3rd UBIAS Intercontinental Academia (ICA): Laws: Rigidity and Dynamics


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Call for Fellows Open June 15th - August 15th 2017

We invite applications to participate in the 3rd UBIAS
Intercontinental Academia (ICA): Laws: Rigidity and Dynamics
Singapore March 19-28 2018
Birmingham March 2019

Applications and informal enquiries should be submitted to:

The ICA seeks to create a global network of future research leaders by constructing an arena in which the very best early/mid-career scholars will work together on paradigm-shifting cross-disciplinary research, mentored by some of the most eminent researchers from across the globe.  The proposal to create an Intercontinental Academia was agreed by the Steering Committee of UBIAS (University-Based Institutes for Advanced Studies) and was the idea of the then director of the Israel IAS, Professor Eliezer Rabinovici. A key aspect is deriving the full benefit of the intercontinental origins of the endeavour and diversity of thought and culture. This immersive and intense 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; our aim is to make a real, yet volatile, intellectual cocktail that leads to meaningful outputs. 

The Structure

The academia is based around two intensive workshops held on different continents which provide space for learning about the inward perspective of each "subject", performing a comparative analysis of the panorama and searching for correlations among these different views and perspectives.  The scholars are guided during these workshops by an array of mentors who are themselves some of the most outstanding disciplinary and interdisciplinary researchers of our time.  Within the programme, the scholars will have the space to help to define the precise workshop structure and the outputs from the project (example: a book is envisaged).

The Theme

Laws: Rigidity and Dynamics has been selected to provide a forum and framework for the intellectual exchange.  The concept of laws has different meanings in different settings, cultures and to individuals. Yet 'laws' are common from Medicine to Linguistics, Chemistry to Music, History to Physics, Psychology to Economics, Engineering to Theatre and beyond.

This rich theme demands reflection, analysis and comparison, to elucidate the origins of laws and tensions among them:  When and why are they formed? When and why are they broken?  How is that common or different across disciplines and why?  Whether examining laws devised by humans, natural laws or the evolution of theory emerging from chaos and complexity into laws, there is potential for intense interactions between the disciplines and insight arising from that. 


We seek outstanding early/mid-career researchers, normally within 15 years of achieving their PhD, who hold a research post in academia, industry, charity, arts or other organisations, which are equivalent to academic post of Lecturer or above, or an individual Principal Investigator Fellowship.

 Most importantly the fellows should be willing and able to:

  • explore ideas in the theme outside their direct line of research
  • challenge world leaders of respective areas of knowledge
  • play a role in forging the programme and its academic outcomes

 Candidates are asked to provide:

  • a summary of their interest in the topic, their expectations and a project presentation outlining how they will contribute to the Intercontinental Academia  (max. 2 pages)
  • a current CV
  • a letter of endorsement from their institution/organisation with confirmation of financial support for travel. Accommodation and subsistence will be provided by the host IASs.

Applicants from LMIC countries who would like to participate but are unable to find funds for travel should contact (ICALaws@contacts.bham.ac.uk) for further advice.

Please note that presentations and discussions will be conducted in English and there will be no facilities for translation. 

Successful applicants will contribute to the design and structure of the workshops and must confirm commitment to attending both workshops.

The workshop in Singapore is 19-28 March 2018, and the workshop in Birmingham will take place in March 2019. 

Selection Procedure

Selection is based on a competitive application process. Up to fifteen applicants will be invited to participate in the program.  

The Organisers

Phua Kok Khoo, Director, Institute of Advanced Studies (IAS), Nanyang Technological University
Michael J Hannon, Director, Institute of Advanced Studies, University of Birmingham
Eliezer Rabinovici, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Vice President CERN Council
Kwek Leong Chuan, Deputy Director, IAS NTU and National University of Singapore
Lars Brink, Chalmers University of Technology, Gothenburg, Sweden


University of Birmingham Consulting Group

David Gange, History
Fiona de Londras, Professor of Global Legal Studies
Robin Mason, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (International) 
Jonathon Reinarz, Professor of the History of Medicine
Damien Walmsley, Professor in School of Dentistry

UoB consultants

UoB consultant Sue

Sue Gilligan, Project Co-Ordinator



Penelope Andrews

Professor Andrews is Dean at the University of Cape Town. Prior to joining UCT, she was the President and Dean at Albany Law School, USA and the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at the City University of New York. Penelope’s research is focused on equality and human rights.




Suzanne Blier

Suzanne is Allen Whitehill Clowes Professor of Fine Arts and of African and African American Studies, Harvard University is an historian of African art and architecture in both the History of Art and Architecture and African and African American Studies Departments. She also is a member of the Institute for Quantitative Social Science.  Her new book, Picasso’s Demoiselles: Africa, Sex, Origins, and Creativity, now in press, will appear in late 2017.


gearyPatrick Geary

Patrick is Andrew W. Mellon Professor at Princeton, Patrick Geary’s work extends over a vast range of topics in medieval history, both chronologically and conceptually—from religiosity and social memory to language, ethnicity, social structure, and political organization. 




