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Institute of Advanced Study

Transforming The Way We Think

The Institute of Advanced Study is a prestigious, ideas-based Institute bringing together some of the world’s finest researchers from all disciplines to examine themes of major intellectual, scientific, political and practical significance. At least twenty visiting fellows per annum are based in Cosin's Hall, a beautiful 18th Century, Grade 1 listed mansion house, situated on Palace Green (a World Heritage site). They work with Durham scholars to spark new investigations, set tomorrow's agenda and participate in a varied programme of activities.

The Institute also serves as a top-level forum, enabling key-decision makers and experts to discuss pressing policy problems in an intellectually stimulating and unrestricted manner. We put on a wide range of public lectures and other events. There are also opportunities for postgraduates and other early career researchers to get involved.

The IAS aims to build research capacity, realise potential, and meet the challenges of a changing world. There are many ways to participate in the life and work of the institute. We warmly welcome your involvement.


Anthropology and Engineering: an interdisciplinary approach to water infrastructure – Call for Participants

The Institute of Advanced Study (IAS), in collaboration with the University of South Florida, invites anthropologists and engineers to a research workshop aiming to develop a new interdisciplinary approach to the design and development of water infrastructure. The workshop to be held between May 22-25th 2017will focus on articulating a joint theoretical framework and methods through which this can be employed; composing a joint funding proposal; and instigating several outputs.

For those interested in participating please contact

(23 Feb 2017)

IAS Project Proposals and Fellowship Nominations (2018/19) – Call for Applications and Nominations Now Open

In 2018/19, in accord with the recommendations of its 2016 Quinquennial Review, the IAS will focus on supporting four major interdisciplinary projects with related Fellowship nominations. This scheme will replace the IAS's current focus on a single annual research theme and associated sub-theme activities. Three months teaching buy-out will be provided for the project PI. Colleagues may also apply for support for preliminary research development activities. 

The closing date for all project and activity proposals and related Fellowship nominations is April 18th 2017

The process and relevant application forms for Projects and Fellowship nominations are available here.

For enquiries please contact Linda Crowe. 

A call for external IAS Fellowship applications will open in May 2017. 

(22 Feb 2017)

Insights Volumes 8 and 9 now published

Two new volumes of the Institute of Advanced Study's E-journal 'Insights' have been published. Each volume (No: 8 and 9) includes several contributions on the themes of Emergence (2014/15) and Evidence (2015/16). 
'Insights' contains the contributions from visiting Fellows to the Institute and captures the cutting-edge research hosted at Durham each year. Every fellow writes for this exciting series and the result is a unique collection of thought experiments, innovative research findings, theoretical statements, original reviews, and occasionally more fully worked treatises.

Review Volume 8 and Volume 9 in further detail.

(16 Feb 2017)

Durham academic advises United Nations on sustainable water use

Professor Veronica Strang, Executive Director of Durham University's Institute of Advanced Study, is advising the United Nations (UN) on its development of new Principles for Water with a specific focus on its cultural and spiritual values.

(3 Feb 2017) » More about Durham academic advises United Nations on sustainable water use

IAS Conference Review

The IAS’s Decennial conference (July 12th-14th) brought former Fellows and other international visitors to Durham to build on ideas emerging during a year on the theme of Evidence. The first keynote, by Monica Grady, looked outwards into the cosmos for extra-terrestrial life, and concluded that there was no definitive evidence demonstrating its existence. However, she left the door open to finding such evidence, so it may still be that the proof is out there. Penny Harvey’s keynote was more down to earth, and focused on concrete evidence of material vitality through and exploration of… concrete. Panels and roundtables ranged across topics as diverse as evidence for the efficacy of psychotherapeutic analysis; the evidence of sentience in non-human beings and its implications for their use in scientific experiments; the intangible evidence of intangible heritage; and the ways in .which IASs can foster the bringing of evidence together in interdisciplinary collaborations. Details of the panels are available here.

Delegates greatly appreciated the warm welcome from the Vice Chancellor at the conference dinner, which was followed by a definitively uproarious game of Durham Bluff, in which, for the first time in a while, the Home Team managed to beat the Visitors with some exemplary mendacity.

A grande finale to the conference was provided by a public debate, in which lively argumentation swayed a preliminary ‘for’ vote towards a narrow defeat of a provocative motion proposing that this House Believes it is Possible to Apply Universal Standards of Evidence.

The Scale of Things: Public Lecture Series (January - March 2017)

The Scale of Things: Public Lecture Series - January - March 2017

Other Events

Thursday 2 March 2017

Friday 3 March 2017

Monday 6 March 2017

Tuesday 7 March 2017

Filmmaker Oliver Stone with Dr Ivana Petrovic and Professor Veronica Strang at the Institute of Advanced Study

Interview with Oliver Stone

Interview with Oliver Stone

Views: 525

Short interview clip of Oliver Stone with Professor Veronica Strang.

Academic research goes to Hollywood

On March 10th, leading filmmaker Oliver Stone visited Durham University’s Institute of Advanced Study to meet with classicist Dr Ivana Petrovic, whose research, engaging with his depiction of Alexander the Great, was included in his DVD Alexander The Ultimate Cut, released in 2014. He described how he first discovered her work in the debates that followed the release of the first version of Alexander:

For full details of Oliver Stone's visit to Durham including full video coverage of the discussion then please click here.

“Lies, Damned Lies and …”: Is There Such a Thing as Reliable Evidence? Annual IAS London Event 2016
“Lies, Damned Lies and …”: Is There Such a Thing as Reliable Evidence? Annual IAS London Event 2016
Views: 137

King Hussein Memorial Lecture 2016
King Hussein Memorial Lecture 2016
Views: 72

‘Finding Common Ground: Negotiating Across Cultures on Peace and Security Issues’ - the annual King Hussein Memorial Lecture in Cultural Dialogue 2016 given by Professor the Hon Gareth Evans AC QC FASSA FAIIA.

Contact Details

Institute of Advanced Study
Durham University
Cosin's Hall
Palace Green
Telephone: +44 (0)191 334 2589

Transforming The Way We Think

Transforming the Way We Think is the Institute of Advanced Study's celebrationary book and its decade of interdisciplinarity. Download here.

To request a hard copy of the book please complete this online order form.

2018/19 Revised IAS Programme

For information about the IAS Revised 2018/19 Programme (Projects and Fellowship Nomination Process) then please download here.

To request additional information contact 


VENUE Change:
Public lecture, 2nd March 2017 18:15 - 19:15. Crisis as a Temporal Category in Historical Writing. Continuity and Discontinuity (Javier Fernandez-Sebastian, University of the Basque Country, Spain)
Please be advised that the venue has changed. This lecture will now take place in Seminar Room 1, Department of History, North Bailey, and not PG20, Pemberton Lecture Rooms as advertised.

Political Discontinuities and the Nineteenth-Century Public Lecture (one of the Human Scale: Time on a Human Scale Public Lecture series)
7th March 2017, 18:15 to 19:15, PG20, Pemberton Lecture Rooms, Palace Green, Emmanuel Furiex. Please be advised that this Public Lecture will no longer take place.

DATE Change:
Understanding and Representing Scale: Physics and Scale: from femtophysics to atoms, biology and the Universe - workshop.
Now takes place on 4th & 5th July (not 3rd and 4th July).