Mission and Profile
The Swedish Collegium for Advanced Study (SCAS) was founded in 1985 through an initiative
of Swedish research councils and Riksbankens Jubileumsfond (the Swedish Foundation for
Humanities and Social Sciences, RJ). It is a national scientific institution, chartered by the Govern-
ment of Sweden as an Institute for Advanced Study, mainly in the social and human sciences.
The Collegium is a scholarly community where
Fellows pursue research of their own choosing in
a context of interdisciplinary dialogue and cooperation. The ambition is to provide an optimal research
environment. SCAS hosts senior scholars from all over the world as well as early-career scholars,
mainly from the Pro Futura Scientia Programme (often proposed by Swedish universities but to
a large extent with an academic background from other countries). The Collegium hosts Fellows
for the time of one academic year or semester. During 2016-17 these Fellows come from twenty-one
universities in eleven countries on four continents; more than eighty per cent of the Fellows come
SCAS is partly financed by the Swedish government,
partly by external funds (mainly from RJ). Total
income in 2015 exceeded EUR four million, the largest share of which derived from external funding.
Presently SCAS is in the process of enlarging its range of activities by expanding into the natural sciences.
The Collegium is open to excellent scholars across the range of the human and social sciences. It also
maintains a sustained engagement in a few programmatic areas so as to articulate the potential significance
in global terms of the humanities and social sciences. In these areas it brings together from time to time
small clusters of scholars, subject to the same assessment as those that apply to all candidates.
This basic stance has found expression in
collaborative research involving historians, social
linguists. This has resulted in reformulations of the idea of the Axial Age but also in the development of the
idea of multiple modernities. More recently it has involved efforts to reconceptualise shifts occurring on a
global scale during the tenth to thirteenth centuries in an age of transregional reorientations. These efforts
are now being further pursued through a series of symposia and publications with a focus on transformative
periods in global history (the so-called Karlgren-Eisenstadt Programme).
As an extension of this programme, the Swedish Collegium has also embarked on a three-year Summer
Programme in Social Science (SPSS) together with ias Princeton and École des hautes études en sciences
sociales (EHESS) in Paris. The programme has a focus on “Inequalities and Differences”. Nineteen early-
career scholars from Africa, the Middle East, and Latin America have been selected and work both indi-
vidually and collectively on articulating conditions for “A Global Politics of Knowledge”.
In addition, the Collegium has pursued a programme for
several years that has aimed at exploring links
between the economic sciences, philosophy and other human and social sciences. In recent years this has
involved a joint programme between SCAS, Fondation Maison des sciences de l’homme, Paris, and its
Collège d’études mondiales. Some key ideas of the programme have been taken up in yet another institutional
form, namely within the International Panel on Social Progress (IPSP). IPSP is inspired by the Intergovern-
mental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and seeks to mobilise the global social science community in an
endeavour that is uniquely ambitious.
SCAS interacts with a large number of scholarly institutions. Especially important is the collaboration with
originally six, now nine, 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; Radcliffe
Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University; and Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin.
In 2004, the Swedish Collegium for Advanced Study was a founding member of the network of now twenty-
two European institutes for advanced study (NetIAS). SCAS has also special links to other institutes for
advanced study, including institutes in Beijing and Göttingen.