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

The applicants submitted their project proposals last fall. Following a rigorous evaluation process, which included international peer review, the CAS Board of Directors this month selected the following three projects, which will be hosted by the Centre during the 2021/22 academic year:


Exploring the archaeological migration narrative: The introduction of farming and animal husbandry in southern Norway

Project leader: Martin Furholt, professor at the Department of Archaeology, Conservation and History, University of Oslo (UiO).

Furholt writes in an email about why he applied to lead a project at CAS:

‘New technology that enables DNA analyses of ancient material has sparked new discussions about prehistoric migration. CAS represents an excellent opportunity to engage more deeply with these debates.


We want to do this in a critical and constructive spirit. The possibility to sequence the DNA of prehistoric humans and animals has opened fantastic new perspectives on prehistoric social change, but the interdisciplinary collaboration between archaeologists and biologists needs to be intensified and improved. This is especially important, because the new focus on human mobility most certainly holds the key for a better understanding of how farming and animal husbandry were introduced into Norway somewhere between 6000 and 4000 years ago, fundamentally redirecting the course of history in this part of the world’.


Social governance through legislation

Project leaders: Jørn Øyrehagen Sunde, professor at the Faculty of Law, UiB, and Erik Opsahl, professor at the Department of Historical Studies, the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU)

Sunde and Opsahl sum up the following as the rationale behind applying for CAS:

‘Our ambition is to bring together the best of national and international medievalists to explore how the Code of 1274 was used to shape Norwegian politics, society and law for centuries to come. The rather unexamined Code of the Norwegian Realm of 1274 is one of the wonders of European Medieval legal history and an important event in Norwegian history.


We intend the research group to become the core of a future network of scholars studying the role of legislation in state formation and social governance in the Middle Ages. One intense year of research, an academic and social interaction at CAS is the best way to achieve our ambitions.’


Attosecond quantum dynamics beyond the Born-Oppenheimer approximation

Simen Kvaal, senior researcher, and Thomas Bondo Pedersen, professor, both at the Hylleraas Centre for Quantum Molecular Sciences (UiO):

‘We aim to develop novel theoretical and computational methods for fully quantum-mechanical molecular dynamics in the attosecond regime. Recent technological advances in the production of ultrashort laser pulses pave the way for studying dynamics of molecular systems on the time scale of electronic motion - the attosecond time scale. As such experiments are very hard to design and interpret, theory and experiment must go hand in hand.


The central challenge is that the essential time-dependent nature of molecular systems in intense laser fields invalidates the Born-Oppenheimer approximation, which is at the heart of our current understanding of molecular structure.

This CAS project will meet the challenge through an interdisciplinary effort involving top scientists from the mathematics, physics, and theoretical chemistry communities in Europe, the US, and Japan. The CAS framework provides a unique opportunity to address such an ambitious and challenging goal.’