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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.

Call for IAS Projects: 2021/22

(15 November 2019)

The Institute of Advanced Study supports the development of high-quality, creative and ambitious interdisciplinary research. Each year, the IAS facilitates and supports the development of four, cross-department ‘major projects’, and a number of smaller interdisciplinary research developments. 

The call for project proposals is now open.

Proposed projects must be genuinely interdisciplinary, innovative and ambitious. They should have both short- and longer-term objectives, and should aim to use the IAS’s developmental assistance to compose funding proposals that will fully support the research. The IAS particularly encourage projects that have the potential to build towards major applications for Leverhulme Centres, Wellcome Collaborative Awards, ERC Synergy grants, or similar. All projects must involve at least two departments, ideally in different faculties.

Full details about the process, projects and nominations and relevant forms are available on the IAS website here.


  • Call for project proposals – Friday 15 November 2019
  • Deadline for 500-word (max) project summaries – Wednesday 08 January 2020
  • Project scoping meeting – Wednesday 29 January 2020
  • Project outline applications – Friday 14 February 2020
  • Project applicants invited to IAS to discuss proposals – 24-26 February 2020
  • Project applicants advised of IAS facilitator – Thursday 27 February 2020
  • Deadline for full project applications (and two key Fellowship nominations) – midday Friday 20 March 2020
  • Project review (including evaluation of up to two nominees) – w/c 23 March 2020
  • Project applicants notified of outcome – Wednesday 01 April 2020
  • External Fellowship recruitment opens – Monday 06 April 2020
  • Deadline for all nominations and external Fellowship applications – midday Friday 12 June 2020
  • Fellowship nominations and applications evaluated – 15 June – 19 July 2020
  • Fellowship offers made – Wednesday 22 July 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.