The Paris IAS is pleased to share its activity report for the year 2021.
A word from the Director
I am pleased to preface this thick report, which gives an account of the sustained and fruitful activity of the Institute. Despite some ups and downs (another Covid year!), we hosted 51 researchers, held a large number of events (84, just short of the usual 100), and produced some fine research. This year saw the first researchers selected for the European FIAS (French Institutes for Advanced Studies) program stay at IAS. As I write, we can say that it was an excellent cohort.
In 2021 we have set up new formats: the Intercontinental Academia 4 (ICA4) on natural and artificial intelligence, with its eminent assembly of brilliant fellows and mentors, whose list of scientific prizes (Nobel, etc.) alone would be longer than the space given to me here. The ICA4 is a great scientific achievement, but also a technical feat (some 40 participants in Paris, others in hybrid on five continents, and on-site sessions in three of our member institutions, Sorbonne Université, the École normale supérieure and the Université Paris-Saclay), made possible thanks to the support of the French Network of Institutes for Advanced Study. We can also mention the organization by the Institute, with the support of the Fondation Maison des sciences de l'homme, of the first international conference on the impact of the Covid pandemic on societies (WPRN21) -in the form of an online ‘flip conference' allowing researchers from all over the world, and in particular from the global South, to participate free of charge. Or the first experiments of meeting and working in our experimental metaverse. These experiences have allowed the Institute to develop specialized skills in the field of digital collaboration, which increases its interest as a platform for collective intelligence for its members.
The Institute is doing well. By offering, thanks to the City of Paris, our academic members and French and European funding, a space for transdisciplinary reflection to the best international and French researchers, the Paris Institute for Advanced Study makes it possible to address major scientific and societal problems in depth. This is a real emergency: the series of major crises of the 21st century has already begun. To face the challenges ahead, the world needs the humanities and social sciences more than ever, and the Institute must contribute. Our series of intersectoral meetings ‘Acting in Times of Crisis' in partnership with the École Pratique des Hautes Études has been a great success; we will continue it in 2022. The Positive Future project, in collaboration with the 2100 Foundation and the Swedish Institute for Future Studies, has helped build and disseminate visions of desirable but realistic futures. Above all, we will continue to favor, in the selection of our fellows, projects that have a potentially strong societal impact, to help make Paris the place where tomorrow's world is scientifically thought out.
Director of the Paris IAS