Skip to main content
EU Green Week


Professor in biological oceanography


KR is a professor in biological oceanography at the University of Copenhagen, leader of the Sustainability Science Centre (, a principle investigator in the Center for Macroecology, Evolution and Climate (, and Leader of theQueen Margrethe’s and Vigdís Finnbogadóttir´s Interdisciplinary Research Centre on Ocean, Climate, and Society (

Her research focuses on the importance of biological processes in the ocean for the uptake of CO2 from the atmosphere and how ocean biology, including diversity, contributes to ocean function in the Earth System. Katherine is also a core developer of the Planetary Boundaries framework that attempts to identify a safe operating space for humanity in its impact on global resources.

KR holds a Bachelor’s Degree from Harvard College (1976), a PhD from the University of Wales (awarded while on a Marshall Fellowship) and a D.Sc. from the University of Copenhagen. KR was Chairman of the Danish Commission on Climate Change Policy that reported in 2010 and presented a roadmap for how Denmark can become independent of fossil fuels by 2050. She is at present a member of the Government appointed Danish Climate Council and was a member of the 15 person Independent Group of Scientists appointed by Ban Ki Moon to draft the 2019 UN Global Sustainable Development Report.

She is Co-Editor in Chief of the Marine Ecology Progress Series and a member of the editorial board for Global Sustainability. Authorship of books includes Our Threatened Oceans (2008) and Climate Change: Global Risks, Challenges and Decisions (2014). She is or has been a member or Chair of numerous national and international committees and organisations relating to science policy and/or sustainability.

She is currently co-chair of the Northern European Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN). KR has been awarded the Danish Order of the Dannebrog (1st level). In 2022, KR has been awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Tromsø, Norway.