Aarhus University Seal / Aarhus Universitets segl

First Aarhus University science graduate to be educated in Greenland

In close collaboration with Aarhus University, it is now possible to complete a university science degree in Nuuk. The first biologist from Greenland, who was also educated in Greenland, defended his MSc last week at the Greenland Institute of Natural Resources.

2017.02.23 | Peter Bondo Christensen

Mala Broberg studies the habitat conditions for young fish – the unique salmon in the Kapisillit River – a Godthaab Fjord tributary. His studies concluded the first MSc degree in Greenland. Photo: Rasmus Hedeholm

Mala Broberg made history on Thursday 16 February 2017. For the first time ever, a biology student from Greenland defended a Master’s degree in his home country, and has been awarded the title MSc in Biology.

It was obviously a very big day for Mala Broberg, who wrote his thesis on the unique Kapisillit salmon at the head of Godthaab Fjord. It was also a great day for Greenland and a number of young Greenlanders who no longer need to take up residence in Denmark or other countries for many years while completing a science degree.

“It’s a great pleasure that science teaching has already contributed to hatching a graduate from Greenland. Our thanks go to Aarhus University for enabling the exam to be held here in Greenland for the first time. This is not only of benefit to Mala Broberg and his family and friends, but is also of considerable symbolic value for Greenland,” says Director Klaus Nygaard, Greenland Institute of Natural Resources.

Arctic courses in Nuuk

Aarhus University and the Greenland Institute of Natural Resources have had a collaborative agreement since 2015 regarding a number of different Arctic courses for MSc students. The courses are offered by Aarhus University, the University of Manitoba (Canada), and the University of Greenland (Ilisimatusarfik).

The Greenland Institute of Natural Resources hosts the courses, and the teaching takes place in the institute’s laboratories.

During the course of two years, Mala Broberg completed three semesters of his degree at the Greenland Institute of Natural Resources, and was supervised while writing his thesis by Associate Professor Peter Grønkjær, Department of Bioscience, Aarhus University, and Senior Researcher Rasmus Hedeholm, Greenland Institute of Natural Resources.

“Giving it everything you’ve got in an environment where you’re not really happy is an enormous challenge. I belong to Greenland, and this where I got my self-confidence back. The teaching we had in Nuuk was extremely relevant for my future work in the Arctic,” says Mala Broberg.

Targeted efforts pay off

“I’m pleased to see that our long-term collaboration is now bearing fruit. This will definitely motivate more Greenlanders to venture into higher education when it can take place in Greenland,” says Centre Director Søren Rysgaard, Arctic Research Centre, Aarhus University. For seven years, he was a professor at the Greenland Institute of Natural Resources in Nuuk.

“Our idea has always been to ensure that the expertise we build up is also entrenched locally. And it’s great to see that it’s now succeeding,” says Professor Rysgaard.

Education Coordinator Lise Lotte Sørensen, Arctic Research Centre, organises the teaching offers in Nuuk.

“It’s lovely to see that Mala has already finished as the first science graduate to be educated in Greenland. He was a student in the first course we offered in Nuuk. And I can reveal that Mala will soon be joined by the first female graduate in Greenland,” she says.

A number of specialists from institutions including Aarhus University, the Greenland Institute of Natural Resources and the University of Manitoba teach at these courses, and several Danish students go to Nuuk to attend the courses on Arctic ecology.

Associate Professor Lars Chresten Lund Hansen, Arctic Research Centre, Aarhus University, is responsible for the Sea Ice Ecology course, and new students from countries including Australia, Finland, Iceland and Germany are currently enrolled.

“It’s become relatively easy for the students to study Arctic conditions around Nuuk because our course offer also includes accommodation for the students while they’re staying in Nuuk,” says Lise Lotte Sørensen.

For more information, please contact

Senior Researcher and Education Coordinator Lise Lotte Sørensen
+45 3018 3119

Professor and Centre Director Søren Rysgaard
+45 2464 3206

Public / media, Staff