My research interests can be broadly framed within human dignity in health, research regulation and social welfare issues. In the Circumpolar North context, I am especially interested in health law and wellbeing, and legal and ethical issues related to scientific research reciprocity, health data use and data sovereignty.

I am currently undertaking a PhD in Law at Center for Advanced Studies in Biomedical Innovation Law, at the Faculty of Law, University of Copenhagen, focusing on transparent use of health data for research purposes. I am a board member of the Nordic Per Med Law – a network working with the legislation for modern medicine; member of the International Experts Panel of the Genetic Discrimination Observatory and of JAWG (Justice in the Arctic Working Group).

My Bachelor of Arts in Law and Magister Juris in Law are from the University of Iceland. I am admitted to the Icelandic Bar Association and before embarking upon my current academic journey I practiced as an Attorney-at-Law in Reykjavik, Iceland. I hold a MA in Disaster Management from School of Global Health, University of Copenhagen, where my thesis focused on roles and responsibilities of experts providing scientific advice in risk reduction decision making in Svalbard. The project was undertaken in the aftermath of two destructive avalanches that occurred in the community of Longyearbyen, Svalbard, where I lived and worked from 2015-2019.

Other prior experiences include variety of legal and cross-sectoral projects in different regional and country context including: Mapping the status of stateless persons in Iceland and Norway as a legal consultant to the UNHCR in Northern Europe, short-term projects for the Arctic Safety Centre in Svalbard and, presentation and panel participation on the legal and ethical considerations regarding the use of genetics and other health data for research purposes in Greenland.

If you like to follow my work or get in touch, please email, or via:

University of Copenhagen profile

Linked in

Twitter: @hdgunnars

Select Publications:

Gunnarsdóttir HD, Hancock H, and Eckerstorfer M (2018) “Snow Avalanches and Accountability – Examples from Svalbard, Norway.” Conference paper. International Snow Science Workshop 2018, Innsbruck, Austria.

Gunnarsdóttir HD. (2015) “Mapping Statelessness in Norway.” Available at:

Gunnarsdóttir HD (2014) “Mapping Statelessness in Iceland.” Available at: