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Nordregio welcomes a new Director

We're happy to welcome Dr. Kjell Nilsson as Nordregio's new Director starting February 1st 2013.

Congratulations on your new job! How do you feel?

Thank you. I am glad and honored that the Nordregio Board of Directors and the Nordic Council of Ministers have given me the trust to lead Nordregio over the next four years. Indeed, I am looking forward to February 1st, 2013, when I will start the new job. In the meantime, I will keep to the background, feeling confident that Nordregio is in the good hands with the present director, and concentrate on finishing my tasks at the Danish Centre for Forest, Landscape and Planning.

What have you been up to so far?

For almost 20 years, I have worked as Head of Department and since 1999 also as Deputy Director of Skov & Landskab, the national Danish centre for research, education and advisory services in the fields of forest and forest products, landscape architecture and landscape management, urban planning and urban design. During this period of time, the centre has developed from a small, locally and practically oriented research unit to an institution with an international reputation in its field, while maintaining close collaboration with the public and private sector in Denmark.

Today, the centre is part of the University of Copenhagen, and has 300 employees and a yearly turnover of about 200 million DKK. From 1995 to 2003, Skov & Landskab was part of the Ministry of Environment as a governmental research institute. As Deputy Director, I was actively involved in a range of the Ministry's management tasks, as well as the implementation of a "knowledge based environmental policy". I have also lead interdisciplinary research projects, both nationally and internationally, e.g. PLUREL (Peri-urban land use relationships - Strategies and sustainability assessment tools for urban-rural linkages) - an integrated project under the 6th EU Framework Program.

Before my employment in Denmark, I was working at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences in Alnarp. I started as a research assistant and PhD student at the Department of Landscape Planning, and ended as a "statskonsulent" at MOVIUM – the Swedish Secretariat for the Outdoor Environment. For a short period, in 1992, I was hired as an expert by the Swedish government on a task regarding a new curriculum for environmental education.

What is your relationship to the Nordic countries?

As a Swedish citizen working as a "grænseganger" in Denmark for almost 20 years, I have plenty of experience with both the costs and the benefits of Nordic integration. There are still many obstacles to overcome, but I am truly engaged in it, and I am convinced of the growing potential for the Nordic countries, by acting together, to play a leading international role, as "the top of Europe", in many fields. Regional policy, urban and rural development, and green growth are certainly such fields.

For the time being, I am directly involved in a project regarding the introduction of a common Nordic evaluation system for greenspace, Green Space Award, and an Interreg IVA project on sustainable tourism in the Sound Region (Öresundsregionen). I have often used Nordic funds, e.g. the Nordic Forest Research Co-operation Committee, as a starting point for developing new, international research initiatives.

What are you looking forward to the most with working at Nordregio?

First of all, I am motivated by the knowledge field in which Nordregio is operating. Becoming a leading European research institute within the field of regional studies is an ambition that I can easily identify with.

Secondly, my preferred form of research is applied or strategic research, like most of the Nordregio research projects are. I enjoy seeing a concrete outcome and the practical implementation of research, as well as cooperation with stakeholders and decision makers.

Thirdly, I consider Nordregio as a very attractive working place: an institution of a feasible size with a fine diversity of nationalities, old and young people, men and women, and a location with outstanding qualities.


 Contact Nordregio about career opportunities

Isabelle Monell

Executive and HR coordinator