On the occasion of the first official meeting of its Scientific Advisory Board and Board of Trustees, the Institute for Advanced Study (IAS) organised several events on September 7-8, 2017.
On Thursday Sep 7th, the IAS together with Innovation Exchange Amsterdam (IXA) organised the ERC 10 Year’s Anniversary Event. Besides celebrating the jubilee of the European Research Council, the University of Amsterdam had just been granted its 100th ERC grant; uniquely timed! IAS Scientific Advisory Board member Professor Helga Nowotny - founding member and former president of the ERC - gave the keynote speech. The full programme of the event can be found here.
On Friday Sep 8th, the Mayor of Amsterdam, Eberhard Van der Laan, hosted the first part of the Boards meeting at his official residence. Scientific Director, Peter Sloot, gave a presentation on the current state of affairs of the IAS and the plans for the coming years.
The Board members emphasised the relevance of creating space and time for researchers to interact and experiment. Robbert Dijkgraaf: "the IAS should serve as a laboratory to let new ideas grow." Besides the crucial value of interdisciplinary and international collaboration, the importance of having an innovative and entrepreneurial approach was stressed by Sir Ratan Tata. Mayor Van der Laan added that - when working on research projects that aim to find solutions for societal challenges - it's essential to involve citizens and other stakeholders in an early stage.
In the second part of the Boards meeting, the IAS Programme Directors were given the floor to present the selected IAS research programmes. All presentations were followed by lively interaction with the Board members, which continued over lunch.
In the afternoon, an academic discussion on ‘Complexity in Science and Society’ took place at the institute. Two lectures were given as inspiring examples of the type of research that the IAS pursues. Mike Lees and Debraj Roj started off by presenting some of the work done on data driven modelling of urban complex systems; from modelling massive human crowds (Kumbh Mela Experiment), understanding the impact of Electric Vehicles in the Netherlands, to agent-based models of slum dynamics in India. The next speaker was Mile Gu, who presented that Complexity and Quantum Science appear at first to be two fields that bear little relation, but that there is growing evidence that the science of the very small may help us better understand that of the very large.