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Durham University

Institute of Advanced Study

Welcome to the

Transforming The Way We Think

The Institute of Advanced Study is a prestigious, ideas-based Institute with global reach. We bring together world-leading researchers from all disciplines to work with Durham colleagues on collaborative projects of major intellectual, scientific, political and practical significance. At least twenty visiting IAS Fellows join us in Durham each year to work with Durham scholars to spark new investigations, set tomorrow's agenda and participate in a varied programme of activities.

Each year, the IAS supports four ambitious interdisciplinary projects tackling major research questions. Leading researchers from around the globe join Durham colleagues in collaborative teams to develop ground-breaking ideas, explore interdisciplinary synergies and develop new programmes of research.

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.


The IAS welcomes its Epiphany Term of Fellows

The Institute of Advanced Study is delighted to welcome its second cohort of Fellows for Epiphany term. A significant number of this term's 2019/20 Fellowship focus on two high-quality, IAS supported major interdisciplinary projects. These projects integrate several of our IAS Fellows with Durham scholars for a period of intensive collaboration. The IAS programme gives further detail about the specific projects and the planned activities over the term. In addition, there are also a number of Fellows who will be collaborating with other Durham colleagues while in Durham. 

The IAS Fellowship continues to play a major role in the life of the IAS. This term the IAS is joined by among others: international, scientific, and experimental artist Alexandra Carr; writer, social scientist and design researcher Dr Laura Forlano from the Illinois Institute of Technology; theoretical astrophysicist Professor Nelson Padilla from the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile who researches galaxy formation and cosmology with a focus on the understanding of what the distribution of galaxies tells us about the underlying distribution of mass in the Universe; and Professor Bronwen Neil from Macquarie University whose research interests include: Byzantine social, cultural and intellectual history; and Late Antiquity.

Details of the full Fellowship can be found at, and further detailed information about the sponsored projects can be located here.

During the term all IAS Fellows will deliver an IAS seminar and a public lecture

(6 Jan 2020)

Material Imagination - Project Website launched

Material Imagination, a project sponsored by the Durham IAS and Royal Society, considers how advanced materials play an increasing role in contemporary social life, from food to medicines, to architecture.

In this project, researchers in the physical and social sciences together with designers, artists and stakeholders are developing and testing a more inclusive way to imagine and innovate with materials.

Their new website has been launched. The project will kick-start with a sequence of interdisciplinary events and conversations between January- March 2020.

Also follow the project via Twitter @MaterialImagin1

(13 Nov 2019)

Monday 2 March 2020

IAS Contribution to the evaluation of interdisciplinary research in the REF

For a number of years the IAS has been closely involved in the development of methods of evaluating interdisciplinary research, working collaboratively with UK funding bodies/the REF. Its Executive Director, Professor Veronica Strang, is a member of the UKRI Interdisciplinary Advisory Panel, which is guiding this aspect of the REF process, and a regular speaker at the Annual REF Forum and related events. Her report Evaluating Interdisciplinary Research: a practical guide (Strang and McLeish 2015), written in consultation with a range of funding bodies, has been taken up widely, nationally and internationally. With the REF submission date coming up soon, colleagues who are considering interdisciplinary outputs for submission, or who will be involved in evaluating such research for REF sub-panels, may find this publication helpful.