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Outcomes of internationally conducted research project offer global overview of institutes for advanced study

Britta Padberg - Perfil After visiting more than 30 institutes for advanced study in recent years, Professor Britta Padberg published the article The Global Diversity of Institutes for Advanced Study in the Italian journal Sociologica last May. The analyzed institutes are linked to the global network of University-Based Institutes for Advanced Study (UBIAS), currently coordinated by the IEA-USP, which was one of several Latin American places visited during Padberg's worldwide tour. She has also traveled to Asia, Europe, Australia, and the United States of America.

Managing director of the Center for Interdisciplinary Research (ZiF) at Bielefeld University since 2008, Padberg has a background in history and biological anthropology. Her main research interests are related to interdisciplinarity and the development of universities and science.

By talking to directors and employees about the institutes' strategies, missions, and values, she has brought together aspects related to their functioning and autonomy in relation to the universities where they are based, in addition to their contribution to research. "Institutes for advanced study have played a notable role in the development of universities and sciences," she says in the article. Padberg also addresses the future challenges of these research centers.

With regard to Latin America, the researcher has reinforced that the institutes have a "special responsibility" concerning the political and social development of their countries, democracy, and the mediation between science and society. When highlighting the IEA-USP as the largest and oldest institute in the region, Padberg cited the intention outlined in its foundation, in 1986, to be an area of academic and intellectual freedom. "With the end of the military dictatorship in 1985, Brazilian universities were looking for a new beginning and endeavored to develop international relations in academia," she wrote.