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Each year the international network of University-based Institutes for Advanced Study (UBIAS) selects a ‘Topic of the Year’; a topic of global importance that is explored through different activities and formats. In 2020 the Topic of the Year is: Dialogue.


About the topic: Dialogue

Every research begins with dialogue; it will always start from the dialogue with self, followed by dialogues with the previous scholarship, researchers in the same field, or those in different research areas. The process of academic investigation requires constant questioning and exchange of ideas, and the dialogue is key to conducting interdisciplinary research and the cutting-edge scientific explorations.
In society, too, the dialogue is an indispensable magic spell to resolve prolonged discord and deepen mutual understanding. It could be a solution to a profound social problem of "Fake or Fact". The same can be said in international relations, even though some issues, such as war, climate change, bioethics and nuclear related topics, require further discussions. The dialogue underlies and forms our modern society, but it is unclear how it will be valued in the future that could be highly regulated by AI. From a different point of view, we might need to ask whether the notion of dialogue be extended to other animals and plants?

In science, the dialogue would sometimes be a research activity itself. The mathematicians engage in seeking the general theorem of numbers which is hidden in the nature, the physicists are trying to find a law behind the numerous experimental phenomena. Also, biologists tries to figure out the statistical rule that emerges as the consequence of genetically inherent properties. Those scientific activities are all based on the dialogues to the nature or the real world. Therefore, for the natural scientists, dialogue is the basis of their activity and at the same time the most essential part to manifest their enthusiasms.

Evermore, we are in need of dialogue, yet there is a tendency to overlook its importance and to try to jump on a quick conclusion. It is, therefore, time to stop and think of dialogue itself, not for the efficiency, but for the better solutions. (Source: UBIAS)

About the UBIAS network

UBIAS stands for “University-Based Institutes for Advanced Study”. The UBIAS network was initiated in 2010. The network, that now comprises 44 members, was established to enable structured forms of exchange between UBIAS institutes worldwide, including biennial conferences and joint programmes.