Mission and Profile

The Swedish Collegium for Advanced Study (SCAS) aims to provide optimal research conditions for
curiosity-driven research. The Collegium is a scholarly community where Fellows pursue research of
their own choosing in a context of interdisciplinary dialogue and cooperation. Since its foundation in 1985,
it strives to protect and nurture independent inquiry, collaborative and deep thinking, and to emphasize
the importance of academic freedom worldwide. Governmental support and support from major research
foundations allow the invited Fellows to freely decide on their study and to engage in focused research.

Chartered by the Government of Sweden as an institute for advanced study, SCAS is a national scientific
institution. The Collegium is open to applications from scholars across the range of the human and social
sciences, as well as from the natural sciences. All candidates are assessed on the basis of their individual
achievements and the quality and promise of their research proposal, including those who apply within the
framework of a group. Every year presents a novel mixture of Fellows from all over the world who either
work on their individual projects or who are part of a cluster of scholars with similar interests.

SCAS hosts advanced senior scholars as well as early-career scholars.

Scholarly Profile
The Swedish Collegium has an ambition to articulate the significance of the social and human sciences
for an understanding of the contemporary and historical condition of humankind in its diverse global
contexts. This stance has long been a cornerstone of the profile and activities of SCAS.

The most recent articulation of this ambition is the engagement in questions pertaining to global governance.
This has been realized by funding from Riksbankens Jubileumsfond (RJ) focused on the instalment of a new
research programme:­ the Global Horizons Fellowship Programme. The purpose of the Global Horizons Pro-
gramme is to advance multidisciplinary frontline research on global future governance issues, focusing on
large-scale challenges. The programme aims to attract research fellows pursuing research on contemporary
aspects of globalization and to promote a thematic collaboration across faculty lines. The programme revolves
around three thematic areas: Global Knowledge Cultures and Regimes; Global Political Predicaments; and
Global Futures. The programme is future-oriented in its ambition to contribute to the advancement of know-
ledge on contemporary forms of governance and their future implications. The programme also offers a
basis from which to reach out and engage with university scholars across disciplinary boundaries, but also
with public intellectuals, policy makers, and politicians.

The expansion of the Collegium to include a Natural Sciences Programme aims at advancing cutting-edge
research in the natural sciences, as well as at bridging the gap between these and the humanities and social
sciences. This expansion has been made possible by support from the Erling-Persson Family Foundation and
the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation. The programme is focused on research that involves synthesis,
data analysis and conceptual and theoretical work.  There are four thematic foci of the programme: Theore-
tical Biology; Human Brains and Societies; Measurable Man; and Exoplanets and Biological Activity on Other
Worlds.

The academic profile of the Collegium has grown out of a consistent ambition to study and inquire into the
variety of trajectories that characterize the development of human societies. This has found expression in
collaborative research involving historians, social scientists and linguists, resulting in reformulations of the
idea of the Axial Age but also in the development of the idea of multiple modernities. It has also brought forth
efforts to reconceptualise shifts occurring on a global scale during the tenth to thirteenth centuries in an age
of transregional reorientations. These efforts have been further pursued with a focus on transformative
periods in global history, in the so-called Karlgren-Eisenstadt Programme. In addition, the Collegium has
consistently explored links between the economic sciences, philosophy and other human and social sciences.
Dimensions of this research are reflected in the International Panel on Social Progress (IPSP), an endeavour
that is uniquely ambitious and involves scholars on a global scale. Another consequence of the Collegium’s
engagement in this field has been a strengthening of study programmes with a focus on PPE (Philosophy,
Politics and Economics) in universities on different continents.

The Collegium of today is an institution that offers scholars the opportunity to be driven by their own intellec-
tual curiosity; that crosses disciplinary boundaries; and remains small enough to build a sense of community.
By doing so, research at SCAS may provide insight, knowledge, and reflection that contribute to the advancement
of science at large.


Institutional Collaboration
SCAS interacts with a large number of scholarly institutions. Especially important is the collaboration with
originally six, now ten, leading institutes for advanced study within the SIAS group (Some Institutes for
Advanced Study), of which the Collegium was a founding member in 1991: Center for Advanced Study in
the Behavioral Sciences, Stanford University; Institut d’études avancées de Nantes; Institute for Advanced
Study, Princeton; Israel Institute for Advanced Studies, Jerusalem; National Humanities Center, Research
Triangle Park, NC; Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities and Social Sciences; Rad-
cliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University; Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Study; and
Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin.

In 2004, the Swedish Collegium was a founding member of the network of now twenty-two European
institutes for advanced study (NetIAS). SCAS also has special links to other institutes for advanced study.