Arctic Oil and Gas Research Centre

Arctic Oil and Gas Research Centre

About the Arctic Oil & Gas Research Centre

The Arctic Oil and Gas Research Centre was opened at Ilisimatusarfik (the University of Greenland) on 16th March 2016. The Centre´s directors are Professor Anne Merrild Hansen and Professor Rachael Lorna Johnstone. It operates within the Institute of Social Sciences, Economics and Journalism at Ilisimatusarfik.  

The Centre aims to examine the social and economic impacts of oil and gas activities in the Arctic with an emphasis on Greenland; to establish a Greenland-based network of experts in the field; and to provide relevant and practical insights that can assist local communities, NGOs and decision-makers as they select, plan, design and develop projects. The Centre will disseminate its research findings widely, both through traditional peer-reviewed publications and through a website with information, in popular science format, in English, Greenlandic and Danish on the Centre’s activities and core findings. 


The directors´ salaries are initially funded through a three-year grant from the Mineral Licence and Safety Authority (MLSA) which is administered through Ilisimatusarfik. Companies holding exclusive licences for exploration for and exploitation of hydrocarbons in Greenland make payments to the MLSA in light of agreements regarding capacity building in their respective licenses. 

The directors and researchers work entirely independently of the MLSA and the oil companies. The MLSA and oil companies do not direct the research agenda or approve any research findings. The researchers are also seeking additional external funding from competitive grant bodies to facilitate expansion of the Centre´s activities.

Organisation of the Centre

The directors of the Arctic Oil and Gas Research Centre steer the research agenda, manage and coordinate the centre´s activities, fundraise to support projects, and develop the strategy of the centre in consultation with the Centre´s members. They will reach out to non-academic stakeholders and seek their contributions to the research activities. These include representatives from industry, community representatives, NGOs, government and others in the policy realm. The directors also supervise graduate theses, teach students, and contribute to curriculum development at Ilisimatusarfik.

Members of the centre are recruited from Ilisimatusarfik and closely associated institutions in Greenland. Members of the centre will range from doctoral students to well-established scholars. The members meet regularly with the directors, contribute to the strategic planning of the centre and identification of research priorities, cooperate on research projects and funding applications, and assist in organisation and participation in the centre's symposia and other activities.

Associate researchers and associate institutions are affiliated to the Arctic Oil and Gas Research Centre. They are selected on the basis of their contribution to relevant research from around the Arctic and beyond. They will contribute actively to the centre´s activities, for example, cooperating in specific research projects, funding applications, symposia, conferences and joint publications or edited collections. They may also be involved in co-supervision of graduate students or delivery of teaching. Associate institutions may contribute to co-financing of research projects and activities that support the centre.

An international network of experts on Arctic Oil and Gas will be fostered by the Centre. It will include interested researchers working on the economic and social implications of hydrocarbon activities in the Arctic. The network will include researchers at all levels, from graduate students onwards. It will be interdisciplinary, seeking researchers in a wide range of academic fields, including: economics; political science; social anthropology; law; international relations; and critical geography.