Collegium Budapest, an Institute for Advanced Study and a Centre of Excellence
Collegium Budapest has been operating since 1992. The purpose of Collegium Budapest is to promote culture and the sciences by giving internationally recognized academics and young researchers an opportunity to pursue research of their choice in an international, intellectually stimulating environment. Following the model of the pioneering Princeton Institute for Advanced Study, the Wissenschaftskolleg in Berlin, the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study in Wassenaar (NIAS), the Swedish Collegium for Advanced Study in the Social Sciences in Uppsala (SCASSS) and other similar institutions (see list of related institutions on the Networking page), Collegium Budapest is the first IAS-type institute in the post-communist region. By inviting outstanding scholars from all over the world to Budapest and offering them a common temporary workplace in the intimate medieval Castle district, the institute strove to rebuild - after 50-year-long isolation - the international contacts of scholars and academic institutions in the CEE region. In the course of these 17 years, Collegium Budapest has emerged as a major international academic centre and a model for new forms of academic co-operation, where such core research and fundamental scholarship are fostered that enable the institute to significantly contribute to the stemming of brain drain still prevailing in the region. It has given birth to many innovative, individual and institutional joint projects conducted by scholars from Europe and beyond.
As an adaptation of the Princeton model, Collegium Budapest represents a new type of institute that differs as much from universities as it does from specialized research institutes. It offers its Fellows the exceptional opportunity to be temporarily relieved from administrative and teaching obligations; something that allows them to fully focus on their chosen research plan, be it individual, or teamwork.
Over the last 18 years, CB has invited reputed scholars for a maximum of one academic year (10 months) to work on their individual projects. So far, about 25-30 invited Fellows have worked at Collegium Budapest each year. Over the entire 18-year period, nearly 700 scholars have worked at the institute.
As of academic year 2003/04, Collegium Budapest has instituted a new and more productive selection mechanism. Now, half of its guests, called "Core Fellows", are invited to pursue their own research. In this category, some 10 to 15 scholars, of them three to five Junior Fellows (pre- or post-doctoral) [Junior Fellowship], can be invited on an annual basis. When selecting our Fellows, it is important that all disciplines of traditional scholarly fields are represented, be it the humanities, the social sciences or the theoretical natural sciences. In order to draw scholars into the atmosphere of Collegium Budapest, we offer more concentrated and focused research themes that can be elaborated at the institute. The pool of research lines is defined by Collegium Budapest and it plays an important, but not exclusive role in selecting Fellows. These focused research topics provide a forum of discussion for Fellows who come from various backgrounds and work in diverse fields.
Part-time (or Associate) Fellows from Budapest, who work on a focused theme, are also integral members of these groups of scholars. They, in fact, establish city-grown connections with the local academic and cultural community.
In addition to the above-mentioned core and part-time fellowships, CB also hosts research projects. The interdisciplinary group of scholars who take part in these projects, called "Resident Scholars", usually follow a well-defined research agenda. These intellectually highly stimulating groups are frequently - although not solely - convened by the Permanent Fellows of Collegium Budapest, and represent the many different issues and themes the institute specializes at and wants to explore. Imre Kondor (physics, economics) resigned from his position of Permanent Fellow not long ago. Current Permanent Fellows include:
and Permanent Fellow Emeritus
Other successfully completed academic programs include ECAgents (Embedded and Communicating Agents), one winning EU project, with the Hungarian team headed by Eörs Szathmáry, EVERGROW: (Ever-Growing Global Scale-Free Networks, their Provisioning, Repair and Unique Functions), with the Hungarian team headed by Collegium Budapest Former Fellow Gábor Vattay, and ASTROBIOLOGY OF MARS, 2003-2007, also headed by Eörs Szathmáry. In addition to these projects, two more programmes started at the institute, both were related to ECAgents and EVERGROW. One was the so-called NAP project, started from the funds won - via a competition - from the National Research and Technology Office (NKTH) in 2005 and completed in 2008. The second project ran with the title 'Philosophy and Praxis of Complex Systems', and was pursued within a winning FP6 Programme QosCosGrid or Quasi Opportunistic Supercomputing for Complex Systems in Grid Environments. It terminated in June 2009. Other projects -- starting and/or completed in 2007 -- include Exile (Between Home and Host Cultures: Twentieth-Century East European Writers in Exile) funded by the Fritz Thyssen Foundation, organized in cooperation with the Pasts Inc. Institute for Historical Studies, CEU; as well as the still ongoing MANMADE (Diagnosing Vulnerability of emergent phenomena and volatility in in man-made networks), an FP 6 Project of the European Commission; and INCORE (Integrating Cooperation Research across Europe) Coordination Action financed by the European Commission. The latter closed successfully in autumn 2010.
In Academic Year 2008/2009 two Focus Groups were successfully completed. One titled "Medievalism,
Archaic Origins and Regimes of Historicity Alternatives to Antique
In the Nineteenth Century in East-Central, Southeast and Northern Europe" (convened
by Patrick Geary and Gábor Klaniczay) and was supported
by the Bank of Sweden Tercentenary Foundation. It was dedicated
to explore the uses of the vestiges of "archaic" origins
and the cultural heritage of the Middle Ages in the national self-image
the humanities in the nineteenth century. The other one bore the title "Archaeology
and imagination: archaeological objects in literature, art and the study
of modernity" (convened by Éva Kocziszky) and was supported by the
Fritz Thyssen Stiftung. Research focused on the pragmatic and discursive
of the cultural - literary, artistic and scholarly - conveyance of the
archaeological objects and monuments of Antiquity.
A third Focus Group started in that academic year, a natural scientific one. It continued functioning in 2009/2010 and is scheduled to be completed in 2013. It is, in fact, the continuation of the highly successful, above-described 'Astrobiology of Mars' group funded by the European Space Agency (ESA). This Focus Group, titled 'Astrobiology Potential of Mars', (also financed by ESA), the related project of which is titled "Mars Express, Dark Dune Spots and the Astrobiology Potential of Mars", focuses on the further analysis of Dark Dune Spots with emphasis on the possibility that liquid water exists there on the one hand, and on cryptobiotic communities as earthly analogues, on the other.
The Collegium hosted a new Focus Group between January and July 2010 with the title 'CLASSICS AND COMMUNISM - GNÔTHI SEAUTON! (The History of the Studies on Antiquity in the Context of the Local Classical Tradition - The Socialist Countries 1944/45-1989/90'), supported by the Fritz Thyssen Stiftung.
In order to enrich Fellows' discussions, the Rector of Collegium Budapest invites guest speakers of high repute - famous scholars, Nobel laureates and public personalities - to visit the institute. Collegium Budapest organizes public lectures, additional workshops and smaller conferences, which do not only facilitate interaction among Fellows, but also contribute to the revival of Budapest's intellectual life. Over the last few years the following guest speakers have delivered public lectures at the institute: Paul Hollander, Stuart Kauffman, Manuel Castells, Robert Solow, Ilya Prigogine, Saul Bellow, Edmond Malinvaud, Georges Duby, Natalie Zemon Davis, Bronislav Geremek, Andrei Plesu, Jozsef Antall, etc.
To provide accommodation for Fellows and their families, the Collegium received in 1999 a donation of 4.5 million Euros from the Wallenberg Foundations from Sweden to finance the construction of the "Raoul Wallenberg Guesthouse of Collegium Budapest". A total of 26 apartments of various sizes - 45-95 sqm - are available for invited Fellows, guests of the institute and guest scholars of other Budapest academic institutions.