Search Fellows HERE.

Former Projects and Focus Groups

Projects are listed in a chronological order, details follow below list:

Between Home and Host Cultures: Twentieth-Century East European Writers in Exile
European Perspective of Student Loan Systems
Nations and Their Others
We, the People
Multiple Antiquities and Multiple Modernities
Precursors to Culture
Honesty and Trust
The State of Three Social Science Disciplines in Central and Eastern Europe
Focus Groups Index Page

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), Focus Group project supported by the Fritz Thyssen Stiftung (January - June 2010)

Focus Group Conveners:
Axer, Jerzy (Institute of Classics, University of Warsaw/Warsaw Theatre
Academy), Karsai, György (Department of Classical Philology, Pécs University, Hungary) and Klaniczay, Gábor (Collegium Budapest)

The period between September and December 2010 was the closing period of the project with preparations of a volume on the work of the Focus Group, and with summarising the results of the June conference.

The content of the Focus Group follows here:

In the Eastern part of Europe, the study of classical Antiquity (philology, archaeology, history, etc.) has been a most successful and worldwide acknowledged field of research since the nineteenth century. In Hungary, for instance, the interest in the Roman imperial period (first to fifth century AD) took its origin in the history of the Roman Empire, where provincial Pannonia played an important role as the North-Eastern limes, the borderterritory of the Empire. Just to illustrate the complexity of the meaning of the term “classical philology” in this part of Europe, the same period – and even the one preceding it – became an essential field of research in Romania, where the ideology of Great Romania was founded on the basis of the so-called “Daco-Roman theory”. This theory attempted to prove that the territory of the present Romanian state had – since the early Antiquity – belonged to the ancestors of the Romanian people. This question, among others, became a crucial point in the discussions between the two countries throughout the whole twentieth century.

The arrival of the Soviet-Communist dominance fell on different soil in the different countries, and accordingly, the strategies that the new authorities applied towards studies of Antiquity were also different. Within the framework of this research, scholars did not only obtain knowledge about the community professionally involved in the study of Antiquity, but they also applied a very interesting and as yet unutilized tool for identifying the similarities and the differences in the cultural traditions of the nations that were driven into the “camp of Socialist countries”.

The project aimed to discover and explore the history of classical philology after the Second World War and that not only in Hungary but also in the whole “camp of Socialist countries”. Working together with colleagues in other ex-Socialist countries and sharing their common experience uncovered the history of this important domain of European culture under the Communist period; a subject examined in details before.

In all Socialist countries, there were eminent scholars who – because of ideological reasons; their supposed or real opposition to the Communist system – were banished from the institutional frames of classical philology (universities, academies), if not even from their country. They include Károly Kerényi in Hungary, Jan Patočka in Czechoslovakia, etc. A set of comparative case-studies discovered the mechanisms adopted to put an end to the careers of those classical philologists who were deemed dangerous for the development of Communism.

Work involved country studies and national surveys. Within the framework of country studies, two issues were explored in great detail: one is classical philology in Hungary after World War II., and the other is the position of classical philology in Poland after World War II. As for national surveys, classical studies were explored in the following countries: Germany, Romania, Bulgaria, Lithuania, the Czech Republic, Ukraine, Russia and Yugoslavia.

The majority of the Fellows were present between April and June 2010, and the research results were discussed in a series of seminars during this period and a conference at the end of June 2010. For more details please click here.

Participating Fellows:
Borhy, László; Archaeology (Budapest); Dummer, Jürgen; Classical Philology (Jena); Gaspar, Christian; Medieval Studies (Timisoara); Gochev, Nikolai; Ancient Greek Literature (Sofia); Hajdu, Péter; Literature (Budapest); Jovanovič, Milena; Classical Philology (Belgrade); Movrin, David; Classical Philology (Ljubljana).

Visiting Scholars: Budaragina, Olga; Classical Philology (St. Petersburg); Juchneviciene, Nilojé; Ancient Greek Historiography (Vilnius); Moural, Josef; Philosphy (Prague); Olechowska, Ezbieta; Classical Philology (Warsaw); and Wolodkiewicz, Witold; Roman Law (Warsaw).


INCORE (Integrating Cooperation Research across Europe -- Coordination Action) financed by the European Commission and the Hungarian work coordinated by Eörs Szathmáry (March 2007 - October 2010)

The objectives of this coordination action were, first, to draw up a strategic picture of research into cooperation across Europe; second, to bring diverse disciplines together in this enterprise; third, to bring the following entities into the field of research on cooperation: young scientists, groups from Eastern Europe, and women scientists in particular. This partnership comprised 27 members, from all parts of Europe, including representatives from many recent members of the Union including Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic, as well as Romania and Associated States (Switzerland). Participants analysed and integrated recent developments in cooperation research from a broad theoretical perspective, with a view to drawing up a roadmap for future European research in this critical area of human activity. The study of cooperation encompassed a very wide range of expertise, from economic theory, mathematical modeling, molecular genetics, and evolutionary biology to the behavioural sciences, incorporating both animal and human studies. A deep understanding of human cooperation requires analysts to take a comprehensive view of the components of cooperation, and to foster a dialogue between groups who rarely communicate with each other about their different perspectives on this quintessentially human characteristic. In this Coordination Action participants aimed to build a Europe-wide network of groups who are studying the phenomenon of cooperation from many different perspectives, and with diverse areas of expertise. They built up this network on the backbone of a number of STREPS supported within the FP6 NEST funding stream, under the rubric 'What it means to be Human'. Participants aimed to reach out to researchers who were not part of a EU-funded consortium, in order to foster their scientific development and to raise standards within Eastern Europe in particular. It was a major objective of this project to encourage young researchers to learn about the opportunities available within the scientific community studying cooperation. They aimed to identify women scientists whose careers may be directed and assisted by joining INCORE. They held collaborative meetings, facilitated exchanges of scientific staff, and funded studentships aimed at fostering collaborative pursuits in diverse countries and disciplines. Fore more on this project please click here.

Hungarian Partner: Dr. Szathmáry, Eörs (Permanent Fellow of Collegium Budapest).


