Flagships

The Department of Environmental Science has three large internationally recognized research areas ("flagships") which define the overall research strategy of the department.

Read below for an overview.

In addition to the flagships the department has defined eight "Strategic Growth Areas" within the research of the department. See Strategic growth areas.

Atmospheric Pollution research flagship

The research flagship Atmospheric Pollution studies the physical, chemical and biological processes in the atmosphere governing inorganic, organic and biological environmental constituents.

Further, the research includes how these constituents affect health, environment and climate in different parts of the world, but mainly in Denmark, Europe and the Arctic environment.

The activities include field experimental work, monitoring, atmospheric modelling and integrated assessment.

The research areas and general aims of the flagship are to:

  • Assess human exposure to harmful atmospheric inorganic, organic and biological pollutants including quantification of impacts on human health and their socio-economic effects.
  • Assess exposure of the environment to atmospheric pollutants including atmospheric deposition to nature and the exchange between atmosphere and other media.
  • Emission inventories of atmospheric pollutants and their spatial and temporal distribution.
  • Understand the interactions between atmospheric pollutants and climate change.

Environmental contaminents research flagship

The release of chemical and biological contaminants to the environment is a key area in environmental research..

By focussing on the persistence, transformation, consequences and effect of chemical and biological contaminants it is possible to evaluate the possible risk induced by these contaminants.

Exposure of contaminants has consequences for environment and health, including contamination of resources (water, air, soil, food). It is therefore essential to track exposure sources, transformation routes as well as the exposure-effect couplings. 

The research area also includes development of effective ways to reduce emissions of contaminants, both chemical and biological. 

The research areas and general aims of the flagship are to:

  • Develop and understand bioremediation and transformation kinetics/processes of organic pollutants.
  • Investigate the presence, evolution and persistence of pathogenic bacteria and antibiotic resistance in the environment.
  • Evaluate and elucidate the risk and fate of organic contaminants from sources to effects, including in a spatial perspective.
  • Develop and understand resource management. Responsible recirculation of resources (water, air, soil, food, waste) to benefit economy and health.

Ecosystem Services

Ecosystem services are the contributions that ecosystems make to human well-being, including provision of food and fiber, regulation of the biosphere and cultural services..

Combining primarily ecology, geography, econiomics and other social science disciplines increases the understanding of how management of ecosystems influences ecological processes, and in turn the services humans derive. 

These ecological processes are spatially structured, and the mapping of the services and the development of them is therefore an important part of the research. The ecosystem service concepts and the spatially explicit ecosystem services models are internationally recognized. They are built on cross-disciplinary collaboration, and the development helps initiating science-policy platforms on biodiversity and ecosystem services.

The research flagship is mainly based on expertise in the department sections Environmental Social Science and Emission Modelling and Environmental Geography, who are developing concepts and models in cooperation with national and international partners.

The research areas and general aims of the flagship are to:

  • Understand the environmental and social processes underpinning ecosystem services.
  • Develop valuation methodologies to evaluate the effects on human well-being of changes in ecosystem service.
  • Develop spatial modelling approaches to study changes in ecosystem services.
  • Develop spatial economic models to analyze the provision of ecosystem services and the synergies and conflicts between ecosystem services.
  • Understand the pros & cons of alternative policy instruments to govern ecosystem services.