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About the IAS

Mission and approach

Our mission is to advance cutting-edge interdisciplinary research that addresses complex scientific and societal challenges.

To support our mission, we aim to:

  • foster a vibrant and inspiring environment that stimulates and facilitates multidisciplinary exchange
  • enhance research excellence by involving some of the world’s foremost researchers and leading thinkers

Systems thinking as common denominator

To make the transition from disciplinary to interdisciplinary research, researchers must speak each other’s language. At the IAS, we use systems thinking, and specifically complex systems methodology, as our common language to explore challenging interdisciplinary research topics. It provides us a framework with which to integrate information, data, techniques, tools, perspectives, concepts, and/or theories from a wide range of disciplines, and to study the interaction between various determinants.

The complex systems approach to science investigates how relationships between a given system’s components give rise to its collective behaviour and how the system interacts and forms relationships with its environment.

Collaborative development of our work programme

Developing our work programme is a creative, collaborative process that is driven by the contributions of the researchers affiliated with the IAS. Researchers contribute to this process by joining one of our current areas of research or submitting a proposal for a new interdisciplinary research topic. Most research proposals are submitted to us as part of a fellowship application, but new research directions also often emerge during lively discussions at IAS events.

University-based Institute for Advanced Study (UBIAS)

The UvA Institute for Advanced Study is member of the UBIAS network. UBIAS institutes are associated with or embedded within a university, and actively contribute to the academic culture and the scientific achievements of their home university.