Archaeology and imagination: archaeological objects in literature, art and the study of modernity, financed by the Fritz Thyssen Foundation (Apr. 2009 - Jul. 2009)

This interdisciplinary research project was one of those initiatives in cultural studies that are also called "Problemgeschichte". Research focused on the pragmatic and discursive aspects of the cultural - literary, artistic and scholarly - conveyance of the archaeological objects and monuments of Antiquity. The project aimed to tightly connect the perception of Antiquity to its reception with the first being interpreted in the context of the second. It primarily focused on our time; but inevitably took a look at the beginning of Modernity, specifically, when, upon its emergence, it defined itself in contrast to Antiquity. The international Focus Group examined ruin landscapes and ruins themselves, as well as archaeological objects of Antiquity as to how they are being conveyed. It also presented the individual perception of their alienation ranging from discourses of nostalgia to a late modern irritation about the past. A further important feature of the project was the interrelatedness of science and productive imagination that was not only thematised scientifically, but which, with the involvement of contemporary artists and poets, also served as a dialogical method of work. The research group comprised representatives of culture, art history, archaeology and history, as well as an artist. They spent four months together carrying out research and discussions, and will summarise their findings in a book. Work focused on the following four theme groups: Archaeological and artistic, as well as poetic imagination; Literature and archaeology, the archaeological material world and poetic imagination, image and text; The construction of ruin landscapes; archaeological relics in the society of "open spaces", science in a social-political context; and Antiquity and the Orient. For more details on this project click here.

Focus Group convener was Éva Kocziszky (West Hungary University, Szombathely). Other participants included Elena Agazzi (Bergamo, Italy), Irene Barbiera (Padova University, Italy), Daniel Baric (François-Rabelais Tours University, Tours, France), Elisabeth Decultot (Paris, France), Maurizio Harari (University of Pavia, Italy), Susanne Marchand (Lousiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA, U.S.A.), and Alain Richard Schnapp (Université Paris I, France ) and Barbara Stafford (Chicago, IL, U.S.A.)

'Philosophy and Praxis of Complex Systems' focus group pursued within the framework of 'QosCosGrid': (Quasi-Opportunistic Supercomputing for Complex Systems in Grid Environments) financed by the European Commission's FP6 Framework Programme (January 2007 - June 2009)

Many real-world systems involve large numbers of highly interconnected heterogeneous elements. Such structures, known as complex systems (CS), typically exhibit non-linear behaviour and emergence. While Europe's developing knowledge industry requires an understanding of complex systems, the traditional reductionist approach used by science is challenged to give any answers. A more holistic approach is needed to explore these behaviours. The methodologies used to understand their properties involve modelling, simulation and often require considerable computational resources such that only supercomputers can deliver. Currently there is no grid technology with the capability to harness the available grid resources and provide computational equivalent to a supercomputer service. The aim of QosCosGrid is to develop core grid technology capable of providing quasi-opportunistic supercomputing grid services and technology. The focus group 'Philosophy and Praxis of Complex Systems' pursued within the framework QosCosGrid seeks to improve our ability to predict and control the behaviour of complex systems, with special emphasis on the open-ended evolution of their novel functional features. The group has been convened by Prof. George Kampis, Chair of History and Philosophy of Science at Eötvös University, and President of the Hungarian Foundation for Cognitive Science. He is a philosopher of science focusing on a wide variety of topics ranging from Darwin through the philosophy of biology, issues of science-and-religion, causality and complex systems, to computer modelling. For more details please visit the EvolutionaryTechnology website or the QosCosGrid research consortium website. More on complex systems and agent-based modeling using the gridABM toolkit here.

CB Fellows working on the project:

Project leader is György Kampis (Philosophy of Science); other research fellows: László Gulyás (Computer Science), Walter de Back (Cognitive Artificial Intelligence), Sándor Soós (Philosophy of Science), and Gábor Szemes (Computer Science).

Medievalism, archaic origins and regimes of historicity. Alternatives to Antique tradition in the nineteenth century in East-Central, Southeast and Northern Europe a focus group financed by the Bank of Sweden Tercentenary Foundation (Jan. 2009 - Mar. 2009)

This focus group 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 developed by the humanities in the nineteenth century. The Napoleonic cult of Roman or Egyptian Antiquity, and the rival varieties of nineteenth-century "ational antiquities" were paralleled and occasionally superseded by a newfangled admiration of archaic barbarian vestiges and medieval (Romanesque-Gothic) heritage. These traditions, because of their ethnic and local-regional taint, were more prone to become building blocks of the self-affirming national identities than the universalist legacy of classical antiquity. The project analysed the varieties of this reaction against the cult of classical traditions in nineteenth-century Europe in a comparative context. Such manifestations were obviously virulent in those regions where the "classical roots" were weaker or fully inexistent (Northern and East-Central Europe). Still, they were perhaps the most articulated in the influential "intermediary" zone of Germany, and they were not absent from such classically based territories as France (with its Gallic tradition) and Great-Britain (with its Celtic, Gaelic traditions) or South-Eastern Europe (where existing classical vestiges mingled with trends of Orientalism in the Ottoman Empire or the Bulgarian interest in oriental, Turkic Proto-Bulgarians).

Participants added a further dimension to their analysis: a general philosophical-aesthetic background. This was complemented by an attentive examination of the process, how in the various branches of the emerging humanities (historiography, philology, archaeology, art history, comparative linguistics, folklore studies, etc.), the medieval and the archaic vestiges were gradually gaining academic, cultural and political respectability as central constituents of the "national antiquities". In the first decades of the nineteenth century the related controversies got mixed and amplified by the aesthetic strife between Classicists and Romantics. As recent analysts (such as Reinhard Koselleck and Otto-Gerhard Oexle) have pointed out, the emerging medievalism of this period was far from being regressive; the real function of the rediscovered or invented Middle Ages was rather a definition of modernity by historical imagery and historicist reasoning. This characterisation seems to fit more or less the whole of Europe. The French case, epitomized by Chateaubriand, Victor Hugo, Thierry, Guizot, Viollet le Duc, and Michelet, could be considered as the most articulate model for this phenomenon. It is no surprise, however, if researchers find that the comparative weight of historicist national imagery, medievalism and rediscovered archaic vestiges were even greater in the regions focussed upon: in Northern, East-Central and South-Eastern Europe. This is at least the working hypothesis they aimed to test by a careful set of comparisons, by researching the cultural interrelationship, the rivalry and clash of the emerging national cultures among themselves, and the classicist and medievalist-romantic tendencies within those cultures or on the international playground. For more details on this project please click here.

