Rosing was recognized with the 100,000 euro award for his idea that proposes to use glacial rock flour to reduce atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations, improve global food security, and bring new business opportunities to Greenland.
Tell us about the journey leading up to winning this award. How did the initiative get started, and what sparked your curiosity about it?
In 2014 I initiated a broad interdisciplinary research project including several universities and research institutions across Greenland, Denmark, Norway and Iceland. The purpose was to test the realism of a large boom of optimism; that exploitation of ores, oil and gas would provide a viable road towards economic independence for Greenland. The conclusion was that even the most optimistic scenario could only partly replace the Danish block grant that provides about half of Greenland's public budget.
This conclusion inspired me to search for unconventional avenues of diversification of Greenland's economy based on aspects of Greenland that are unique or rare, and that address real global needs. In other words, my curiosity was driven by the search for solutions to global problems that could, at the same time, benefit Greenland.
The world is in desperate need of solutions to the climate crisis and the accelerating shortage of food to sustain a growing world population. Greenland holds the only ice sheet in the northern hemisphere. Anywhere you walk in Greenland, you will meet extensive deposits of a sticky grey mud, derived from the melting ice sheet. It may not seem intuitive, but the rather un-charming mud can actually help mitigate both crises.
Food shortage in any country is mostly due to agricultural soils being depleted in mineral nutrients. All these minerals are present in the Greenlandic mud. The nutrients can be released to growing plants, and they will provide better yields of crops when applied to fields. Here, it reacts with carbonic acid from the rain. During this process, minerals in the mud bind carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, and thus help mitigate global warming.
How will the award help you advance your winning initiative?
The award helps in a plethora of ways. The recognition and trust of the Award committee, the UArctic team, and the personal engagement of Dr Frederik Paulsen are a great inspiration. The money will be used to provide research-based knowledge, to ensure that future commercialization of the glacial rock flour from the mud will provide a positive impact on the Greenland society, which is aligned with national visions for the future development of Greenland.
How do you plan to use the UArctic network in implementing your idea?
The UArctic network includes Ilisimatusarfik/University of Greenland, and can help provide the broader Arctic context, and also make sure that synergies with other innovation initiatives in the Arctic can be applied to and strengthen Arctic research and innovation community in general.
Watch the short video where Minik Rosing explains in more detail how the glacial rock flour - or the mud - works:
The Frederik Paulsen Arctic Academic Action Award provides high-level recognition for innovative ideas that transform knowledge into action to help address the impacts of climate change in the Arctic. The prize comes with a 100,000 euro unrestricted grant that is intended to help develop the ideas through outreach, engagement, and communication.