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Constructive Advanced Thinking (CAT) Program


The CAT programme was created in 2019 at the initiative of the Paris IAS, with the support of 9 Institutes for Advanced Study. It aims to encourage networks of excellent early-career researchers dedicated to developing new ideas to understand and address current and emerging societal challenges, and to help transform these ideas into concrete action. While it is strongly focused on the societal relevance of projects, CAT is entirely open-ended and non-thematic. The program supports basic research and encourages openness to non-academic actors (industry, policy makers, NGOs...) willing to help or engage in innovative research initiatives.
With few guidelines and a very light application process, CAT is designed to maximize the creativity of the groups. Collaboration between different institutes in different countries aims to give these groups access to a wide variety of top researchers and intellectuals in order to go beyond the current frontiers of knowledge and develop innovative ideas on how to address very complex societal issues.

How it works

CAT helps groups of 3 to 5 people from any discipline, led by an early-career researcher and possibly including PhD students, to work on their project for up to 3 years. To allow them to engage in conversation and mature their ideas, the groups have the opportunity to meet for short stays (two weeks maximum) at participating institutes, and to be put in contact with local residents and research communities.

The proposals sent by the groups are reviewed by the participating institutes and studied by experts. In the spirit of an open, non-telematic call, the way in which the teams understand the call and design their proposal is an evaluation criterion, as is the societal relevance of the proposal, the quality of the team, its organisation, the expected results and the innovative nature of the proposed approach to the problem under study.

11 participating institutes from 9 countries

  • Aarhus Institute for Advanced Study, Aarhus
  • CEU Institute for Advanced Study, Budapest
  • Israel Institute for Advanced Studies, Jerusalem
  • Madrid Institute for Advanced Study, Madrid
  • Montpellier Advanced Knowledge Institute on Transitions, Montpellier
  • Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study, Amsterdam
  • Paris Institute for Advanced Study, Paris
  • Scienza Nuova, Torino
  • Swedish Collegium for Advanced Study, Uppsala
  • Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin, Berlin
  • Zukunftskolleg, Konstanz

Selected projects for the Paris IAS

Five teams were given the opportunity to develop their interdisciplinary project at the Paris Institute for Advanced Study between 2021 and 2023.

“Unravelling existential suffering and its relation to depression in older adults: EXIST-well in nursing homes”, led by Jessie DEZUTTER, KU Leuven.

“Corruption and Anti-Corruption in Empirical Research: Critical Reflections on Concepts, Data and Methods”, led by Ilona WYSMULEK, Polish Academy of Sciences.

“Socio-ecological reshaping of European Cities and Metropolitan Areas” led by Joachim HACK, TU Darmstadt. More information: https://catreshapecities.wixsite.com/my-site

“Reconstituting Publics through Remembering Transitions: Facilitating Critical Engagement with the 1980-90s on Local and Transnational Scales”, led by Ksenia ROBBE, University of Groningen.

"Screening European Populisms (2008-2020). Audiovisual Fiction, Social Media, and Political Affect", led by Valerio COLADONATO, EHESS / Sapienza University of Rome.

Next call for applications

The fourth CAT call will be launched in summer 2022 for projects to be conducted in 2023-2025.
More information