Convenors were Patrick Geary (history) and Gábor Klaniczay (history). Other participants included ColBud Fellows János M. Bak (Medieval Studies), R. Howard Bloch (French language), Péter Dávidházi (literature), Stefan Detchev (history), Johan Hegardt (archaeology) Maciej Janowski (history), Giedre Mickunaité (art history), Pavlina Richterová (Medieval Studies), Levente Szabó (literature), Michael Werner (history), Ian Wood (history). Visiting scholars will be Sverre Bagge (history), Walter Pohl (history), and David Wilson (archaeology).

ASTROBIOLOGY OF MARS, funded by the European Space Agency (ESA) (January 2003 - December 2007)

The group of Eörs Szathmáry (Mars Astrobiology Group) won an application to the European Space Agency that led to the conclusion of the PECS Experiment Agreement between the two institutes on the Astrobiology of Mars. The objective of the Mars Astrobiology Group was the morphological and dynamical analysis of the Dark Dune Spots (DDSs) on planet Mars in order to elucidate to what extent they could be potential/actual habitats for Martian life forms. For more information click on

Dark dune spots (DDSs) are annually recurring peculiar features on some dark dunes (DDs) of Mars, between the South Pole and -50 degrees latitude. No convincing physico-chemical explanation is available that would be consistent with all the observed features. In contrast, they can be explained by a biological hypothesis resting on the idea that DDSs result from the lifecycle of hypothetical Mars Surface Organisms (MSOs). The central species there would grow and reproduce by photosynthesis. The multi-layered ice sheet on the dunes is an essential component of the explanation: until it persists (till midsummer each year), it could provide excellent shield from UV, cold, and desiccation. In the collaborative work of Spanish, Hungarian and Swiss groups, participants aimed to carry out a much more systematic investigation of the DDS phenomenon, integrating data from observations, experimental and computer simulations. They investigated the mineralogical composition and the radiation balance (in the UV, the visible and the infrared domains) of the DDs. A thorough search was carried out to look for possibly similar phenomena on Earth in certain candidate regions (such as the Siberian permafrost and Antarctica). A comparative study on similar types of metabolism here was also implemented. Aspects of DDS dynamics were be simulated in Mars chamber experiments. For more information click on

Group Leader: Permanent Fellow Eörs Szathmáry
Junior Resident Fellows: Ákos Kereszturi,
Associated Scholars: András Horváth (Budapest Planetarium), Szaniszló Bérczi (Eötvös University), Tibor Gánti (emeritus), Tamás Pócs (emeritus, Esterházy Teachers' Training College, Eger), Albert Gesztesi (Budapest Planetarium)
András Sík
Visiting Fellows: Susanna Manrubia (Centre for Astrobiology, Madrid), Christoph Scheidegger (WSL, Switzerland)

ECAgents: (Embodied and Communicating Agents), with the Hungarian team headed by Permanent Fellow Eörs Szathmáry (January 2004 - December 2007)

The project was a winning FP6 Project awarded by the European Commission to a consortium including Collegium Budapest and 9 other partners. The relevant research provided better understanding of the role of communication in collections of embodied and situated agents using the tools of complex systems science and computer science. The objective was to identify design principles, algorithms and mechanisms for new information system technologies based on ECAgents that can extend the functionality of existing technological artefacts (robots, mobile phones. WI-FI computers, bio-molecular devices, etc.), and can lead to the development of new artefacts exploiting the characteristics of ECAgents. The expected breakthrough in IT and the development of new applications include new embodied and communicating devices that, like natural organisms, will be able to cooperate and coordinate with other devices. Examples: mobile robots, simpler sensor-equipped devices communicating through wireless connections. Project results might lead to the development of autonomous intelligent robots, robot-like physical artefacts that communicate with the world and with human beings; human beings with wireless devices and smart objects that interact with one another; and technologies related to the semantic web.

There were three projects running in Collegium Budapest's ECAgents group, each targeting subsequent levels of systems necessary for communication. The project 'Prerequisites of Communication' aimed at setting up an evolutionary scenario for the origin of language by performing an analysis on a collection of criteria established upon historical and biological constraints, and on the recent results of artificial life research and game theory. The target of the second project was to understand the neural bases of rule learning by means of a statistical learning paradigm. Finally, in the third project an evolutionary neurogenetic algorithm was being developed through which constraints established by the evolutionary scenario can be applied to the evolution of neural networks performing calculations necessary for language production. For more details of this research project please visit Collegium Budapest's EC Agents Group website or the EC Agents research consortium website.

CB Fellows working on the project:

Péter Ittzés (Biology), Máté Lengyel (Biology), Szabolcs Számadó (Biology), Zoltán Szatmáry (Computer Science), Eörs Szathmáry (Biology).

EVERGROW: (Ever-Growing Global Scale-Free Networks, their Provisioning, Repair and Unique Functions), with the Hungarian team headed by Collegium Budapest Fellow Gábor Vattay (January 2004 - December 2007)

This project was also a winning FP6 project including 27 partners, apart from Collegium Budapest.

The vision of EVERGROW was to invent methods and systems, and build infrastructure for the measurement, modelling and analysis of network (Internet) traffic, topology and logical structure, so that one can start now to address the opportunities and problems presented by the Internet in 2025.

