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The work of IASH is inspired by the challenge that to understand the world properly we need humanities research. Here at IASH we understand the word ‘humanities’ in the broadest sense to include both ‘pure’ and ‘applied’ humanities. In other words, we include also the social sciences, and legal research. We encompass all forms of enquiry into the human condition, or attempts to further human knowledge, excluding only those which need the support of laboratories. Research @ IASH will help us to understand who we are, where we come from, how we live together, and where we might go in the future.

Interdisciplinarity is particularly important. We believe that it is interdisciplinary research and dialogues between scholars of different backgrounds which will open up new spaces for research in the future. We offer a space where critical thinking can be free to go beyond the traditional compartmentalisations and cross disciplinary boundaries, in a spirit of innovation and experimentation.

We encourage work that is inventive and exploratory, and especially work that forges links between the humanities and the interpretive or historical social sciences, and between the humanities in this broad sense and the medical, natural and technological sciences.

For an overview of our recent activities, see the Institute’s 2014-2015 Annual Report.

Connections on campus

We take full advantage of our location within the College of Humanities and Social Science, where world leading researchers across eleven Schools undertake highly regarded and impactful work, often within the framework of exciting interdisciplinary Centres and Institutes and with the support of funding from the world’s most prestigious funders such as the European Research Council and Research Councils UK.

However, we don’t limit our connections just to the College of Humanities and Social Science. Like Edinburgh’s innovative Global Academies, we also work with colleagues right across the University.

Collaborations with institutions in Edinburgh

We also have collaborative links with a number of Edinburgh’s cultural institutions, including the National Museums of Scotland, the National Galleries of Scotland, the National Library of Scotland, the National Archives of Scotland, and the Royal Society of Edinburgh.

Within the Institute

At the core of the Institute is a group of Fellows, in residence for periods ranging from two to ten months and working on individual research programmes, often in conjunction with individuals and groups across the College. All our postdoctoral Fellows have support from a mentor who will be a world leading academic working in a related field. Fellows make public presentations of their work and are expected to publish the results in due course. We aim to stay in touch with Fellows after they leave, to see how their stay at IASH has benefited them as they develop their careers in research, in academia, or elsewhere.

IASH also supports programmes of work, led by research groups based in the different Schools, which aim to strengthen Edinburgh’s international networks and trigger new collaborations across borders.