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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.


IAS Public Lecture - Such Stuff as Psychoses are Made on?

7th October 2020, 17:30 to 18:30, Dr Armando D'Agostino, University of Milan

Public Lecture by Dr Armando D'Agostino, University of Milan

The phenomenological similarity between dreams and psychosis fueled the interest of countless investigators in modern psychopathology. Eugen Bleuler, who coined the term Schizophrenia for patients with the most severe and enduring psychotic disturbances, believed that “most of the characteristics of schizophrenic thinking (particularly delusional thinking) are explained by the differences between the dreaming and the wakefulness way of thinking.”

Defined as the purest form of phenomenality, dream consciousness emerges when the brain is largely detached from the external world. In this condition, a full–fledged multimodal hallucinatory environment is experienced as reality, similar to the subjectivity of untreated or treatment–resistant individuals with overwhelming psychoses. However, the neurophysiological evidence assembled since the second half of the 20th Century failed to confirm the early hypothesis that waking hallucinations reflect intrusions of sleep–related neural activity into waking consciousness.

This lecture will guide the audience from the multidisciplinary history of this concept up to the past decade of neurobiological research on sleep in patients with psychosis. Technological advances including the computational management of high–density electrical scalp signals from the brain have begun to reveal novel, compelling findings that might shed light on the biological basis of this highly complex and distressing subjective experience.

This lecture is free and open to all.


Details about Dr Armando D'Agostino

The Lecture will take place on Zoom. To register please click here.

Contact enquiries.ias@durham.ac.uk for more information about this event.



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.