Strategic growth areas

"Strategic Growth Areas" (SGA's) are research areas in focus at the Department of Environmental Science. Read below for an overview, or use the lefthand menu for more detailed descriptions.

Besides the SGA's the department has three large internationally recognized research areas (flagships) which define the overall research strategy of the department.


The following strategic growth areas (SGA) have been defined as important research areas on the agenda.

The aim of the SGA's is to conduct excellent research, to facilitate knowledge exchange and to integrate the researchers in large funding applications with colleagues from the department as well as with national and international partners.

The list of strategic growth areas should not be considered static, but can be changed depending on the research agenda at the societal level, as well as on the research environment in the department. Presently eight strategic growth areas have been chosen for further development and growth.

Atmospheric pollution and impacts on human health

Atmospheric pollution is the main environmental factor impacting human health.

The overall research goal of the SGA for Atmospheric Pollution and Human Health is to provide new knowledge that can contribute to fill a substantial knowledge gap on human health effects related to airborne particle pollution. The SGA makes use of state-of-the-art tools for measuring and modelling human exposure to air pollution and combines these with registry data on health effects. The modelling tools are applied for mapping health effects and linking these to socio-economic costs for the society.

Atmospheric pollution is the main environmental factor impacting human Health.  Home page for the SGA.

Climate change, mitigation and adaptation

Climate change mitigation through agreements on regulation of greenhouse gas emissions is an important research area at the Department of Environmental Science. Parts of this research comprise tax and quota regulation, and emphasis is also on the synergies and conflicts that can emerge between greenhouse gas regulation and other policy areas. Also climate change adaptation is an increasingly important research area, including research in optimal adaptation and concrete everyday practices and solutions, in cities as well as in rural environments.

Climate change, mitigation and adaptation. Homepage for the SGA.

Environmental DNA

Based on the strength of research in environmental microbial genomics, the Department of Environmental Science aims to establish key competences and bioinformatics pipelines for studying different environmental DNA. This will integrate and generate sequencing data from different environments. The research will be used broadly at the Faculty of Science and Technology at Aarhus University (AU-ST) to generate knowledge concerning biodiversity, invasive species, climate change effects and anthropogenic effects in general.

Environmental DNA. Home page for the SGA.

Integrated and spatial for environmental management

The Danish spatial data on land use are unique and have provided opportunities to develop integrated spatial models at fine spatial scales, both at Department of Environmental Science as well as in cooperation with national and international partners. Specific focus is on the modelling of ecosystem services as well as modelling and analysis of costs and efficiency of environmental regulation. Management of land and agriculture, water pollution and water resources, nature protection as well as climate and greenhouse gas regulation, have so far been in focus for the modelling efforts.

Integrated and spatial for environmental management. Home page for the SGA.

Removal of environmental pollutants by biological processes

There is high focus on research in chemical and biological transformation and remediation of anthropogenic compounds and their effects on the indigenous life in soil and water. The area is of ever increasing importance with the increasing development of new chemicals and the growing size and welfare of populations with increased pressure on the soil and water resources. The area has potential for attracting national and international funding as well business collaboration.

Removal of environmental pollutants by biological processes  Home page for the SGA.

Resource flows in a circular economy

Recognizing that resources are limited in a global community with increasing population has led to a research and policy agenda on circular resource flows. This involves transformation of production and consumption chains to keep materials circulating in the economy for a longer time, by re-designing industrial, agricultural, transportation and consumption systems, and by encouraging cascading use of materials and waste.

Resource flows in a circular economy  Home page for the SGA.

Sustainable Energy and Environment

There is a need in the society to understand and assess resource and environmental impacts of the historic transition from the present mainly fossil fuel-based economy to a renewable energy economy that calls for cross-disciplinary research in many fields such as energy, environment, health, economics, sociology and public policy etc. There is a good basis for both basic and interdisciplinary collaboration within these research fields together with partners specialized in research in energy systems and technology, transportation and human health impacts.

Sustainable Energy and Environment. Home page for the SGA.

Arctic research

The Arctic environment is vulnerable, and in combination with an increased focus on the exploitation of natural resources in Greenland, a need to further understand the intricasies of the ecosystem functioning of the Arctic environment has been emerging. There is a strong potential to further develop research programs on Artic environmental issues due to the tradition of work in these areas within the Department of Environmental Science, and because the research stations Villum Research Station and Zackenberg are managed from AU Roskilde.

Further information  | Home page of Villum Research Station.