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Ilisimatusarfik strategy 2015-2020


Ilisimatusarfik – University of Greenland – is recognized as an Arctic university that carries out research and education activities focused on arctic cultures, languages, and health and social conditions. Since it was established in 1984, the university has developed an attractive and wide-ranging research environment, and Ilisimatusarfik graduates are in demand. By virtue of its central geographical position in the Arctic and specialization in questions related to Arctic society, health conditions and cultures, Ilisimatusarfik is a university that is promoting development and innovation at a time and in a society in which where there is an acute need for knowledge, growth and long-term solutions. The quality and knowledge regarding research and education that Ilisimatusarfik represents must continue to be relevant to society and reinforced in relation to the challenges facing the country in close dialogue and dynamic cooperation together with the community around it. 

The rapid development of Greenlandic society raises new questions and demands new answers. Ilisimatusarfik is working to create an ever broader range of expertise and a stronger academic environment such that the university can become even better at producing the research and providing the education that is naturally related to Greenland. One of the means by which Ilisimatusarfik will be able to realize this objective is to gather the university in a strong, single campus area.  

On the basis of Ilisimatusarfik’s existing strengths, the strategy for the years 2015–20 states five objectives:

  1. Ilisimatusarfik will improve the quality of its education programmes and promote new programmes
  2. Ilisimatusarfik will strengthen its research and advisory function for the benefit of Greenland and the Arctic community
  3. Ilisimatusarfik will promote the interaction and cooperation between the university’s academic disciplines
  4. Ilisimatusarfik will promote the internationalization of students and faculty
  5. Ilisimatusarfik will guarantee a focus on talent development


Objective 1: Ilisimatusarfik will improve the quality of its education programmes and promote new programmes

Ilisimatusarfik’s graduates are in demand, and they contribute to the labour market in Greenland with value-added skills and new knowledge. In order to guarantee the quality and international level of the Ilisimatusarfik education programmes and to ensure that our graduates possess the skills that are in demand in the labour market, Ilisimatusarfik will:

  • adopt and implement policy on quality that can be applied with respect to accreditation and as an objective regarding social relevance and the demands of society.
  • organize and strengthen closer, more formal collaboration together with the prospective employers of Ilisimatusarfik graduates in the form of seminars with public and private enterprises as well as ensuring that all of the degree programmes are in ongoing contact with these actors.
  • revise the teacher training in such a manner that the prospective employers and the demands raised by society regarding these degree programmes are met as a step towards considerably improving public elementary school performance.
  • establish a forum for cooperation with secondary schools aimed at solving transition-related problems and focusing on the exchange of knowledge, development and coordination of new academic initiatives.
  • ensure a stronger focus on the application and use of distance learning through courses and workshops and via cooperation together with other universities.
  • work to be able to offer full-time graduate degree programmes in extension of the existing bachelor degree programmes, including specialization in Arctic nature, health and community, by working together with Danish and international universities.
  • strengthen the study of the law within the social sciences.
  • establish a programme offering a bachelor’s degree in the natural sciences.
  • strengthen the continued pedagogical development, particularly with respect to student-activating teaching.
  • strengthen the students’ competencies and prerequisites for successful studies by encouraging them to become proficient in other languages, offering language courses in Danish, Greenlandic and English, as well as courses in study techniques and academic writing skills.

Objective 2: Ilisimatusarfik will strengthen its research and advisory function for the benefit of Greenland and the Arctic community

Greenland could use a boost to its innovative capacity and increased scientific activity in Greenlandic society. Ilisimatusarfik is working to expand the academic breadth in relation to the needs of the society in Greenland and the available resources.

As one of the most important institutions in Greenlandic society, Ilisimatusarfik is aiming to continue to inject its knowledge into an increased dialogue and exchange with the civil society, business community and organizations in Greenland for the benefit of the country and the Arctic community in general, just as the dissemination of knowledge and participation in the public debate are to increasingly be an integrated part of Ilisimatusarfik’s contribution to the world around it.  

