CAS was established as an independent foundation in 1989. Since its opening in 1992, the Centre has hosted over 100 research projects and more than 1500 fellows. Although many years have passed, CAS’ vision is still the same: our aim is to further excellent basic, curiosity-driven, research.
To support such blue sky research is no less important today than when CAS was first conceived. When facing dire circumstances such as climate change, pandemics, collapsing democracies and war on our continent, one might easily get convinced that from now on research must be directed to solve our imminent challenges. Hence, 'missions' is the buzzword in science policy.
Much can be said for setting concrete and measurable goals for scientific development. Still, one must never forget that free and curiosity-driven research is not only an essential expression of mankind’s quite unique ability to question and reflect on its own existence and surroundings. History has repeatedly shown us that this approach also provides insights which contain later solutions to imminent crises and challenges.
Moreover, new and unknown national and global challenges are bound to show up. To be prepared to handle problems that we have not yet encountered it is necessary to support and further a broad specter of research areas and activities at the level of basic research.
Finally, basic science does not only deliver the means for solving problems, be they current or future. Basic science sometimes also discovers surprising new entities and opens our eyes for a host of new problems and challenges. Such entities might well exercise their influence on us even though their existence would remain unknown to us without the aid of fundamental science.
CAS is designed to accommodate and further excellent blue sky research in all its breadth and variety. Our Centre offers funding and facilities which enable the scholars to carry out the research they are curious about – uninterrupted by other demands, in depth, together with their handpicked international team. And the driving force in all our projects is the quest for new knowledge, new ideas and not the least new questions.
We look forward to an exciting year with our CAS Research Grant groups and our Young CAS Grant groups. Their themes span across a vast domain of disciplines and areas but we nevertheless believe that we will experience spontaneous cross fertilization across the projects.
We also look forward to further cooperation with our international networks NetIAS and NordIAS. It has been exciting and stimulating to partake in the development of new international initiatives and we hope to be able to offer new funding schemes for scholars within the next couple of years.
Professor Camilla Serck-Hanssen