The Intercontinental Academia (ICA) creates a global network of future research leaders in which some of the very best young academics work together on paradigm-shifting, cross-disciplinary research, mentored by eminent researchers from across the globe.
ICA was brought to life by the coalition of University-Based Institutes for Advanced Study (UBIAS). Initiated in 2010, UBIAS counts 44 member institutes which, next to being international environments for exceptional research, contribute to the academic achievements of their respective home universities. The conference is one of the many projects through which UBIAS connects outstanding researchers from across the globe, championing intercultural awareness, mutual exchange, and innovation.
During the Intercontinental Academia, participants get together in three sessions over the course of one year. The experience is expected to transform the scholar's’ own approach to research, enhance their awareness of the work, relevance and potential impact of other disciplines, and to inspire and facilitate new collaborations between distant disciplines. The aim is to make a real, yet volatile, intellectual cocktail leading to meaningful exchange and long-lasting outputs.
Previous editions of ICA have had great success in building bridges between continents, cultures, and disciplines:
The pilot project for the Intercontinental Academia operated as a joint venture of IEA-USP (Sao Paulo, Brasil) and the IAR (Institute for Advanced Research) of the Nagoya University (Nagoya, Japan). This edition was guided by three goals: to stimulate joint research among UBIAS members; to establish cooperation networks among the next generation’s scientific leaders; and to explore new forms of collective academic practices and new formats of scientific training, collaboration and dissemination. Cyclical or linear, measurable or incalculable, vast or microscopic, eternal or finite, relativist or absolute, time as a concept (or a reality) affects us all. From astrophysics to chronobiology, from philosophy to anthropology, participants have expanded on this issue in their varied disciplines exploring how time plays a pivotal role in shaping the world around us, and consequently shaping our understanding of it. The meetings led to the filming of a MOOC on Time and a documentary that sums up this first edition of ICA.
The second edition of ICA was a collaboration between the Israel Institute for Advanced Studies of the Hebrew University Jerusalem (IIAS), and the Zentrum für interdisziplinäre Forschung (ZiF) of Bielefeld University. ICA2 aimed to promote an unprecedented interdisciplinary dialogue on human dignity and to initiate further cooperation between participants with diverse scientific and cultural backgrounds. Discussing crucial ethical, practical, and historical debates of interdisciplinary nature and societal importance, this edition of ICA resulted in lasting cooperation between the parties involved. It culminated in a third colloquium hosted by the Johannesburg Institute for Advanced Study (JIAS) at the University of Johannesburg, South Africa, in 2019.
The third edition of ICA was a joint venture of The Nanyang Technological University IAS in Singapore and The University of Birmingham IAS in Birmingham, UK. The goal of ICA3 was to look at laws in different fields of study (natural and physical, social and political...), encouraging researchers to find commonalities between seemingly distant disciplines and to open minds to new methods of investigation. Looking at laws and tensions that arise from them, participants questioned how laws originate, how and why they are broken, as well as the enforcement or manifestation thereof across various disciplines. Two years later, some participants are still in touch and working on joint projects with researchers they have met at ICA3.