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AIAS 5 Year Anniversary

On 22 June 2018, AIAS celebrates its 5-year birthday and reflects on its rapid transformation from pure idea as a ‘classical’ Institute of Advanced Study to a fully recognized and functional Institute with its own significant academic community and spirit.

The Aarhus Institute of Advanced Studies, ‘AIAS’, was inaugurated on 13 June 2013 by Aarhus University and was the first of its kind in Denmark. AIAS is university-based and thus serves a mission to advance the highest quality research at the University by focusing on independent and free research. From a tentative first semester of 2013 with only a bit more than two handful of fellows, the Institute has grown rapidly - in terms of funding, of fellows and in academic energy and excellence. 

Large EU grants: excellent research

Shortly after the opening of the Institute, AIAS received its first major grant by the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme for Research, Technological development and Demonstration in January 2014. Already in 2017, AIAS succeeded in taking home a second major EU grant, from EU’s Horizon 2020 programme within the ‘Excellent Science’ pillar. AIAS has therefore secured more than EUR 11 million (DKK 84 million) in its ‘infancy’, the first five years. Together with the EU funding, AIAS is also co-funded by the AUFF, the Aarhus University Research Foundation. 

‘Aarhus University has good reason to be proud of having created in such few years a classical, genuine Institute of Advanced Study, which is already generally recognized as being among the best in the world. This courageous initiative has created respect and attention internationally’, AIAS Director Morten Kyndrup commented. 

Critical mass: the AIAS Community

The large funding has created a stabile academic platform for AIAS which enables the Institute to host 34 fellows at any given time. Currently AIAS hosts 37 fellows of 19 different nationalities, and with a ‘Wall of Fame’ of 52 AIAS Former Fellows, the AIAS academic community is numbering at speed. Right now AIAS is putting final hand on the selection of a cohort of 16 new fellows, who will commence on 1 October 2018, and 1 February 2019.

Fellows come from all over the world, from a diversity of cultures and from all scientific fields. Presently, AIAS houses geneticists, historians, biologists and linguists to mention but a few of the diverse disciplines – diverse but united by excellence, which is the main access criterion for the AIAS fellowships. 

Parts and Sum: the excellent spirit of AIAS

What is it that makes AIAS, AIAS? Whom else than its fellows can better describe the academic community at AIAS. In 2015, fellows Amy Iler (Conservation Scientist at Chicago Botanic Garden, US) and Alfonso Blázquez-Castro (Postdoctoral researcher, ‎Department of Physics of Materials, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid ) describe this when interviewed by their fellow Djuke Veldhuis (Course Director, University of Monash, Australia):‘AIAS provides us with an unprecedented free-thinking and multidisciplinarity environment’. What this does to the individual is unfolded by Djuke Velduis: ‘The AIAS environment is electric with ideas, which galvanize one’s own research too’, and taken a step further by AIAS Former Fellow Karen ni Mghealleagh (Professor, University of Exeter, UK): 

‘AIAS is both a place of work and a community whose sum is more than its individual components’ and ‘by its nature, an IAS changes in response to its fluctuating personnel, but that does not mean nothing of permanence is accomplished. Fellows are changed by their experiences together, and they bring that influence, energy, and the friendships they have formed, out into the worlds to which they return. I know I will’. 

Five Year Anniversary

The 5-year birthday of the AIAS community will be celebrated on 22 June 2018 with an afternoon of talks, refreshments and music. The Anniversary celebration is opened by the Rector of Aarhus University, Brian Bech Nielsen and AIAS Director Morten Kyndrup followed by scholarly talks by Principal Björn Wittrock, SCAS Uppsala University, Sweden and AIAS Former Fellows Rebecca Simmons (Deputy Director, THIS Institute, Cambridge University) and Bjørn Panyella Pedersen (Assistant Prof,  Dept. of Molecular Biology and Genetics, Aarhus University). The Anniversary afternoon is concluded with the annual AIAS Summer Gathering in the evening. 

Read more on: http://aias.au.dk/events/5-year-anniversary/ 


Morten Kyndrup, AIAS Executive director and Professor

Aarhus Institute of Advanced Studies, AIAS
Høegh-Guldbergs Gade 6B 
DK-8000 Aarhus C