Research examples

At the University of Copenhagen, we want to lead the way in providing research that can help the world achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. Below is a series of short videos highlighting research activities underway, that can bring society closer to achieving this.

Some of these activities provide revelations about the ideas and cultural traditions that constrain and enable action. Others focus on how we organise our societies and our economies, and some help us catalyse collective and individual behavioral change. Finally, some of the research activities focus on the development of new technologies that can help us use the Earth’s resources more efficiently.

Taxation on agricultural CO2-emissions (in Danish)

Peter Birch Sørensen, from the Department of Economics, presents the official recommendations for a tax on agricultural emissions, and explains how he and the rest of the Svarer-working group navigated a challenging science-political process.

Governance as a lever regarding Urban and peri-urban development

Natalie Gulsrud, from the Department of Geosciences and Natural Resource Management, calls for a debate of Environmental Justice. Is access to green spaces equal - and is there equal access to the decision-making process when it comes to developing and planning new green spaces?

Further reading:

Innovative urban forestry governance in Melbourne?: Investigating “green placemaking” as a nature-based solution

Green justice in the city: A new agenda for urban green space research in Europe

‘Rage against the machine’? The opportunities and risks concerning the automation of urban green infrastructure

Glacially abraded rock as nutrition source to plants

Geologist Minik Rosing, explains how granite fromunder the Greenland icecap, can work as a source of nutrition when distributed on tropical soils, and how this can contribute to increased food security in the tropics.

Further reading:

Glacially abraded rock flour from Greenland: Potential for macronutrient supply to plants

Mapping glacial rock flour deposits in Tasersuaq, southern West Greenland

Building mountain biodiversity: Geological and evolutionary processes

Former environmental problems as a tool for future work

In this video, historian Bo Fritzbøger talks about how we can look into the past on former environmental problems, as a tool to sustainable development.

Further reading:

Global varmeforurening. Historien om en glemt miljørisiko ca. 1960-85

Influence of historical, geographical and environmental variables on understorey composition and richness in Danish forests

Sustainable food systems for the future 

Christian Bugge Henriksen is a researcher in climate smart agriculture and sustainable food production systemson. In this short video he talks about the transformation of the European food system towards a more low carbon cirkular future.

Further reading:

A Decision Support Model for Assessing the Water Regulation and Purification Potential of Agricultural Soils Across Europe

Multi-Functional Land Use Is Not Self-Evident for European Farmers: A Critical Review

Nitrogen Fertilizer Effects on Pea–Barley Intercrop Productivity Compared to Sole Crops in Denmark

How Climate Change affects ecosystem processes

Riikka Rinnan explores the controls of the exchange of biogenic volatile organic compounds between ecosystems and the atmosphere.

Further reading:

Contrasting responses of major and minor volatile compounds to warming and gall-infestation in the Arctic willow Salix myrsinites

Evidence for large microbial-mediated losses of soil carbon under anthropogenic warming

Synergistic effects of insect herbivory and changing climate on plant volatile emissions in the subarctic tundra

Communities and reduction of carbon foot print

Jens Hoff  is a reseacher in sustainability and climate change governance. In this video he talks about how small changes in our behavior can reduce our carbon foot print.

Further reading:

Barriers and opportunities in developing and implementing a Green GDP

Are vegetables political? The traces of the Copenhagen Food Coop

The Role of Non-State Actors in the Green Transition: Building a Sustainable Future

Insects and sustainable protein

Mickey Gjerris is associate professor in bio-ethics. In this video he talks about ethical perspectives regarding production of insect protein.

International investments in the green transition

Joanna Lam is professor MSO at the Faculty of Law. In this video she talks about her research project ENERGIZE.

Protection of indigenous people in small island states

Miriam Cullen is associate professor at the Faculty of Law. In this video she talks about her research project "Of Islands and Ice".

Urban farming

Kristian Holst Laursen is associate professor at the Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences. In this video he talks about his work on cultivating a sustainable future for cities.