Understanding behaviors & cultures

Considering the deepest questions about human nature and society

IAST's scientific program involves ten disciplines: anthropology, biology, economics, history, law, mathematics, philosophy, political science, psychology and sociology. This is a unified scientific project whose aim is to study the behavior of human beings as evolved biological organisms who live in groups, form networks and coalitions, are governed by formal institutions and informal norms, produce and exchange scarce resources and are inspired by ideals and beliefs.







IAST's researchers typically have a training in one (sometimes more) of our ten disciplines, and we remain convinced of the importance of a rigorous disciplinary training. However, they work on questions that transcend disciplinary boundaries, and in teams that bring a variety of different scientific tools to bear on these questions. We do not expect or aim to make disciplinary boundaries redundant, but to transcend them by discovering complementarities between the tools that different researchers have to offer, in pursuit of the large questions that concern us all as scientists and as citizens.



The Institute for Advanced Study in Toulouse is a unified scientific project whose aim is to study human behavior.

We offer an innovative and multidisciplinary approach to science and welcome international researchers trained in the different social sciences to tackle important research questions.

Our ambition is to break down artificial disciplinary boundaries to unlock new ideas and address the challenges of the 21st century.

Our organization is unique: IAST is a French governmental funded LABEX which fundings are dedicated to research and the supported teams.

Our work

Our community brings together (figures from 2018):

• 45 resident faculty;

• 13 non-resident faculty based in Toulouse;

• 108 visitors (including speakers in seminars, workshops and conferences), from institutions in 17 countries, of whom 21 spent at least a few days at IAST, and 14 of whom are long-term visitors

• 7 Ph.D. scholars;


In addition to providing an agreeable and supportive research environment (our researchers published 4 books and 36 articles in leading international scientific journals in 2017), we hold a weekly Tuesday lunch workshop for internal presentations and a weekly Friday research seminar.

We host three Distinguished Lectures per year, as well as holding 9 workshops and conferences in 2017.

Our researchers are not obliged to engage in multi-disciplinary research projects but the extensive interactions mean that many of them in fact do so.

Looking foward

To sustain our research for the upcoming years, we have launched with TSE our Toulouse Talent - Global Impact campaign with the aim of raising €50M, our three main priorities are :

• Solving key economic and social issues

• Educating the brightest future talent

• Offering an exciting location to foster innovation

IAST researchers have succeeded in gaining funds from other sources: two ERC grants, three ANR grants, two IDEX senior chairs and a smaller IDEX grant, an IUF grant, a private donation to fund a center in political science, as well as our joint IAST-TSE Digital Center, which has received both private and public funding.

Imagined by TSE Chairman and Nobel laureate Jean Tirole seven years ago, the Institute for Advanced Study in Toulouse (IAST) was created in 2011 thanks to support from the French government.

In 2010, as part of its €57bn. Investments for the Future program prominently dedicated to research and higher education, the French government launched an ambitious and extensive tender for applications to select the most promising research clusters and units, the laboratories of excellence (LABEX = laboratoires d’excellence). The tender resulted in the award of 171 multi-year LABEX across all disciplines, selected by an international selection jury. IAST received one of the largest LABEX grants: LABEX IAST was awarded in 2011 with a 25 M€ funding commitment over 9 years, the third largest among the 100 grants in the first wave of LABEX grants.

The long-term recruitment of IAST, fully financed by LABEX IAST, is based on senior chairs (currently three), four tenure-track positions, six visiting fellowships, and numerous 3-year post-doctoral research fellowships (currently 20, rising to 23 in 2017). Another 20-25 researchers, who are either TSE economists or belong to research units in other disciplines in Toulouse, are active in IAST. Thus, IAST can be assured of on a research faculty of about 55 active, Toulouse-based members, of which 45 are resident members located on IAST and TSE premises, as well as many regular long-term visitors.