In the subproject called ETOMIC, run by the Evergrow group at Collegium Budapest, researchers built a measurement infrastructure that is able to carry out high temporal resolution (~10 nano second), globally synchronized, active measurements in Europe between the measurement boxes. It provided them with a high-resolution, spatially extended dynamic picture of fast changes in network traffic. This can open up the possibility to new kind of network tomography, where the cross correlation between measurement flows can be measured on a fine timescale and the internal state of the network, far away from the ends of the network, where the measurement devices are located, can be reconstructed and its time behavior can be studied, and the data can be analyzed with methods developed in the complexity science literature. For more details of the Evergrow and the Etomic projects please visit the following websites: and

Project Leader: Vattay, Gábor, Collegium Budapest Resident Fellow. Other CB Fellows working on the project are Csabai, István; Fekete, Attila; Hága, Péter; Maródi, Máté; Purger, Norbert; and Stéger, József (all Physicists).

MANMADE (Diagnosing vulnerability, emergent phenomena, and volatility in man-made networks -- an FP6 Project of the European Commission -- January 2007 - December 2009)

The aim of this project was to analyse real-world infrastructure systems with a view to aiding day-to-day and emergency planning of critical - primarily energy - European infrastructures. The strategy was to apply the mathematical findings that constitute the body of, so-called, complexity theory to real-world networks. In order to do so we mapped specific networks (both physical and service) that make up the main elements of functional interconnected networks. The project partners engaged directly with infrastructure owners and governmental decision-making bodies; thus enabling access to knowledge sets that formed the basis of the project case studies.

In view of these goals, the project assembled, developed and applied complementary mathematical methods to analyse large, man-made multi-element infrastructure systems that exhibit, so-called, complex behaviour.

The linking themes between these widely differing systems were the common needs for both qualitative and quantitative prescriptions required to gain insight into the processes that generate complex behaviour. This assisted the development of civil emergency preparedness strategies as well as the general long-term planning of energy infrastructure programmes. In order to address such interdisciplinary topics, researchers working in a wide variety of fields brought insights to problems that, in complex systems terms, have a common qualitative nature; thus enabling a macroscopic overview of the complex behaviour of key infrastructures. Fore more details on this project click here.

Participants included Queen Mary University of London (Coordinator), JRC-IPSC, Collegium Budapest, Macedonian Academy of Sciences and Arts and Universita Carlo Cattaneo, LIUC.

ONCE-CS, The Open Network of Centers of Excellence in Complex Systems (CS), a winning FP6 Framework Programme of the European Commission coordinated by Rector Imre Kondor (July 2005 - March 2008)

ONCE-CS was funded as part of the FET initiative of the IST (Information Society Technology) programme of the European Commission under priority Framework 6. For more information click on the homepage of the network here. The main objective of ONCE-CS was to identify fundamental questions across complex systems in all areas of application in order to ground the new science of complex system. The method of achieving this objective was to encourage and facilitate research collaboration around the fundamental questions of complexity in order to stimulate research and applications across academic disciplines, industry and government. Any university and research centre could apply to ONCE-CS to become a recognised Centre of Excellence in this field.

Technically, project tasks were distributed into nine work packages. Collegium Budapest, particularly Rector of the time Imre Kondor, was responsible for managing work package 7 that had the objective of increasing the involvement of European States with weak awareness of complexity and low participation level in the CS community. Within this, the chief aim was to connect these countries, mainly new EU member states and candidate countries, into the main CS network thereby contributing to efforts to build a critical mass of well-connected CS researchers in Europe and the world.

In particular, it required the organisation of four conferences on complex systems. Their locations in chronological order were: Vilnius, Lithuania in May 2006, Istanbul, Turkey in September 2006, Skopje, Macedonia in May 2007 and Sovata, Romania in July 2007. Local organisers included Barabási, Albert-László (Distinguished Professor and Director of Northeastern University's Center for Network Science, Boston, MA, U.S.A.), Prof. Erzan, Ayse (Department of Physics, Faculty of Sciences and Letters, Istanbul Technical University, Turkey), Prof. Kaulakys, Bronislav (Institute of Theoretical Physics and Astronomy of Vilnius University, Lithuania), Kocarev, Ljupco (Department of Non-Linear Science, University of California, San Diego, CA, U.S.A./Macedonian Academy of Sciences and Arts), and Dr. Néda, Zoltán (Department of Physics, Babes-Bolyai University, Cluj, Romania). All four workshops were successful in promoting the complex systems approach in their regions, namely in the Baltic region, Belarus, Finland, Poland, Romania, Turkey, Greece, Macedonia, other Balkan countries and the Middle East. The last workshop in Sovata had participants from 18 countries, from Europe, America and Asia.

'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 (January 2007-December 2007)

While exile was a pervasive global phenomenon during the 20th century, perhaps no other region has exiled so many writers, in so many recurrent waves, varieties of form, grades of intensity, and multiple political and social motivations as Eastern Europe. The project attempted to develop a typology of 20th-century East-European literary exile by exploring the variety of its social, historical, political and institutional dimensions, and by formulating the conceptual and methodological tools to study it. Special focus was be placed on the former Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Poland, Romania and the former Yugoslavia. Work was build around the following main themes: Forms of Displacement and the Dynamics of Movements; The Metropolitan Cultural-Geographic Sites of Exile; Exiles and Exilic Cultures in the Politico-Cultural Context of their Host Countries; and Exile and Home Culture. For more details click here.

