Each year, CAS hosts three interdisciplinary research groups working within the fields of the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences. The groups comprise leading academics from around the world and are led by eminent scholars affiliated with CAS' partner institutions in Norway.

The 2020/21 CAS projects are no exception. The three projects selected for the Centre's 29th academic year represent significant milestones for CAS and its partner institutions.

For the first time since becoming a partner institution on 1 October 2011, the MF Norwegian School of Theology, Religion and Society (MF) will see its first faculty member co-lead a project at the Centre. And for the first time since the 2010/11 academic year, women make up more than half of the 2020/21 CAS project leaders.

'The 2020/21 CAS projects reaffirm the Centre's mission to further excellent fundamental, curiosity-driven, interdisciplinary research,' said Camilla Serck-Hanssen, scientific director of CAS. 'One of my aims is to attract excellent projects and scholars from a wider set of institutions in Norway. I am therefore particularly happy to welcome the first co-project leader from the MF Norwegian School of Theology, Religion and Society.'

The applicants submitted their project proposals last fall. Following a rigorous evaluation process, which included an international peer review, the CAS Board of Directors this month selected the following three projects, which will be hosted by the Centre during the 2020/21 academic year:

Books Known Only by Title: Exploring the Gendered Structures of First Millennium Imagined Libraries

Project leaders:

  • Liv Ingeborg Lied, professor of religious studies at the MF Norwegian School of Theology, Religion and Society (MF)
  • Marianne Bjelland Kartzow, professor of New Testament studies at the University of Oslo (UiO)

'We are very much looking forward to our stay at CAS!' Lied and Kartzow said. 'A project that aims to trace books known only by title in literary accounts originating with a wide variety of religious communities across the Middle East can be successful only if scholars from different backgrounds and with diverse expertise are enabled to work together in an environment such as the one offered by CAS.'

What Is a Good Policy? Political Morality, Feasibility, and Democracy

Project leaders:

  • Cathrine Holst, professor of sociology at the University of Oslo (UiO)
  • Jakob Elster, associate professor of philosophy at the Norwegian Centre for Human Rights at the University of Oslo (UiO)

'We are both extremely grateful and happy for the opportunity to pursue our research project at CAS,' Holst and Elster said. 'How we approach disputes over public policy and which policy decisions we make are decisive for the distribution of benefits and burdens in society and affect citizens immensely.

'This makes the task of assessing policies crucial and one where political philosophy, social science, and law should be able to contribute, yet there are important methodological and theoretical challenges involved in such a task, and meeting such challenges requires conversations across disciplinary boundaries. We therefore greatly appreciate the unique possibility which CAS provides us with to establish a multidisciplinary research group.'

Motivic Geometry


Project leaders:

  • Paul Arne Østvær, professor of mathematics at the University of Oslo (UiO)

'This is an exciting time to organise the project Motivic Geometry at CAS,' Østvær said. 'The richness of interactions between researchers in algebraic geometry and motivic homotopy theory, linked by a common desire to understand the geometric nature of spaces, continues to inspire progress on deep mathematical problems.

'The inflection point the subject finds itself at today consists of a deepening of this creative interplay, with dramatic and quite unexpected connections coming into focus. Some of the leading international experts in the field will participate in the project.'


What happens next?

The 2020/21 academic year may be two years away, but the newly minted project leaders have some busy months ahead of them.

Each CAS project will receive a grant of about NOK 3.5 million (dependent upon the continued allocation of public funds by the Norwegian government). The grants are managed by the project leaders, who may use it freely to support their research agenda -- for example by organising conferences or inviting scholars from around the world to collaborate with them in Oslo. CAS will assist the project leaders during the planning process.

Come mid-August 2020, the project leaders and the fellows they have invited will begin arriving in Oslo.

CAS would like to congratulate the 2020/21 project leaders and thank all the scholars who submitted proposals. We encourage scholars whose projects weren't selected to reapply this fall.

The application portal for the 2021/22 academic year will open in October. Read more about the application process here.