nord.

A mobile station consisting of transportation vehicles, mobile laboratories and tents will make it possible to study air, ground, ice and sea conditions further away from Station Nord. Finally, there is an air station, which consists of drones and ground-based remote sensors. Researchers can use this equipment to investigate the atmosphere at a height of several kilometres and make aerial observations of snow, sea ice and the landscape using remote sensors. The air station is mobile and can be used in several locations and be part of the mobile station.

At present, there are already 1700 overnight bookings for more than 100 researchers from an international community of researchers in Arctic conditions for research in 2015. The first scientists have already arrived and the first research projects have begun. The newly established Arctic Research Centre at Aarhus University and the similarly newly established Arctic Science Partnership – a collaboration between research environments in Denmark, Greenland and Canada – are some of the most important scientist groupings that will be using the new facilities and comprise the lion’s share of the overnight bookings for 2015.

“The research station can contribute in a positive way to strengthening the position of the world-leading research in air pollution undertaken at the Department of Environmental Science. The department’s research in oil degradation in permafrost soils, in collaboration with Defence Command Denmark and the CENPERM (Centre for Permafrost) basic research centre can also benefit from the modern facilities at the research station,” says Head of Department Carsten Suhr Jacobsen, Department of Environmental Science, Aarhus University.

Facts about the Villum Research Station North

Official inauguration: 8 July 2015

Sod-turning: By HRH Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark 2013

Location: At Station Nord, north-east Greenland (81°36'N 16°39V)

Funding from the VILLUM FOUNDATION: DKK 70.5 million (EUR 9.3 million)

Establishment costs: DKK 70.5 million (EUR 9.3 million)

Annual running costs: DKK 5 million (EUR 670,000), which will primarily be covered by user fees

Run by: Aarhus University for the next 10 years

Average temperature: -14°C

The management consists of a daily management board, a scientific coordination board, an international scientific advisory board and an executive committee.

For more information, please contact

Professor Henrik Skov
Department of Environmental Science
Aarhus University
hsk@envs.au.dk
+45 8715 8524

Head of Department Carsten Suhr Jacobsen
Department of Environmental Science
Aarhus University
csj@envs.au.dk
+45 8715 8701, mobile: +45 2537 7667

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