Aarhus University prepares for the biggest disruption

The official inauguration of iClimate – Aarhus University’s new strategic research centre in Roskilde – was attended by 170 guests. Here it was made clear that iClimate will focus on what is probably the biggest disruption of all – climate change – and embrace such important research fields that we will all be affected.

2017.12.07 | Rasmus Rørbæk

Chair of the Aarhus University Board Connie Hedegaard provided the 170-strong turnout with food for thought, and pointed out the importance of the work iClimate is faced with. (Photo: Rasmus Rørbæk)

Dean Niels Chr. Nielsen stressed the importance of the collaboration undertaken by iClimate to counteract what is probably the biggest disruption we are faced with – climate change. (Photo: Rasmus Rørbæk)

Centre Director Jørgen Brandt made it clear that by establishing iClimate, a centre has been created to take a holistic approach to in-depth knowledge and solution-oriented initiatives in climate research. (Photo: Rasmus Rørbæk)

“We’ll no doubt all come to feel the climate here in this room,” was the festive comment among those attending the event, when almost 170 guests gathered in the reception room at the Department of Environmental Science in Roskilde. The air here also became somewhat close, but the rising temperature just made the day’s event even more relevant – the opening of the iClimate research centre.

“Aarhus University is ready to take on its share of the responsibility to create the necessary foundation to counteract the impact of climate change on business and society. We’ve got high ambitions for the future and, in that connection, we’ll form closer ties with the world around us, and create new alliances and partnerships. Climate change is significant for virtually all industries and areas, and could almost be called the biggest disruption we’re faced with.

With iClimate, I hope that we can provide business and society with access to the latest knowledge and leading research, as well as an opportunity to develop solutions to help us face a future with climate change,” said Dean Niels Chr. Nielsen. He initiated the setting up of the interdisciplinary research centres at Aarhus University in socially important areas.

iClimate is the sixth strategic research centre at Science and Technology, and its full name is the Interdisciplinary Centre for Climate Change. The centres are being established at Science and Technology in 2017 to ensure interdisciplinary research collaboration, and cooperation with the business sector, municipalities and regions.

In recent years, there has also been increasing focus on climate-related issues in the Danish world of research. A large part of the work to date has consisted of understanding and describing the changed climate conditions, and has focused to a limited extent on the accompanying challenges, including opportunities for limiting the impact of human-induced changes.

iClimate will focus to a great extent on more solution-oriented approaches to these challenges, with a solid foothold in the accumulated knowledge. Connie Hedegaard, chair of the Aarhus University Board, used the occasion to point out the importance of the task iClimate is faced with.

“The world needs to break down silos between traditional authorities, especially between knowledge, society and decision-makers regarding climate change. Together, we must find more solution-oriented directions. iClimate is therefore so important because that’s exactly the aim here. To convert knowledge to action is crucially important now, where we can sense how rapidly climate change is taking place.

Climate change is so important that it affects us all. We hope you’ll help the rest of us to take the first step, based on the in-depth knowledge you represent. Congratulations on the new centre,” said Connie Hedegaard.

The chair of the board was backed up by Centre Director and Professor Jørgen Brandt, who has the task of gathering and focusing the fields of research affiliated with iClimate. For many years, Denmark has been a pioneer country in climate research, and Aarhus University has positions of strength with internationally leading research groups. In collaboration with society and companies, iClimate will now provide even more support for a sustainable future.

“I can remember how I collected press cuttings in my early career in 1985 and, even then, there was scarcely a day when climate change wasn’t mentioned. If you look at the media today, the picture is largely the same. Here there is talk about the global temperature being the highest ever recorded, and you sense an increased awareness of our need to do something about it.

That’s what we’re doing by setting up this centre. It’s no longer relevant to ask whether climate change is taking place – now it’s only a question of how much, when and how it will affect different aspects of our lives around the world.

To borrow a line from the famous Canadian author Margaret Atwood, it’s possibly wrong to mention it simply as climate change – because the fact that it changes everything means that it interferes with all aspects of our lives and our livelihoods. There’s therefore a need for this centre, which takes a holistic look at all aspects of the impact and development of climate change, and studies adaptation opportunities and other possible solutions that are available to society, industry and the political sphere,” said Professor Brandt.

Read more about the centre here.

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