Information has become very accessible today and we are constantly faced with conflicting views. It is difficult to distinguish between reliable and unreliable information, sometimes leading the general public to confuse scientific findings with opinions. A healthy public debate about the important societal challenges needs a common and scientifically sound basis. LIAS wants to contribute to this basis by integrating scientific insights on the basis of international and interdisciplinary discussion, and by communicating these integrated insights to the general public in an interesting and comprehensible way.
Universities tend to be organised in faculties and departments, which focus on partial aspects of reality. Academic research may therefore seem fragmented. In order to succeed in providing a basis for well-founded societal debate, science must also bring together its partial insights across disciplinary boundaries. A well-informed public debate will contribute to the acceptance of sensible policy decisions. This is why LIAS aspires to involve renowned researchers in international consultation on the challenges that will determine the future of our global community. Based on the best scientific knowledge from various disciplines from all over the world, we arrive at integrated long-term visions.
It is not only important to develop relevant long-term visions, it is just as important to make these substantiated visions accessible to a broad audience. This is why LIAS focuses on the appealing, comprehensible communication of these scientific visions. Only thus are insights able to find access to societal debate and contribute to the awareness of national and international public opinion.
LIAS is a University-Based Institute for Advanced Study (UBIAS). Unlike stand-alone Institutes for Advanced Study, University-Based Institutes for Advanced Study take advantage of the expertise and research networks that their home university offers. Conversely, the international dynamics of a UBIAS contributes to the academic culture and scientific achievements of the home university.
LIAS is embedded in the KU Leuven, one of the top universities worldwide. The KU Leuven is one of the oldest universities in Europe, with an extensive historical and cultural heritage. Among renowned leading researchers, therefore, there is considerable willingness to come to Leuven.
For complex challenges an interdisciplinary synthesis can be more important and more relevant than technical and disciplinary expertise. Global problems require an international synthesis.