In the words of Robbert Dijkgraaf, director of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, delivered during his opening lecture on 2 November: “An IAS must never be isolated. Ideas must be able to escape from the lab and infect others.”
LIAS was officially presented to the public in month of November 2021, an important milestone in realizing LIAS’ mission to create a forum for international and interdisciplinary debate, which focusses on bringing together scholarly insights on societal challenges.
This mission was immediately exemplified with a panel debate between Bruno Holthof (CEO Oxford University Hospitals), Geert Meyfroidt (Clinical Director UZ Leuven), and Corinne Vandermeulen (Senior Clinical Research and Development Lead, GSK), moderated by Isabel Albers (editor-in-chief, De Tijd/L’Echo). The panel discussed vaccination strategies and how to increase the capacity of intensive care units during a pandemic.
This academic session was followed by a network event in Holland College, one of the finest and best-preserved colleges of the KU Leuven. Luc Sels, the KU Leuven’s rector and co-chair of the LIAS Foundation, stressed that “the creation of LIAS is crucial to the KU Leuven for it to excel in ‘critical science’, a third type of science next to fundamental, curiosity-driven science, and innovative, problem solving science.”
Forthcoming topics of interest in the working of LIAS were briefly presented by Joost Van Meerbeeck (co-chair executive committee LIAS): climate change, media and artificial intelligence, and the challenges of ageing in all its aspects.
The intention is to gather scientific insights about major societal challenges in LIAS on the basis of international and interdisciplinary consultation.