IMéRA┋Institute for Advanced Study

Aix*Marseille University - AMU


In 1930, the first Institute of Advanced Studies was founded in Princeton, New Jersey. The mission and ambitions were clear from the beginning. It was a matter of creating a “paradise for scientists”: a small but comfortable place, simple and almost monacal, far enough from the pressures of reality to allow its residents to devote themselves exclusively to their activities in total freedom. The institute was open to the best scientists in the world – regardless of race, sex, religion, nationality and discipline – provided that their research was motivated solely by intellectual curiosity, and not by the intention to produce useful practical effects.

The idea of an institute of advanced studies has therefore emerged both as a scientific utopia – to create the best possible university – and as a critique of existing academic institutions – to invent another type of university. Today, there are more than 100 institutes of advanced studies on the planet, nearly ten of which are located in France. Everyone interprets and realizes in their own way the visionary project that Abraham Flexner shaped at Princeton almost a century ago.

Positioning of the IAS of Aix-Marseille University

Founded in 2007, the Iméra, Institute of Advanced Studies (IEA) of Aix-Marseille University is today conceived as a sanctuary of intellectual freedom where a temporary community of high-level international scientists and artists can find the time, the space and resources needed to discover, individually and with others, new meaning and content for original interdisciplinary research.

In a place where conditions are so different from the ordinary academic and artistic routine, important ideas and works may emerge. Creations capable of modifying the boundaries and the established paradigms, or even significantly transforming the most widespread frameworks today to think and act.

For a diversity of fellows figures

To accomplish this ambitious mission, the Iméra scientific strategy aims to give shape and body each year to a rich and plural group of researchers: an international community, interdisciplinary, free but anchored at the same time in the scientific and artistic context of Aix-Marseille. Specific calls allow to invite figures of different residents in terms of the origin, the duration of the stay, the scope of the proposed research project: researchers in annual residence; teachers-researchersresearchers from Aix-Marseille University in Congé-Recherche within Iméra.

The selection of applications is guided by demanding standards of excellence, without however obsequiously respecting the quantity and impact indicators that haunt mainstream research institutions today.

Courage and intellectual curiosity, the desire to discover, a strong interdisciplinary element, also declined as an ethics of respect and collective collaboration, are also criteria adopted in the evaluation of files.

Between research work and life experiences within the IAS of Aix-Marseille University

The traditionally blue sky character of research conducted in an institute of advanced studies takes to the Imera, Institute of Advanced Studies (IEA) Aix-Marseille University the form of the four research programs designed and coordinated by the program directors and the scientific coordinator: «Arts et sciences : savoirs indisciplinés»«Explorations interdisciplinaires»«Méditerranée»«Utopies nécessaires».

The programmes are sufficiently broad and welcoming thematic frameworks so as not to exclude a priori any proposal for a research project from candidates for a residence. But at the same time, they are sufficiently defined to allow convergences of affinity, opportunities for discussion and shared work to be created within the community of residents, as much as in the exchanges with the Iméra scientific team and the university and artistic institutions of Aix-Marseille.

Interdisciplinarity in action also takes place between residents

In this perspective the CBS (Community Building Seminar), the only obligatory time of activity for each resident, which takes place regularly during the year, is intended as a moment of mutual knowledge, meetings and exchanges sometimes unexpected, a real collective intelligence device. The same applies to scientific and artistic events that residents can organize with the collaboration of the Iméra team, as well as other researchers with whom they work.

A space of freedom and intellectual creativity that protects from the excessive pressures of institutions and reality, an institute of advanced studies is not necessarily a place where worship of a form, self-centred individualism, no matter how great it is. Rather, it is a place that invites its residents to find a balance between autonomy and collaboration, in a framework of life and work-sharing, for a limited but not fleeting period of time in its effects, and which may well prove to be crucial for someone.

The possibilities offered by the Institut d’études avancées d’Aix-Marseille Université

Since Princeton was created, people who have the responsibility and the privilege to give life and meaning to an institute of advanced studies are wondering about the best conditions for a researcher to be able to complete his projects and aspirations at best.

In this sense, at the IAS of Aix-Marseille University we are working collectively to make a mixture, everything to invent, of curiosity for each other and a taste for solitude, of passion for research and of right to confess without fear his ignorance and curiosity in front of the treasure of knowledge and existences that each promotion of residents conceals. In the hope of creating and discovering something important and sensible, individually and with others.

Europe : France (South-East)
Institution type
French Institutions : Institute for advanced study

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Expired calls