WHY A BRUSSELS INSTITUTE FOR ADVANCED STUDIES, BRIAS ?
Belgium, and Brussels in particular, is a patchwork of different socio-economic and cultural environments. It offers a unique potential for creativity and groundbreaking progress, making it very attractive to high-level researchers, artists, designers and all those who want to help shape a harmonious and sustainable future.
The Université Libre de Bruxelles, ULB, and the Vrije Universiteit Brussel, VUB, are the two leading universities in Brussels. Their origin goes back 150 years. Six Nobel laureates as well as two Abel and two Fields medal laureates were professor and/or alumni of the universities.
The words "Libre" and "Vrije" in their name stands for free enquiry, which postulates independent reasoning and the rejection of all dogma. Indeed, both the ULB and the VUB strive to break down the walls of ignorance and dogmatism by stimulating groundbreaking research at the highest level of creativity, without taboos or prejudice. This implies crossing boundaries and building bridges between disciplines and different socio-economic or cultural environments.
Institutes for Advanced Studies, IASs, are incubators of ideas, with no philosophical or political restriction, where some of the very best scientists, artists or designers, coming from various fields and countries, are given the opportunity to work in an atmosphere of complete freedom, collaboration, mutual emulation and cross-fertilisation. The first IAS was created in Princeton, 1930. Since then, several IASs have been established worldwide.
Despite a considerable number of internationally acclaimed university laboratories, there was no IAS in Brussels or Belgium as of yet. The authorities of ULB and VUB have therefore decided in 2018 to create the Brussels Institute for Advanced Studies (BrIAS) as a joint initiative.
Based on submitted projects, BrIAS will offer fellowships and housing to a number, typically between 15 and 20, of “BrIASfellows”, for periods of up to 10 months. From 2024 on, it will be located in Usquare, the prestigious, listed and currently being renovated military barracks in Elsene/Ixelles, situated within walking distance of campuses of both the ULB and VUB.
BrIAS will stimulate a close interaction between science and other fields of creativity, which arees sential for a harmonious and sustainable future and which will contribute to the prestige of the Brussels universities, region and zone of influence.
The mission of the Brussels Institute for Advanced Studies is:
- To contribute to the advancement of science in an interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary spirit by attracting the very best researchers at international level;
- To progress towards a sustainable world;
- To strengthen both the mutual and worldwide collaborations of the founding universities of BrIAS, thanks to the hospitality offered to researchers and postdocs, thereby generating a community of researchers and alumni, part of the global network of IASs;
- To stimulate the interaction between science and creative fields such as arts and design, essential for a harmonious and sustainable future of the socio-economic and cultural environment of the Brussels region and influence zone;
- To contribute to the prestige of the Brussels Region and its constituents.