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Published: 2021-12-30

Climate Impacts Research Centre receives donation of SEK 2 million

NEWS A private donation of two million kronor has been bequeathed to the Climate Impacts Research Centre (CIRC) at Umeå University, which conducts field research in Abisko. "You become overjoyed,” says research centre director Jan Karlsson about the gift.

Text: Jonas Lidström

A private individual has chosen to bequeath two million kronor to Umeå University. The donor has stated that the money should go to climate research, after which the university's vice-chancellor and donation committee have decided to distribute the entire sum to the Climate Impacts Research Centre (CIRC).

CIRC conducts interdisciplinary research from detailed process-level studies to comprehensive landscape-level studies in both aquatic and terrestrial Arctic ecosystems. Around 40 researchers are affiliated with the centre, whose activities are mostly conducted at the Abisko Scientific Research Station in northwestern Lapland.

A great sense humility and gratitude

”It is incredibly gratifying that Umeå University has received such a large donation, and that it has gone to climate research which is one of our priority areas for donations,” says Per Ragnarsson, Deputy University Director and contact person for gifts and donations.

CIRC is led by research director Jan Karlsson, professor of natural geography who specialises in aquatic biochemistry. He says that the news of the donation made him very surprised and happy – to be able to receive and manage an endowment from an individual donor is something special:

“You become overjoyed and feel a great sense of humility and gratitude that an individual has paid attention to our research and been willing to donate a large sum of money to the research centre,” says Jan Karlsson.

A sign of how climate issues affect communities

Per Ragnarsson, contact person for gifts and donations, says that it is very common for gifts to Umeå University to be directed to a special area. The most common example is that donations are directed toward research on various diseases.

As a climate researcher, Jan Karlsson has for many years noticed a growing interest from the public in his research area:

“By and large, I have observed a very large interest. Climate issues, the conditions in northern Sweden and especially in the mountain areas affect many,” says Jan Karlsson. “Today, no one asks what climate change is due to, but they are mainly interested in what effects it has now and in the future.”

Contributes to the overall picture of how Arctic environments are affected

When Jan Karlsson is asked to describe the uniqueness of CIRC, he emphasises that the centre creates opportunities for research that are required to achieve national environmental quality goals and global sustainability goals, but which cannot be implemented by individual research projects.

“The research conducted here contributes to a holistic understanding of how Arctic environments are affected by climate change,” he says. “What we specifically focus on is cross-border research that integrates new knowledge in ecology, biogeochemistry and other relevant research areas. The research also has a special emphasis on the connection between terrestrial and aquatic environments.”

Still to be decided how the donation will be used

The decision about the bequeathed millions is still completely new for CIRC director Jan Karlsson.

“Quite naturally, people have already started thinking about all the possible investments we could make. But it will take some time to decide what we should invest in in order to make the best use of the funds, says Jan Karlsson.

Private donations to Umeå University

Umeå University receives gifts in support of research or education. The gifts can come as donations or in the form of inheritances bequeathed to the university. For larger donations, the university can also help the donor set up a foundation to manage the gift.

The person (or persons) who give a donation also state a specific donation purpose. The purpose may be to support Umeå University in general, but the university has also developed a number of donation purposes to which donors can contribute.

These are:

• Democracy research
• Climate research
• Infection research
• Arctic and Sami research
• Financial research
• Cultural research
• Forestry research
• Medical research
• Curiosum
• Bildmuseet

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