... and the tools we use to answer them
IAST is dedicated to interdisciplinary research. We have some 50 researchers overall in residence at any one time, if we count permanent researchers, postdoctoral Research Fellows, visitors and Toulouse-based research associates win other departments. This is a large enough group to spark lively dialogue on many subjects, but still a long way below the size of a social sciences university. This is a strength: we do not seek to become large enough for the researchers from our various disciplines to be tempted to go it alone, or to defend the special interests of their discipline. We believe in a unified scientific project: we are all seeking to understand the behavior of human beings, a challenge which requires the deployment of many scientific tools, which cannot all be mastered by any single researcher. Teamwork is therefore inevitable, and our researchers are committed to working in teams to meet this challenge.
Most of our researchers have trained within a single disciplinary framework, from which they reach out in their work to researchers from other disciplines. But no researcher at IAST is required to undertake cross-disciplinary collaborations. All we ask our researchers to do is to listen to each other on a regular basis, in our seminars, conferences and informal Tuesday lunch meetings, and to be prepared to explain their research interests in terms comprehensible outside their own discipline. That process of listening often leads our researchers to discover affinities they had not previously suspected, and as a result to collaborate with each other in a range of ways, from informal conversation to formal co-authorship. Some researchers do this a lot, some hardly at all.
We invite researchers from any discipline who are interested in understanding human behavior as part of a shared interdisciplinary endeavor to come and join us in exploring questions of central importance to human society in the 21st century.