David Gross

2004 Nobel Laureate in Physics, Professor Gross is Permanent Member and holder of the Chancellor's Chair Santa Barbara, U.S.A. and Professor of Theoretical Physics at the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics.




Anthony Julius

Professor Julius is a highly regarded litigation lawyer – currently Deputy Chairman of Mishcon de Reya (UK) and an acknowledged legal expert on defamation, privacy and reputation management. He is also a noted scholar and author who has written extensively on law, literature, art, and culture. Professor Julius has recently joined UCL as the inaugural Chair in Law and the Arts.


kalaiGil Kalai

Gil Kalai is the Henry and Manya Noskwith Professor of Mathematics at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and Professor of mathematics and of computer science at Yale University.



lehnJean Marie Lehn  

Professor Lehn is 1987 Nobel Laureate in Chemistry, together with Donald Cram and Charles J. Pedersen. Jean-Marie is Professor at the University of Strasbourg Institute for Advanced Study (USIAS), Honorary Professor at the Collège de France in Paris and Emeritus Professor at the University of Strasbourg. 



Professor Rank conducts research on numerical mechanics and building informatics. He is Director of the Institute for Advanced Study (IAS) of TUM Munich having been First Vice President of TUM from 2002-8, founding Director of the International Graduate School of Science and Engineering (IGSSE) (2006), Chairman of the University Council of TU Dortmund (2007) and Director of the TUM Graduate School from 2008-13. 


rothsteinBo Rothstein

Professor Rothstein is an internationally acclaimed Swedish political scientist who is a Professor of Government and Public Policy at University of Oxford's Blavatnik School of Government. Until 2015 he held the August Röhss Chair in Political Science at University of Gothenburg. 



yonathAda Yonath

Professor Yonath is the director of the Helen and Milton A. Kimmelman Center for Biomolecular Structure and Assembly of the Weizmann Institute of Science. She is 2009 Nobel Laureate in Chemistry for her studies on the structure and function of the ribosome.


The Institutes


The Institute of Advanced Studies (IAS) was established in July 2005 to provide NTU's science and technology initiatives with a "Nobel boost" and to establish the hallmarks of science at the highest level. IAS is advised and guided by a committee of world-renowned scientists, including 11 Nobel Laureates and a Fields Medalist. Mr George Yeo, Former Minister for Foreign Affairs, is currently the Patron of IAS.IAS at NTU is generally regarded as one of the best Institutes of Advanced Studies in the Asia Pacific region. The Institute hosts a significant number of Nobel Laureates and Fields Medalists every year and organizes a large number of high impact, international conferences, workshops and schools across many disciplines in the Asia Pacific region.  The Institute has helped to forge interdisciplinary research and close collaboration between NTU and major centres of research around the world, and it has inspired numerous talented youths through its many programs and allowed them to interact closely with eminent visitors and speakers around the world. The multidisciplinary topics include physics, chemistry, engineering, biomedical imaging, materials science, maths, liberal arts, urban planning, etc.By establishing its close rapport with active scientists and distinguished scholars from all disciplines, IAS hopes to promote Singapore as a hub for international research and development.

IAS logo

The Institute of Advanced Studies (IAS) aims to promote interdisciplinary research by combining expertise from across the breadth of the University of Birmingham to address major cross-cutting themes that are important, relevant and timely. Established as a dynamic and creative part of the University of Birmingham's research landscape, the Institute of Advanced Studies continues to harness intellectual capital across the University and beyond to the wider international community.



The Institutes of Advanced Studies at University of Birmingham and NTU Singapore are part of a network of IASs across the world - UBIAS. One of the most successful initiatives developed between the members of this group is the Intercontinental Academia (ICA) where ‘scientific exchange’ between generations, disciplines, cultures and continents takes place around a topic or theme.The proposal to create the Intercontinental Academia was accepted at the meeting of the Steering Committee of UBIAS held in March 2012 at the Institute for Advanced Study Jawaharlal Nehru, in New Delhi, India. The initial idea was of the then director of the IAS Israel, Eliezer Rabinovici. The IEA-USP and the IAR (Institute for Advanced Research) of the NagoyaUniversity felt motivated by the insight of the Israeli scientist and decided to be behind the pilot project for this initiative, which operated as a joint venture.

UBIAS 1The members of UBIAS's Steering Committee during the meeting in New Delhi, 2012.

ICA 1 on the topic Time was held at University of Sao Paulo and Nagoya University (São Paulo April 2015Nagoya 2016) and ICA2 on the topic Human Dignity was held at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Bielefeld University (Jerusalem March 6-18 2016,  Bielefeld August 2016). 

UBIAS 2 The participants of the Time Intercontinental Academia

UBIAS 3The participants of the Human Dignity Intercontinental Academia