Aarhus University inaugurates a new world centre for outstanding researchers

Starting Thursday 13 June, the University Park in Aarhus will offer excellent researchers from all over the world a new space for intellectual freedom and exploration. On this date, Aarhus University will open the doors of the Aarhus Institute of Advanced Studies (AIAS), where outstanding Danish and international researchers will be able to devote themselves to their research in an attractive environment. AIAS is the first institute of its kind in Denmark: a bold initiative that will place Aarhus University on the world map of research.

AIAs fellows will come from all over the world - and from all four corners of the world of research. AIAS will provide up to 35 researchers at a time the freedom to immerse themselves in their work for a period of several years. AIAS does not interfere in the content, purpose, aims and method of the research performed at the institute. The only requirement researchers must live up to is excellence.

"With AIAS, Aarhus University has gained a unique opportunity to attract researchers of the highest calibre and to give them freedom to devote themselves to their work and to develop collaborative relationships. What field of study these researchers come from is irrelevant - but their research must be outstanding. This model has been successfully applied at a select few of of the world's leading universities,for example at Princeton University, but never before in Denmark," explains Lauritz B. Holm-Nielsen, rector of Aarhus University.

For Aarhus University, AIAS is a long-term investment that will provide returns in the form of strong international relationships and networks for many years to come.

"AIAS will help place Aarhus University on the mental map of research - as a place that emphasises the importance of independent basic research, and where researchers of the highest international standard have the opportunity to work under such favourable conditions that they’ll be able to take decisive steps forward in their research. Later on, of course, they will remember that those steps were taken at Aarhus University. But what AIAS is ultimately about is Aarhus University’s desire to encourage the production of strong research results - both in Denmark and in an international perspective,” says Morten Kyndrup, director of AIAS, Aarhus University.

Why Aarhus?

In addition to freedom of research, AIAS offers its research fellows access to facilities of an unusually high standard.

“Aarhus is obviously not Paris, and even though Aarhus University is doing very well internationally and has become quite a sizeable institution, we can’t yet compare ourselves with Cambridge or Harvard. But we can point to the fact that we have the courage to launch major new initiatives. What we’ve achieved with AIAS is attractive by any measure, even in comparison with similar institutes abroad. But the truly decisive factor will be the unparalleled intellectual atmosphere at AIAS. We are striving to create an inspiring, open and friendly environment, both among our fellows internally as well as in relation to the other researchers at Aarhus University," says Morten Kyndrup.

A different kind of time

Dr Cheryl Mattingly, professor of anthropology at the University of Southern California, is one of the first researchers to receive a three-year Dale T. Mortensen senior fellowship at AIAS.

“AIAs gives me time. A completely different kind of time than we’re used to in our daily academic work with teaching, administrative tasks and meetings. Here, I have time for research, for in-depth study and for exciting conversations with colleagues. This has a definite effect on the atmosphere here at AIAS. The researchers who’ve moved in are a happy, excited flock. I hope that my stay here will help establish some long-term relations between Aarhus University and my own university," says Cheryl Mattingly.


The AIAS opening ceremony will take place on Thursday 13 June 2013 at 14.00 at the AIAS building (building 1630-1632), Høegh-Guldbergs Gade 6B, 8000 Aarhus C, Denmark.