University Post
University of Copenhagen
Independent of management


New Geosciences head to foster academic discussions

Manager — Vivian Kvist Johannsen is to head the Department of Geosciences and Natural Resource Management from 1 May. At a time when the climate and the environment face challenges, she says one of her most important tasks is to help make sure everyone can make sustainable decisions.

Who is she?

Vivian Kvist Johannsen has been employed at the University of Copenhagen (UCPH) since she graduated with a master’s in forestry in 1993. She has 17 years of experience in management. But she still, mostly, sees herself as a forestry scientist.

»My expertise comes from forestry, and I have been involved in research into the growth of trees and the dynamics of forests as carbon sinks and habitats for biodiversity,« says Vivian Kvist Johannsen.

She has had her best scientific discussions with colleagues from UCPH about forests, and what the different land areas can be used for. This topic will often lead to debate at a department where many fields of expertise are represented: From fundamental geology, to trees, genetics, social sciences, landscape architecture, population flows and cultural changes.

»Everyone has their own focus and priorities, and it is therefore a challenge to be able to accommodate the differences. But I want to make space for this,« says Vivian Kvist Johannsen.

Why am I reading about her now?

Vivian Kvist will take up the position as Head of the Department of Geosciences and Natural Resource Management at the University of Copenhagen on 1 May.

Now it is her turn to manage the large department at the Faculty of Science.

Vivian Kvist Johannsen’s has a vision that all of her 450 scientists and 150 PhD students are happy to go to work. Both for their sakes and for the sake of the world outside the department.

»My task as manager is to create a space that frees up the potential of all the researchers. This is so that society gets access to knowledge that will let it make sustainable decisions at a time when the environment and the climate are at the top of the political agenda,« says Vivian Kvist Johannsen.

Where have I heard about this person before?

Vivian Kvist Johannsen helped put Denmark on the forestry statistics map. She was involved in the 2002 launch of the NFI – National Forest Inventory (Danmarks Skovstatistik). She still works on this task every now and then, reporting on the state of the forests, and the trends within them.

She is also a part of the Green Solution Center, which brings researchers together across the University of Copenhagen to develop durable and research-based solutions. This is done in close collaboration with private and public institutions, NGOs, and students.

As a UCPH employee, she has participated in many interdisciplinary initiatives related to research, infrastructure and teaching.

»I have been a mentor on the University of Copenhagen’s programme for postdocs and assistant professors, and it has been inspiring for me to meet young researchers from many different faculties and departments in a dialogue about research and career,« says Vivian Kvist Johannsen.

She is married and has three children. When she has time off, she is with her family.

What should I do now?

You can read about the Forestry Council, which gives advice to the Minister for the Environment on forests and forestry, where Vivian Kvist Johannsen has been a member since 2004.

If you are a student, you can be a part of the alumni network IGNsyn for insights into the latest research. You can also check out the Department of Geosciences and Natural Resource Management on LinkedIn.