22 March 2023

New department head at Geosciences and Natural Resource Management


Senior researcher and head of section, PhD Vivian Kvist Johannsen will take up the position as head of department at the University of Copenhagen’s Department of Geosciences and Natural Resource Management beginning 1 May 2023. She brings thirty years of knowledge from research in trees and forestry, as well as seventeen years of management experience.

Vivian Kvist Johannsen
Vivian Kvist Johannsen (credit: Bettina Illemann Larsen)

An enthusiastic forestry student from what was then the Royal Veterinary and Agricultural University was the spark that ignited Vivian Kvist Johannsen's career aspirations. In the spring of 1986, he visited Rønne State School on the Danish island of Bornholm and spoke so enthusiastically about his studies that young Vivian decided on the spot that her destiny was to work with trees and forestry. With this education, she would be able to combine three elements that were essential to her: the natural sciences, societal relevance and people.

It has all come to fruition. Since completing her graduate degree in 1993, Kvist Johannsen has worked with trees and forestry, and mighty oaks in particular. She has researched growth and forest development and, together with her colleagues, established the National Forest Inventory (NFI) . Since 2006, she has also headed various department sections.

On May 1, she will take up her position as head of one of the largest departments at the University of Copenhagen’s Faculty of Science. Here, she will be in charge of nearly 400 employees, more than 2,000 students and 150  PhD students.

Research and education are part of the solution

The department combines unique knowledge, research and instruction in areas ranging from volcanoes to cell walls and from ecosystems to global challenges. As such, Vivian Kvist Johannsen considers this a very special opportunity to make a positive societal contribution.

"The Department of Geosciences and Natural Resource Management has a broad academic profile in its basic research, is deeply engaged with interdisciplinary work and is concerned with linking research to things that can be concretely applied in society and the department’s wide scope of instruction. This means that we can make a substantial contribution to, for example, sustainable development and green solutions in society, both in Denmark and globally," says Vivian Kvist Johannsen. In addition to academics, she also has ambitions for the department as a workplace.

Vivian Kvist Johannsen
Credit: Bettina Illemann Larsen

"The department's employees are incredibly skilled in their respective fields. It is clear to me that if our ability to deliver solid research, instruction and administration is to continue, we must thrive ourselves. As such, another focal point for me will be to ensure for the well-being of all staff and students. We should be happy to go to work and study – and be proud of delivering instruction and results that benefit society," says Vivian Kvist Johannsen.

Faculty of Science Dean Katrine Krogh Andersen looks forward to working with Kvist Johannsen:

"Vivian’s managerial experience is extensive after many years as a head of section at Department of Geosciences and Natural Resource Management. With a keen eye for the well-being and commitment of staff and students, she is passionate about promoting academic excellence and dedicated to instruction while bringing the department's strong academic competencies ever more into play. I’m really looking forward to welcoming Vivian to the management team at SCIENCE."

Vivian Kvist Johannsen takes the reins from Claus Beier, who over the past eight years has devoted his energies to assembling and developing the merely ten-year-old department. Along the way, he has represented Department of Geosciences and Natural Resource Management in numerous internal and external contexts, most recently the formation of the INNO-CCUS Partnership that is part of the Danish government's four green missions. Claus Beier will continue as a professor at the department.


Vivian Kvist Johannsen
Senior researcher, Head of Section
Department of Geosciences and Natural Resource Management
University of Copenhagen
+4535331699 / +4520300969

Birgitte Lyhne Broksø
Head of Communications
Faculty of Science
University of Copenhagen
+45 29 88 60 01