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Ilisimatusarfik's Centre for Arctic Welfare (ICAW) works with contemporary and historical welfare issues. The centre is anchored in both the Institute of Culture, Language & History and the Institute of Society, Economics & Journalism at Ilisimatusarfik to ensure that research and activities in the centre contribute to, and develop in interaction with, the university's other related disciplines and programmes dealing with welfare-related issues.

The aim of ICAW is to provide a framework for research and methodological development in the field of welfare in close collaboration with practice.

In the centre, we do this as a professional community that counts / consists of researchers, thesis students and projects - and in close cooperation with organisations, educational programmes, municipalities, boards and departments.

ICAW hosts a research network, a PhD network, a thesis bank and club - as well as assisting in publishing and disseminating research and theses on welfare-related topics in Arctic environments.

The anchoring of welfare research at Ilisimatusarfik ensures the establishment of an academically broad sustainable Greenlandic research environment focused on welfare through researcher training - as well as the establishment of a solid framework for an inter-institutional network of established researchers in the field.

Work ahead

ICAW will bring together and strengthen Ilismatusarfik's research in welfare-related topics across disciplines and departments.

ICAW will develop applications on welfare-related topics.

ICAW will be a unit that helps external research projects to become anchored at Ilisimatusarfik - as well as contributing to research and student environments at Ilisimatusarfik.

ICAW will offer exciting thesis topics.

ICAW will help promote research and theses in welfare-related topics.


Researchers' Forum

ICAW will provide a professional network through regular meetings / presentations of projects. The centre will offer forums / formats at Ilisimatusarfik to which external projects can contribute (e.g. publication opportunities, thesis offerings, etc.).


Student Involvement

ICAW will create and operate a thesis / internship bank where associated projects and researchers, lecturers at Ilisimatusarfik and external stakeholders (companies, municipalities, associations, etc.) can contribute thesis topics or internships. The thesis / internship bank can be viewed on the website, and is updated regularly. The centre will promote the thesis bank via emails to stakeholders, in connection with events, etc.

As a student, you will have the opportunity to meet other students in the thesis club. There is a thesis club event once a month.

Some of the topics offered are from affiliated research projects. Next to each topic is a list of the student's thesis / internship supervisor.

If you write your thesis at the center, you will have the opportunity to present your thesis at one of the center's seminars. We will also help with ideas on how the student can disseminate the insights from their thesis to a wider audience (e.g. in the form of an article, podcast, etc.).

Researching welfare?

The concept of welfare

In Greenland, welfare can be equated with a publicly funded system that educates the population, provides health care and focuses on those who cannot manage on their own.

In this respect, Greenland's welfare society is similar to that of Scandinavia. However, there are significant differences in welfare levels and in the understanding of what is meant when we talk about welfare.

In his May Day speech in 2020, then Prime Minister Kim Kielsen wanted more welfare for everyone in Greenland - and in the last general elections in 2021, Aaja Chemnitz Larsen said that this time Greenlandic voters were voting for more welfare. During a meeting at Kofoeds Skole in Nuuk with the Greenland Committee of the Danish Parliament, Aki Mathilde made the connection between welfare and the elderly population's ability to eat Greenlandic food as part of their everyday lives.

ICAW puts research and debate on the concept of welfare in the Arctic on the agenda. We will research how we understand the concept of welfare, how it has been shaped historically and how it is applied politically.

Welfare research is therefore wide-ranging, and can address many different facets of the welfare state, and the everyday lives lived within it. For example, research on the health of the elderly, research on disability and research on inclusion in the labour market are all welfare themes that can be illuminated in different ways and provide insights into everything from societal structures to everyday life.

Projects & collaborations


  • Street-level social work in two Arctic Cities


Related projects

  • KI-Camps