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About us

Overall, the Department of Ecoscience is about life. We teach, provide consultancy and conduct research on life, with topics spanning from bacteria to whales, from genes to ecosystems and from basic research to applied biology in nature management and bio technology.

The Department of Ecoscience consists of approximately 275 employees, of which roughly 100 work in Roskilde and the remaining employees in Aarhus at AU Campus. Roskilde has five sections and there are six sections on Campus. Of the approximately 275 employees, around 200 are permanent staff, approximately 15 are Ph.D. students, 20 post docs and roughly 40 are fixed-term employees. Together, we create an exciting and inspiring work and student environment, and we collaborate with Danish and international institutions.

In short, biology is a comprehensive and dynamic subject, rich on new ideas. If you have questions regarding our work, please do not hesitate to contact any of our staff members.

The history of the Department of Ecoscience


The National Environmental Research Institute (NERI) is established in 1989 when the Danish Environmental Protection agency merged its laboratories for marine pollution, freshwater, air pollution, analytical chemistry and the centre for soil ecology. The National Environmental Research Institute is the national environmental research institution and an internationally recognised capacity in the field of strategic research, monitoring and consultancy. The National Environmental Research Institute has three locations in Denmark, headquartered in Roskilde.


NERI becomes part of Aarhus University on 1 January 2007 and becomes be part of the Faculty of Natural Sciences.


In March 2011, the five research groups from the former NERI in Silkeborg, Kalø and Roskilde merge with the Department of Biology, and the Department of Bioscience is formed. As part of the merger, the interdisciplinary coordination - previously handled by the former National Environmental Research Institute - concerning applied research and dissemination in the field of nature and the environment is passed on to a newly established centre at Aarhus University: DCE - Danish Centre for Environment and Energy The centre serves as a gateway for government agencies and institutions, industry, special interest organisations and the public to the academic environments at Aarhus University in the fields of nature, environment and energy. Among other sources, the centre  draws on research from the Department of Bioscience.

The Faculty of Natural Sciences changes its name to Science and Technology.


Aurora, the department's newly built research vessel, is named and put to use on 25 April. The multifunctional vessel and its state-of-the-art equipment is also used for research, monitoring, consultancy and teaching. As part of the course Marine Ecosystems, the biology students go sailing for six days with Aurora (Aurora is now administrated by https://bio.au.dk/). 


A major overhaul of the biology degree programme results in a new teaching structure, and the department develops new courses. In the master's degree programme, students choose between six specialisations, which are based on the department's six research-related areas of strength.


The department establishes an alumni network for former students, employees (past and present) and master's degree students. On 5 April 2018 the university's Main Hall and the Ambulatory are the setting for the very first Alums ' day with about 250 participants.


The faculty is divided into two, respectively, Natural Sciences and Technical Sciences. As a consequence of this division, the Department of Bioscience is divided into respectively The Department of Biology, which is now part of Natural Sciences, and the Department of Bioscience, which is now part of Technical Sciences.


The Department launches a new strategy on 1 October, and the name changes to: Department of Ecoscience.


On 14 March, the move-in to the Campus began from our workplaces in Kalø and Silkeborg. The first two sections from Kalø moved into building 1110, and in June the first section from Silkeborg moved incl. their laboratories 1120. The three sections in 1110 and 1120 have now become the LAND cluster. On 1 October, the last three sections from Silkeborg moved in, and they now belong to 1130 and 1131. These three sections are now called the WATER cluster.

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