Ilisimatusarfik will strengthen its research position by:

  • formulating research strategies for all of its institutes and departments.
  • organizing increased cooperation and exchange with the business community and institutions.
  • ensuring increased exchange between researchers, the research education programmes and other education programmes together with the respective areas in society in which graduates will be seeking employment.
  • ensuring that all of the degree programmes have sufficient faculty to ensure and strengthen the academic quality and that all of the departments have Ph.D. students associated with them.
  • exploiting the increased international focus on the Arctic and working together with other research institutions in order to strengthen the profile of Greenland and the university.
  • strengthening the communication with and dissemination of knowledge to the community surrounding the university in order to ensure the better exploitation of the knowledge produced by Ilisimatusarfik.
  • exploiting Greenland’s unique position in the international work on indigenous rights.

Objective 3: Ilisimatusarfik will promote the interaction and cooperation between the university’s academic disciplines

The world of the present and the future is facing multiple and complex challenges that increase the need for Ilisimatusarfik to seek out new paths and thinking across the boundaries that traditionally divide academic disciplines. In order to come up with new solutions, there is a need for a stronger Ilisimatusarfik characterized by robust interdisciplinary collaboration.

Ilisimatusarfik is working to support the creation of new opportunities for academic development in research and education by:

  • supporting interdisciplinary research initiatives via the Ilisimatusarfik Strategic Research and Development Pool.
  • consolidating an interdisciplinary research centre; the Centre for Children-, Youth, and Family research.
  • establishing a Centre for Society and Natural Resources, including a professorship in the social sciences in the oil and gas area as well as participating in the EU-financed research and innovation programmes.
  • consolidating the Greenland Perspective collaboration.
  • ensuring the academic coordination of the degree programmes, taking into account the academic progression of the individual programmes.
  • working to be able to establish a comprehensive campus area in order to meet the current and future research- and education-related aspirations and needs. The objective is to construct new buildings in order to be able to bring Ilisimatusarfik’s education activities together, including a Students House, small gym, hotel for guest researchers and so forth.

Objective 4: Ilisimatusarfik will promote the internationalization of students and faculty

Ilisimatusarfik is an internationally oriented Arctic university and is actively engaged in numerous international partnerships and forums. The exchange of knowledge, ideas and solutions are key elements for any university.

Ilisimatusarfik will continue to improve the framework for the internationalization of students and faculty by:

  • increasing efforts to inform and advise students about exchange opportunities.
  • engaging in and ensuring the follow-up on partnerships with foreign institutions on semesters abroad, degree programmes and research programmes.
  • encouraging and providing support to the students and faculty to travel to participate in study activities and conferences.
  • giving faculty opportunity to collect ’teaching-free’ semesters to be able to carry out research abroad and ensure that the plans of faculty for research abroad and international collaboration in general is included in the annual employee appraisal interviews (MedarbejderUdviklingsSamtaler—MUS).
  • working together with other universities to establish more so-called ’shared positions’.
  • providing accommodations for researchers and students in Nuuk in cooperation with other institutions.
  • removing the barriers that are discouraging international students from coming to Ilisimatusarfik to study.
  • encouraging students and faculty to publish internationally.

Objective 5: Ilisimatusarfik will guarantee a focus on talent development

A well-functioning research education programme is significant for the further development of the university. Ilisimatusarfik is working to attract and retain the best research talent and offer attractive careers for the benefit of the development of the national capacity and Arctic research in general.

Ilisimatusarfik will create the framework for early talent development by:

  • Promoting the recruitment of Greenlandic students to the Ph.D. programme.
  • Increasing the number of co-funded Ph.D. scholarships.
  • Strengthening the Ph.D. area by organizing a graduate school with a strong Ph.D. programme.
  • Ensuring that good student projects are disseminated to the community and supporting the publication of bachelor’s and master’s degree theses in scientific journals.
  • Strengthening the degree programmes and project participation in collaboration with the business community and institutions/organizations.

Conditions for the strategic development of Ilisimatusarfik

The basis for the further development of Ilisimatusarfik requires the fulfilment of the strategic objectives presented above and ensuring that the university is both an attractive workplace for faculty and place of study for students, which demands that the organization continues to focus on:

  • being a development-oriented organization with quality-conscious employees and a focus on the professional/academic development of the Ilisimatusarfik faculty.
  • promoting a good management culture focused on participation, accountability and visible leadership.
  • actions that promote a healthy research, teaching and study environment.
  • having a good physical and infrastructural framework.
  • having well-functioning services that support the academic priorities.
  • ensuring transparent decision-making processes.
  • Maintaining an awareness regarding resources and allocating funds to development initiatives as well as attracting new resources that can support sustainable development.


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