Project leaders were John Neubauer (University of Amsterdam) and Zsuzsanna Török (Pasts Inc. Institute for Historical Studies, CEU); Members of the group (in the period May-July 2007); Cornis-Pope, Marcel (Timisoara) Kibédi-Varga, Aron (Budapest) Klaic, Dragan (Amsterdam) Snel, Guido (Amsterdam) Suleiman, Susan (Harvard, USA) Suvin, Darko (Montreal)

European Perspective of Student Loan Systems (Joint British-Hungarian
Research Project), co-funded by the British Council, Budapest (May 2007 - Apr. 2008)

As part of the Lisbon Strategy for increasing the competitiveness of Europe, one European Commission directive targets the increase of education funding in Europe from the current 1.3% to 2% of the GDP by 2010. The increase is - to a large extent - expected to come from private sources. This policy of seeking alternative funding obviously implies the introduction or the increase of tuition fees in European countries. This raises the social importance of student loan institutions that facilitate the participation of students with poorer family background in higher education. Student loaning in Europe demonstrates a high level of heterogeneity and complexity. This institution doest not at all exist in many countries, while some marginal initiatives of local importance or a mixture of traditional and income-contingent loan (ICL) schemes prevail in others. Literature and empirical facts suggest, however, that if a collecting mechanism is ensured by an efficient tax- or social security system, then the income contingent scheme will dominate over any other traditional loan schemes.
The United Kingdom was the first European country to establish a universal ICL system for students of higher education with Hungary following suit in 2001. The Hungarian model was elaborated by a British research team lead by Prof. Nicholas Barr from LSE and it is considered to be an improved version of the British model. The Hungarian system is quite unique in international practice and once proven to be viable, it can serve as a benchmark example for other countries that cannot afford huge public expenses. The aim of the project, co-funded by the British Council, was to analyse and compare experiences of implementing the British and the Hungarian student loan models. At the same time the last phase of the project was also intended to present the achievements of the new loaning systems to other European countries, as well as to address the future challenges that student loan systems might face in Europe.

Project leader was Berlinger, Edina of the Finance Institute of Corvinus University, Budapest and former junior fellow of Collegium Budapest and Gönczi, Éva (Secretary of Collegium Budapest). The research project was be carried out jointly with a team of the London School of Economics led by Professor Nicholas Barr.

NAP PROJECT-2005 together with ELTE, Cooperative Center for Communication Network Data Analysis (January 2005 - December 2008)

Collegium Budapest, together with Eötvös Loránd University of Budapest (ELTE), won a substantial grant (Acronym "NAP") from the National Office of Research and Technology (NKTH) of Hungary in 2005.

The main purpose of NAP was to strengthen and further develop the system ETOMIC ( that has been built up at Collegium Budapest within the framework of the current FP6 Project EVERGROW, and deployed in several European computing centres for the study, measurement and analysis of the Internet. A related line of research sought to develop specific methods that can be efficiently used in data-visualisation, as well as database and data mining applications. The whole project was intimately interwoven with the study of complex networks which had been successfully running at the Collegium for some years and which has rendered the institute one of the main European centres in the field, as demonstrated by its involvement in the two FP6 Integrated Projects EVERGROW ( and ECAGENTS (,, the network of excellence EXYSTENCE (, and the coordination action ONCE-CS( It also contributed to research lines that are not directly related to telecommunications, such as the study of financial and power networks, evolutionary neural networks, virtual observatories, etc.

The project was carried out in a wide international cooperation. In addition to our FP6 partners, we concluded cooperation agreements with a number of foreign institutes, including Columbia University, New York; The University of California, San Diego; University Notre Dame, Indiana; Technical University Dresden; Bochum University; Navarra Public University; Jagellonian University, Krakow; the ISI Foundation, Torino; SISSA, Trieste; and the George Washington University, Washington DC.

The leaders and/or key partners from most of these institutes were former fellows and belong to the External Faculty of Collegium Budapest. The cooperation took the form of mutual visits, jointly organised conferences, and the exchange of young researchers.

The grant was mainly designated to contribute to scholarships in the core activity, invite leading scientists, organise high-profile events, and to support the infrastructure.

The project consolidated the Collegium's position as one of the leading European centres for complexity research, and attracted further donations from the industry (Ericsson, Hungarian Telecom, Microsoft, Delta Bioinformatics, etc.).

The project was composed of five main parts:

1. A Complex Systems Research Centre: This is the part where all the work was carried out at the Collegium. The program studied complex networks in nature, society, economics and technology; the structure of, and the traffic on, these networks; as well as their stability, function; etc. Examples for complex systems are provided by natural or artificial neural networks, the generation of communication codes (language), and this aspect was tightly connected to the EU FP6 Project ECAGENTS. Further examples include metabolic networks, financial networks, social networks, etc.

2. A Communication Network Laboratory: The main purpose here was to expand the Internet monitoring network that had been built up at Collegium Budapest with the help of the EU FP6 Project EVERGROW. In the long run this facility was to be developed into a continuous European Internet monitoring function, overlooking the development, structure, stability and dynamics of the European network. The dominant part of the activity took place at ELTE.

3. Complex Data Bases and Virtual Observatories: This sub-project targeted databases, data mining, virtual observatories, and complex networks. (ELTE)

4. Visualisation: Complex networks require special visualisation techniques. The adaptation of the most advanced methods supported the other sub-projects. (ELTE)

5. The project also included the establishment of a knowledge and technology transfer office at ELTE.

This project is expected to continue at Collegium Budapest in the near future.

Project Leader: Vattay, Gábor, Collegium Budapest Resident Fellow. Collegium Budapest research fellows included in the project: Berlinger, Edina (Economics/Finance); Csabai, István (Physics); Farkas, Zénó (Physics); Frei, Zsolt (Astro-Physics); Lublóy, Ágnes (Finance). External scientists included: Barabási, Albert-László (University of Notre-Dame, South Bend, IN, U.S.A.), Fernando, Chrisantha (School of Computer Science, University of Birmingham, Great Britain), Helbing, Dirk (Dresden University of Technology, Institute of Transport and Economics, Germany), and von Kiedrowski, Günther (Faculty of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of Bochum, Germany).

Nations and Their Others: The Finns and the Hungarians Since 1900 - An international project funded by the Academy of Finland (January 2007 - December 2009) -- Phases conducted by Collegium Budapest include a few months in academic years 2006/07 and 2007/08.

Nation exists through production and representation: nationalism, patriotism and rhetoric on the nation. It is constantly given new significations, when it is used in political and historical contexts. This project focused on the various dimensions of the concepts nation and nationalism as highlighted through a comparative study and it studies the changing nationalisms over the course of the 20th century in Hungary and Finland. This offered a fascinating base for a comparative study of the constant articulation of nation and politics of nationalism. The comparison was fascinating because of the great similarities and differences: Though the social differences varied, with Hungary having a more fragmented and differentiated social structure, the two small nations with relatively similar histories in the 'Europe in Between' were surrounded by 'other' small nations and building national self-consciousness from the special status larger empires, marked by their neighbours up to the present. The consciousness of the Finno-Ugric ties between the two countries, and its political articulation in various periods, made the comparison a unique case.

