Aarhus University Seal / Aarhus Universitets segl

About us

Ecoscience is about life in all respects. We teach, provide consultancy and research in life; right from bacteria to whales over genes to ecosystems and from basic research to applied biology in nature management and biotechnology.

Department of Ecoscience has approximately 275 staff, just over 100 working in Roskilde,  nearly 110 in Silkeborg and nearly 60 in Kalø. Five sections are located in Roskilde, four in Silkeborg and two in Kalø. Out of the 275 staff, nearly 200 are permanent employees, just over 15 are PhD students and nearly 20 Post Docs. Nearly 40 are other fixed-term employees. In addition, we collaborate very closely with other Departments organised under the Faculty of Technical Sciences which has resulted in many new exciting opportunities within the research and when combining biology with, i.e. computer science, geoscience or molecular biology and genetics.

In short, biology is a broad and lively subject in which new ideas tickles out. If you have any questions regarding our research or teaching activities, please do not hesitate to contact anyone 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, moving into the Campus from the locations in Kalø and Silkeborg begins. The first two sections from Kalø into building 1110, and from mid-May, the sections from the Silkeborg location will start moving to buildings 1120, 1130 and 1131 on Campus. The move is expected to be completed by the summer.

AU Pictures ©