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 2020):

• 16 resident faculty;

• 17 research fellows;

• 26 affiliated faculty;

• 34 visitors including presenters in seminars, workshops and conferences (due to the covid crisis, some of them attented virtually).


In addition to providing an agreeable and supportive research environment (our researchers published 60 articles in leading international scientific journals in 2020), we hold a weekly Tuesday lunch workshop for internal presentations and a weekly Friday research seminar.

We host 40 seminars (including Internal Lunch Workshops) in 2020.

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. 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.


In November 2019, the IAST and TSE researchers moved into their new building.

Dedicated to the Toulouse School of Economics, this new building is also dedicated to research with the specificity, provided by IAST, of developing the economy for the common good and multidisciplinary.

The University Toulouse Capitole was the prime contractor for this construction. It's the first time that an university have taken over the project management of a construction site within the framework of a State-Regional Planning Contract (CEPR).

The Irish firm "Grafton Architects" wanted a building open to the city that blends perfectly into the historic heritage environment of Toulouse.

“What we try to do in our work is to be aware of the various levels of citizenship and try to find an architecture that deals with overlap, that heightens your relationship to one another, Toulouse School of Economics features brick buttresses, ramps and courtyards, which are metaphors for the city filled with bridges, walls, promenades and stone towers.” Yvonne Farrell

Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara, architects of new building, have won the 2020 Pritzker Architecture Prize which is often described as architecture's Nobel Prize: https://www.pritzkerprize.com


Numbers :

  • Height: 24m
  • 3000 m2 ground clearance
  • 8 levels
  • 277 offices
  • 6 auditoriums
  • Conviviality areas


More pictures on TSE Flickr account





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.












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