From the project's perspective, influenced by discourse theoretical methodology, which researchers sought to discuss and apply throughout the project (c.f. Laclau and Mouffe 1985), nation was always constructed by reference to 'others' as well as by its makeup, the contents assigned to it. This 'constitutive outside' may be internal to or beyond the borders of a country: some representations of nation may even challenge the commonly held views of what constitutes 'nation' and 'minorities'. In addition to borders and neighbours used in the creation of 'us' and 'them', nationhood may also appear at the points of urban-rural, party-political or religious divide, which in turn work to construct dominant conceptions of nation themselves. As point of political identification nationhood implies the articulation of 'enemies' and frontiers keeping out the non-national.

The project was based in the University of Jyväskylä, with national and international partners, such as the Collegium Budapest, Collegium Helsinki, and the CEPODS (Centre for Political Discourse Studies, at the Institute for Political Science, Hungarian Academy of Sciences, MTA).

The project was lead by Heino Nyyssönen (Jyväskylä),. There are three young postdoctoral researchers Dr. Emilia Palonen (Essex), Lic. Mari Vares (Jyväskylä), and Árpád Welker, MA (Central European University and Collegium Budapest ), all of whom gain their doctorate in 2006.

We, The People - Visions of National Peculiarity and Political Modernities in The "Europe of Small Nations", Fellowship Programme, November 2004 - December 2005 in co-operation with the Centre for Advanced Study, Sofia, Bulgaria.

The goal of this research project was to excavate, put together and compare various texts crucial for a range of European national traditions of political and social thought, which had been left out of the 'core' European canon since the age of the Enlightenment. It sought to "put on the map" intellectual traditions of those "small nations" from Nordic, Northwest, Central and Southeast Europe, which were in many ways important parts of the European circulation of ideas, but whose 19th and 20th century history of political and social thought remained outside of the mainstream of scholarly thematization. This research took a longue durée, cross-national and cross-regional comparative perspective to the intellectual transformations in Europe (such as fundamental shifts of political and social paradigms, languages and concepts), and the interconnections between European political cultures.The concrete aim of the proposed project was the compilation and publication of a volume comprising a textual selection and a number of interpretative essays on selected local (national or regional) traditions of political and social thought centering on the various ways in which the references to "folk culture", ethnicity and the "people" at large were politically instrumentalized in a diachronic view within the period of "National Romanticism" and in the "Anti-Modernist" challenge which had emerged during the period between the two World Wars.

The analytical part of the individual and collective research is intended to contextualize the established common traits and local peculiarities and aims at an unprecedented cooperative venture of studying the transmission of knowledge and the thematization of sciences from a comparative perspective. Thus it would allow for the initiation in the future of a broader multi-volume project, comprising a variety of themes and periods, with the intention of reconsidering European intellectual history. The project sought to introduce certain texts that would allow the broader general public to have an overview of the common traits and the local peculiarities of these traditions, whereas it also attempted to bring together the approach of conceptual history, institutional history and history of political ideas. It aspired to focus on the intersection of all these spheres in order to trace the channels of cultural transfer and identify some of the principal agents of the transmisson of knowledge.

The methodological approach of the project was comparative research that rests upon the experience of analogous phenomena in a wide range of national cultures in Southeast Europe. In order to understand the discourses in question, one had to establish a model of cultural reception and interpret their local cultural dynamism in a broader framework of comparisons. In this sense, our project drew on the rich scholarly literature, informed by various approaches, of rendering the interwar European turn against modernism intelligible by connecting it to the longue durée of political romanticism.

The results of the project included key texts for the East European contexts that had been neglected and remained largely unknown to the broader public. The aim was to re-think certain key tenets of our political-intellectual heritage by setting them into an encompassing comparative perspective, by identifying the mechanisms of transmission, exchange and interaction of ideas, ideologies and institutions across national borders, and by highlighting their local translations and adaptations. This allowed for the assessment of similarities and differences between various European intellectual traditions, exploring the complexity of the process of paradigm/ideology/"political language"-formation and the competition between alternative formulations. In that way the research also contributed to the cultural and political dialogue between EU member countries and pre-accession countries of the East.

An essential purpose of the research was to devise an encompassing European framework of intercultural interpretation, between, but also within, the European 'Core' and the 'Outer Europe(s)', that opposes the self-centered cultural-political trajectories and traditions on a national and regional level. This also helps re-conceptualise the shifting divisions in Europe in the modern era by way of focusing on the historically emerging networks of intellectual and political interaction and on the conditions (institutional, structural, cultural-political) enabling conceptual transfer. The "We, the People" research agenda in its full territorial scope incorporated, in addition to Southeast Europe, also Scandinavia and the Low Countries.

The announced fellowship programme, which involved the traditions of Southeast Europe alone, was one of these modules. Other modules were a series of workshops in 2004-2006, including participants from all three regions, as well as a separate publication as an outcome of these workshops. All these modules are considered as a preparatory stage of a long-term coordinated research incorporating national traditions from the three regions, including Eastern Europe, the Nordic and the Low Countries, planned for 2006. For more information visit Final report. Programme of Workshop held on 11-12 June 2005. Programme of Workshop held on 23-24 September 2005. Programme of Workshop held on 11-12 November 2005.


Multiple Antiquities and Multiple Modernities in Nineteenth-Century Europe (2005)

Two Focus Groups were organized at Collegium Budapest from February to July 2005, convened by Collegium Budapest Permanent Fellow Gábor Klaniczay, Michael Werner (Paris, EHESS) and Ernő Marosi (Budapest, MTA), financed by the Fritz Thyssen Stiftung and the Getty Grant Program.

