Facilitating increased engagement between the research communities of Greenland and the U.S.

August 27-28, 2018 | Nuuk, Greenland | NSF Award #1837806

Lauren E. Culler, Sten Lund, Josephine Nymand, and Ross A. Virginia

Download the complete PDF of the report.


The Greenland and U.S. research communities invest substantial resources towards understanding global processes, environmental change, and social-cultural issues in Greenland. As the need for this research intensifies along with the rate of Arctic change, both research communities seek new and stronger bilateral collaborations that leverage resources and expertise held by researchers, stakeholders, and community members. The production of new knowledge through these collaborations along with increased community engagement and student education will place the U.S. and Greenland at the cutting edge of Arctic research. It will strengthen U.S.-Greenland relations and prepare a future generation for taking on the challenge of navigating the new Arctic.

A two-day workshop was held 27-28 August 2018 at Pinngortitaleriffik (Greenland Institute of Natural Resources, GINR), in Nuuk, Greenland, where diverse participants from the U.S. (19) and Greenland (29) research communities explored possibilities for strengthening U.S.-Greenland collaborations. Participants set priorities for future work and funding related to: Research & Co-Production of Research, Public Outreach, and Education & Student Training. This workshop report captures many thoughtful, creative, and overwhelmingly enthusiastic ideas and recommendations for improving the way that the U.S. and Greenland researchers collaborate on important Arctic projects.

The key finding from the workshop was that U.S.-Greenland collaborations will strengthen if researchers work together intentionally and continuously. This includes starting collaborations early to co-define project questions and objectives and allowing adequate time to develop trusted partnerships with defined roles. The report contains specific ideas, mechanisms, and contacts that we hope will be helpful to U.S. and Greenland researchers as they consider the following recommendations in their future work:

  • Host workshops, symposia, and scholar exchanges year-round that bring researchers together in person
  • U.S. universities with significant research presence in Greenland should pursue self-funding for workshops and student and scholar exchanges
  • Use online networks and websites to describe research projects based in Greenland and seek collaborations
  • Co-develop research priorities, codes of conduct and best practices for collaboration and research co-production
  • Engage potential research partners and Greenland communities early and often during research
  • Make public outreach and training of U.S. and Greenland students an explicit goal of all research projects

Research in Greenland is of substantial relevance to Greenland society and will continue to shape our understanding of global processes and rapid Arctic change. The representatives of the U.S. and Greenland research communities present at the Nuuk workshop acknowledged that we can do better research by working together, considering more diverse perspectives as we conduct our research, articulating the benefits of research to Greenland society, and training the next generation in a collaborative framework. We are excited that the workshop has already led to the development of joint proposals, revised project plans related to education and outreach, and plans for future events that will emphasize the growth and potential of U.S.-Greenland collaborations on Arctic research. We hope that this report is helpful to the broader Arctic research community and will help funding agencies understand the opportunities and challenges of interdisciplinary and international collaborative research in Greenland.

Photo: Lars Demant-Poort
Photo: Lars Demant-Poort
Photo: Bo Gregersen


We wish to thank the following for their direct support of this workshop: Naalakkersuisut (the Government of Greenland), the U.S. National Science Foundation (award #1837806 to L.E. Culler and R.A. Virginia); Pinngortitaleriffik (the Greenland Institute of Natural Resources) for meeting space and their active participation; Kalaallit Nunaanni Ilisimatusarnermut Siunnersuisoqatigiit (the Greenland Research Council); the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA); the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (SAO), and CH2MHill Polar Services. We thank all participants for their willingness to be in Nuuk and dedicate their time to this important workshop. We thank Mitdlarak Lennert for translating the report from English to Greenlandic.