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What is a Theme?

A theme is a project that revolves around one or more current research issues, which require perspectives from multiple disciplines in order to find solutions and answers

Themes are initiated by researchers from all areas and faculties. To be accepted as a theme, the project must be original and transdisciplinary in character, be of a high scholarly standard and include members from at least three faculties. There is one opportunity to apply each year, usually with a deadline in February for themes to start in the following autumn semester. All the applications are assessed by external international experts, and the decision is made by the Institute board. Generally, we seek to host three themes per year – in 2014–2015 we hosted four themes at the same time.

A theme at the Pufendorf IAS can be considered as being at an earlier stage than an actual research project. Issues and goals emerge during the course of the project. This means that original and creative ideas have the opportunity to grow freely. The focus is on the process. The most important goal for a theme is to find new paths to explore. In time this can lead to concrete research applications and to new collaborations, inside and outside the University. In this way, the Pufendorf  IAS wants to act as an incubator for new research initiatives.

How is work conducted in a Theme?

Each group, usually about ten people, work together at the Pufendorf IAS one or two days a week, for about eight months. Theme group members participate in seminars and workshops and every researcher is given access to their own workspace for the duration of the theme. The researchers receive remuneration in the form of employment at the Pufendorf IAS paid through the home department. The remuneration is in the form of an agreed percentage, between 10 and 50 per cent, of the researcher’s salary, and the percentage of employment at the Institute is also the percentage of time to be spent at the Institute. 

Read more about previous and earlier themes here

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