Following a long series of preparatory discussions and workshops since 2000, this project examined how different nations perceived and used, mostly in the 19th century, ancient (antique and medieval) traditions for their self-definition, and what were the diverging visions of modernity that emerged from this rediscovered, reinterpreted and/or invented tradition.

The principal interrogation of the project focused on the various images of antiquities, which have shaped European humanities since the end of the 18th century, and engages in an all-European comparison on the emergence of classical studies, their repercussions in higher and secondary education, the foundation of museums, the formation of the academic disciplines of the humanities and their specific institutional background, the use of models of classical antiquity in national self-definition, the presentation and appropriation of antiquity in translations, in theatre. It compared the hitherto less researched East European reception process to the well-known paradigms of the German, French and English use of the antiquities, aiming at a more extended and balanced overview of Europe from this respect.

The Thyssen-financed part of the project, coordinated by Michael Werner and Gábor Klaniczay, dealt with the aspects of general intellectual history, philosophy and classical philology. It invited a total of 9 senior scholars from abroad for a period two weeks to four months as "Core Fellows" or Visiting Scholars (Chryssanti Avlami - Paris, Jerzy Axer - Warsaw, Pierre Judet de La Combe - Paris, Diana Mishkova - Sofia, Glenn Most - Pisa, Alexandru G. Niculescu - Bucharest, Svetlana Slapsak - Ljubljana, Robert Sullivan - Notre Dame USA, Michael Werner - Paris). Four Junior Fellows (Mónika Baár - Budapest, Daniel Baric - Paris, Ottó Gecser - Budapest, Balázs Trencsényi - Budapest) and four Budapest scholars (Tamás Hofer, György Karsai, Éva Kocziszky, Zsigmond Ritoók - Associate Fellows) completed this group.

The Getty-financed part of the project, coordinated by Ernő Marosi and Gábor Klaniczay, dealt with the aspects of "The nineteenth-century process of 'musealization' in Hungary and in Europe", concentrating mainly on art history and classical archaeology. It invited 4 senior scholars from abroad as "Core Fellows" (Jan Bazant - Prague, Ingrid Ciulisova - Bratislava, Randolph Starn - Berkeley, Georg Vasold - Vienna), 2 distinguished guests for 2 weeks (Adam Labuda - Warsaw, Sir David Wilson - London), two Junior Fellows (Gábor Ebli - Budapest, Béla Zsolt Szakács - Budapest) and three Budapest scholars (Árpád Miklós Nagy, Sándor Radnóti, László Török - Associate Fellows) completed this group. This second group also realized close cooperation with four Budapest institutions in building special databases related to the project; the Institute for Art History of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, the Museum of Fine Arts, Antique Collection, the National Office for the Protection of Cultural Heritage, the Museum of Ethnography, and in each of these a cooperating partner (Associate Fellow), assisting our project (Edit Szentesi, János György Szilágyi, Pál Lövei, Zoltán Fejős) was involved.

Both projects cooperated in regular weekly seminars discussing the research results of the participants, and between February and June 2005 a series of workshops and conferences supported their work with the involvement of internationally recognized experts. For more details of the project click on For the project report please click here.

Precursors to Culture (2003)

Culture is normally defined by anthropologists in such a way that, even if 'human' is not explicitly specified, the possibility of any non-human possessing culture is made impossible in practice (Kroeber & Kluckhohn, 1952). This may be argued to be the prerogative of academics who study only humans, but makes for problems when the evolution of human traits is at issue: clearly, at some point, 'humans' are descended from 'non-humans'. Artificially restricting culture in this way seems unhelpful for enquiry into the origins of such an important human trait. In the same vein, language is conventionally assumed necessary for the demonstration or even possession of culture, yet at some point in human evolution, language itself began. Since linguistic organisms without culture can be imagined, the two are not identical, so this tie is also unnecessarily restrictive.

To break out of these restrictions, researchers concerned with the evolution of culture have taken several different lines of attack. One approach is to treat any social traditions that vary between populations as being cultural (Roper, 1983); by this criterion, it has recently been argued that the wide variations in social traditions among chimpanzee populations means that the chimpanzee has culture (Whiten et al., 1999). If this approach is accepted, culture is liable to become the province of many species of animals, and should probably already apply to cetaceans (Boran & Heimlich, 1999; Janik & Slater, 1997) and rats (Galef, 1990, 1992).

An alternative is to insist on particular sorts of transmission mechanism intelligent imitation and active pedagogy imparting particular fidelity to the process of transmission before allowing the result to be called cultural (Tomasello, Kruger, & Ratner, 1993). This may be more satisfactory for social scientists, but it also makes animal culture peculiarly difficult to establish by empirical means, and indeed it is not normal for any such restrictions to be applied by anthropologists studying human culture. Yet a third line is to follow the hints in Kroeber's (1928) seminal paper, and to define culture functionally: as a behaviour that shows innovation, dissemination, standardization, durability, diffusion and tradition.

In the context of primate behaviour, McGrew and Tutin (1979) followed this approach, but argued that two further conditions should be added, to avoid concerns that Kroeber's existing criteria might be met as a result of direct human interference. (Put in terms not available at the time, the concern is that some primate behaviours might be part of the human 'extended phenotype', Dawkins, 1982, artefacts of human provisioning by means of unintentional conditioning.) Unfortunately, the further conditions that McGrew and Tutin suggested (i.e. non-subsistence behaviours, and recorded in conditions where human influence was limited to gatherer-hunter levels) also make detection of culture in animals difficult; consider the large number of human cultural variations concerned with food. Finally, the term 'protoculture' has been introduced, whose somewhat vague meaning essentially allows researchers to study apparently cultural behaviour in animals and to postulate cultural behaviour in hominid ancestors of humans, while dodging conflict with social anthropologists who restrict culture to human, or at least linguistic, beings. Something of a'fudge', this does at least allow the net to be cast widely, postponing definitional argument until the data is better on culture (or language) in the fossil record or extant animals.

