Mission and Profile

Watch the film about SCAS here: SCAS: A Place for Scientific Curiosity

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, discussion, and cooperation. Since its
foundation in 1985, we strive to protect and nurture independent inquiry, collaborative and creative
thinking, and to emphasize the importance of academic freedom worldwide. Governmental support
and support from major research foundations allow our invited Fellows to engage in focused research
and to collaborate across disciplinary boundaries.

Chartered by the Government of Sweden as an institute for advanced study, SCAS is a national scientific
institution and resource. The Collegium is open to applications from scholars across the range of the
human and social sciences, as well as from the natural sciences. SCAS hosts advanced senior scholars
as well as early-career scholars. 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.

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 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. The most recent articula-
tion 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 the Global Horizons Fellow-
ship Programme. The Global Horizons Programme aims to advance multidisciplinary frontline research on
global future governance issues, focusing on large-scale challenges. It attracts scholars pursuing research
on contemporary aspects of globalization and is also future-oriented in its ambition to contribute to the
advancement of knowledge 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.

This ambition has been further strengthened by the hosting of the RJ-funded research programme Global
Foresight, focusing on investigating how organizations attempt to anticipate the future, how scenario models
are produced, and what they tell us about proposed solutions for tackling urgent global challenges.

The Barbro Klein Fellowship Programme contributes to the overarching aim and profile of the Collegium
by nurturing research on cultural and social diversity, cultural heritage and creativity, societal structures
and public resistance, and varieties of cultural expressions in local and global perspective.

The Collegium has long hosted collaborative research across the humanities and social sciences, such as
historians, sociologists and linguists, that has resulted 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
transformative shifts occurring on a global scale during the tenth to thirteenth centuries in an age of trans-
regional reorientations. Furthermore, the Collegium has consistently explored links between the economic
sciences, philosophy and other human and social sciences.

In recent years, the Collegium’s scholarly profile has expanded to also embrace research in the natural sciences,
and more specifically research that also invites cross-faculty engagement. The 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. The expansion into natural sciences has been made possible by support from the
Erling Persson Family Foundation and the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation. There are four thematic foci
of the programme: Theoretical Biology; Human Brains and Societies; Measurable Human; and Exoplanets and
Biological Activity on Other Worlds.

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

Institutional Collaboration
SCAS interacts with a large number of scholarly institutions. Especially important is the collaboration of 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, Stan-
ford 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 Insti-
tute for Advanced Study in the Humanities and Social Sciences; Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Har-
vard 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-five European institutes
for advanced study (NetIAS). Originating from NeIASare a number of collaborative engagements, among which
the CAT programme stands as an example of the Collegium’s striving to support transnational and cross-faculty
collaboration among younger, talented researchers.

SCAS also has collaborative links to other institutes for advanced study across the world. The Collegium is, for
example, a partner in a recently launched international endeavour to support researchers in Ukraine through the
Virtual Ukrainian Institute for Advanced Study (VUIAS) Fellowship Programme. The Collegium-based part of
the fellowship programme is supported by the Swedish Research Council (VR).

The Collegium also engages in institutional collaboration around specific research programmes. One example is
the ongoing cooperation with the RJ-funded research programme LAMP – Languages and Myths of Prehistory,
a programme which brings together scholars from different fields, such as linguistics, archaeology, ancient
genomics, anthropology, and the history of religion.