Considering the deepest questions about human nature and society
IAST’s mission is to foster interdisciplinary research.
IAST has 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. It involves researchers with training in one of our ten disciplines: anthropology, biology, economics, history, law, mathematics, philosophy, political science, psychology, and sociology.
We remain convinced of the importance of a rigorous disciplinary training. However, IAST's researchers 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.
IAST’s mission is to foster interdisciplinary research. Our ambition is to transcend artificial disciplinary boundaries to unlock new ideas, address the challenges of the 21st century, and promote the diversification of methods and data sources.
- Independent of his or her “home discipline”, an IAST researcher is necessarily open to communication with researchers from other disciplines. 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.
At IAST we have over a decade of experience hosting and promoting interdisciplinary dialogue surrounding key debates in the social and behavioral sciences. We have seen firsthand the profound impact of interdisciplinary dialogue on members of our community through many channels, including:
Knowledge transfer: Through interdisciplinary dialogue, researchers actively share their knowledge of methods, datasets, and overall vision with scholars and students from diverse backgrounds.
Collaboration: Interdisciplinary dialogue opens the door for collaboration between diverse scholars.
Perspective: Interdisciplinary dialogue leads to questions or methods that one may not have otherwise considered in a mono-disciplinary environment.
Reflection: Interdisciplinary dialogue helps individuals to better understand the strengths and weaknesses of their own discipline, and those of other disciplines.
Communication skills improvement: Interdisciplinary dialogue brings awareness of different norms for communication, presentation, and writing, helping researchers improve these skills.
Interdisciplinary dialogue delivers many benefits, but it can be challenging! It is not always easy to let go of our assumptions about one’s own and other disciplines, to give constructive feedback, or to receive advice about the way we work. At IAST, we know that such hurdles can be overcome with an open mind and a respectful attitude, leading to meaningful and productive exchanges.
Several tools have been put in place to promote such communication:
- Two weekly seminars: we hold a Lunch workshop for internal presentations and a General research seminar with external speakers;
- Research Teams: each research team focuses on a specific theme and/or set of questions; its members (which can include non-IAST researchers) meet on a regular basis and organize workshops and conferences;
- Retreats: each year a pan-IAST retreat is organized around an interdisciplinary theme, and is the occasion also for serendipitous exchanges beyond those that occur in our daily activities;
- Teaching: the first edition of our Summer School in Social Sciences took place in 2021; this Summer School is open to PhD and advanced Master’s students in several disciplines, and the goal is to raise the awareness among young scholars of similarities and differences between academic disciplines.
Imagined by TSE Honorary Chairman and Nobel laureate Jean Tirole, the Institute for Advanced Study in Toulouse (IAST) was created in 2011 thanks to support from the French government.
As part of its €57 billion 'Investments for the Future' program, prominently dedicated to research and higher education, the French government launched in 2010 an ambitious and extensive tender for applications to select the most promising research clusters and units, also known as 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 jury. LABEX IAST was awarded in 2011 with a €25 million funding commitment over 9 years, the third largest among the 100 grants in the first wave of LABEX grants.
The LABEX was renewed and extended to 2028, within the EUR (École Universitaire de Recherche) CHESS.
There are three components underlying our ethics policies: 1) research ethics for working with human subjects; 2) researcher code of ethics; and 3) harassment policy.
With the aim of ensuring the maintenance of high standards in all research involving human subjects, TSE and IAST have established two research ethics committees (see below). These committees operate independently of each other; they each review separate proposals from institutional members of all scientific activities involving human subjects.
1) TSE Research Ethics Committee for Experimental Research (chair: Tiziana Assenza)
This committee reviews ethics approval applications for laboratory and online experiments by TSE researchers, as well as any other researchers using the TSE Experimental Laboratory (facilities, subject pool, recruitment system, etc.).
This committee also reviews applications by IAST researchers when the research project is in the field of experimental economics.
For information or to submit an application, please contact the chair, Tiziana Assenza (firstname.lastname@example.org).
2) TSE-IAST Review Board for Ethical Standards in Research (chair: Jonathan Stieglitz)
This committee reviews ethics approval applications for studies entailing fieldwork (including observational fieldwork and lab-in-the-field experiments), or for IAST researchers wishing to conduct experiments in disciplines other than economics.
For information or to submit an application, please contact the chair, Jonathan Stieglitz (email@example.com).
Ethical Board charter: TSE IAST Ethics Charter
Application: TSE IAST Ethics Application
TSE Ethical rules for the conduct of experiments
Code of ethics
The Toulouse School of Economics (TSE) and the Institute for Advanced Study in Toulouse (IAST) are dedicated to ensuring the dignity of all of their members (researchers, staff, and students alike) as well as of their visitors.