Interestingly, such data has indeed improved remarkably over the situation just a few years ago: hence the value of convening an Institute of Advanced Study on the topic. In proposing particular individuals as Fellows, the intention has been to assemble a collegiate group of the world's foremost researchers in those disciplines that are the key to the topic of cultural evolution: animal behaviour and primatology; cognitive, evolutionary, and neuropsychology; archaeology and paleoanthropology.


Phil Barnard (MRC Cognition and Brain Research Unit, Cambridge, England),
Dick Byrne (Psychology, University of St Andrews, Scotland; Convener),
Iain Davidson (Archaeology, University of New England, NSW, Australia),
Vincent Janik (Biology, University of St Andrews, Scotland),
Bill McGrew (Anthropology & Zoology, University of Miami, Ohio, USA),
Adam Miklósi (Ethology, Eötvös University, Budapest),
Polly Wiessner (Anthropology, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, USA)

Related links:

Honesty and Trust: Theory and Experience in the Light of Post-Socialist Transformation Focus Group 2001-2003

The Collegium brought together an interdisciplinary group to study honesty and trust in Eastern Europe and the Former Soviet Union. The project included a core group of scholars who spent the entire or part of the fall of 2002 in residence at the Collegium, and a larger group of associated scholars who participated in conferences and the preparation of papers. The double goal was to encourage new research and develop a network of scholars with complementary interests.

An innovative feature of the project is the connection of people working on trust as it develops in informal interactions with people involved in studying the institutional bases of dishonesty and corruption. The former group of scholars has concentrated on the evolution of behavior using models that derive from game theory or evolutionary biology. The latter group studies the way institutions influence behavior drawing on work in the political-economy of regulation and government behavior. These two bodies of work have much to teach each other especially in the context of Eastern Europe, where the relationship between public attitudes and political and economic institutions need to be better understood.

More information is available at the website of the project at

The State of Three Social Science Disciplines in Central and Eastern Europe Research Project

Held in 2000-02 in cooperation with GESIS-Social Science Information Center (Branch Office Berlin), the Institute for Human Sciences (IWM, Vienna), the Wissenschaftszentrum (WZB, Berlin), Centre Marc Bloch (Berlin) and Maison des Sciences de l'Homme (MSH, Paris).
The project's objective was to produce a comprehensive overview of the current state of the three social science disciplines in Central and Eastern Europe: economics (including labour market research); political science (including administrative science and policy analysis); and sociology (including social policy) in the ten CEE countries seeking entry to the European Union.
The hard copy of the handbook itself was presented in October 2002. For the electronic version and more information about the database please visit

Multiple Antiquities - Multiple Modernities
The Politics of the Humanities in the Nineteenth-Century Europe Research Project

Our project initiates comparative researches in the history of academic disciplines and the history of political ideologies, following two comprehensive topics:

  • How did the image of antiquity, as shaped up by the humanities, influence us in marking out the place for our national heritage within the European classical tradition?
  • How did this institutionalized "national" image of antiquities, complemented by archaic-oriental traditions and the "gothic" Middle Ages as a substitute for antiquity, influence what the humanities formulated as "modern" developmental perspective as "multiple modernities"?

Focus Groups Index Page

In addition to individual Fellowships, which are frequently based on various co-operative ventures with local scholars or institutions, the profile of Collegium Budapest (CB) is also moulded by special thematic fields and focus groups. In its first years, the programme of CB mainly focused on the transformation process in Central and Eastern Europe. With the expansion of the centre, however, this has been enlarged to include theoretical natural sciences and, more recently, comparative social sciences. Both applied and theoretical sciences are to be found in all three special fields encompassed by the institute: economic and political theories of transition are coupled with practical discussions on health care, social security, and institution-building; theoretical biology and physics are related to practical issues of neurobiology, genetics, or research into AIDS; while a generic assessment of the methods and viable traditions of comparative social sciences and humanities is coupled with the reformulation of the European and non-European classical canons in education systems throughout the world.

Since the 1992/93 fellowship year, the Collegium has convened the following focus groups:

Academic Year 2003/2004

Precursors to Culture
Focus Group Convened by Richard Byrne

Academic Year 2002/2003

Honesty and Trust
Focus Group Convened by János Kornai and Susan Rose-Ackerman

Computational Molecular Biology
Focus Group Convened by Béla Novák and John J. Tyson

Academic Year 2001/2002

Evolution of the Brain and Cognition
Focus Group Convened by Eörs Szathmáry and Jean-Pierre Changeux

Jews in Modern Europe
Focus Group Convened by András Kovács

Structure and Structuration of Space in Europe since the Middle Ages
Focus Group Convened by Daniel Nordman and András Zempléni

Academic Year 2000/2001

Theoretical Biology
Focus Group Convened by Eörs Szathmáry

The State of Social Sciences in Central and Eastern Europe
Theme Group Led by Max Kasse and Vera Sparschuh

Academic Year 1999/2000

Humanities in Historical and Comparative Perspective:
Roots and Margins of the European Tradition and Reactions to It

Focus Group Convened by Sally Humphreys and Gábor Klaniczay

The Origins of Biological Motion
Focus Group Convened by Tamás Vicsek

Academic Year 1998/1999

Bild und Bildlichkeit.
Formelle und informelle Wissensformen im späten 20. Jahrhundert

Focus Group Convened by Franz-Joachim Verspohl

Institution Building in the New Democracies
Focus Group Convened by Hans-Georg Heinrich

Academic Year 1997/1998

The Interaction between Politics and the Economy in the Period of Post-Socialist Transition
Focus Group Convened by János Kornai

Academic Year 1996/1997

Natural Sciences
Focus Group Convened by Eörs Szathmáry (Evolutionary Biology), James Hurford (Evolutionary Linguistics), Frigyes Károlyházy (Theoretical Physics)

Frontieres, espaces et identités en Europe
Theme Group Led by Dominique Iogna-Prat

Academic Year 1995/1996

Political Psychology of Postcommunism
Focus Group Convened by Stephen Holmes

Academic Year 1994/1995

Theoretical Biology
Focus Group Convened by Eörs Szathmáry

Academic Year 1993/1994

Postcommunist Transition in Central and Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union
Focus Group Convened by János Kornai


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