A Brief History Of IFIAS

The idea of the International Federation of Institutes for Advanced Study was conceived at a Nobel Symposium 14 in Stockholm in 1969, entitled “The Place of Value in a World of Facts.” IFIAS was founded at a second workshop in March, 1972, attended by 18 prominent research institutions from developed and developing countries. IFIAS’ original objectives were:

  • To promote and carry out joint transdisciplinary and transnational research on world problems with a special emphasis on social, ethical and humanistic aspects;
  • To exchange information and staff among its members in industrial and developing countries and to help place the work of its members in a wider perspective of human and global needs;
  • To build, through its network of contacts, a new type of community of joint interests, and research for the discussion and promotion of new ideas, concepts and evaluations of the long-term implications and consequences of the work of the members;
  • To involve decision-makers in its work and to develop mechanisms for effective communication of the results to decision-makers.

The IFIAS Secretariat was located in Sweden from 1972 to 1986, and for ten of those years, operated from space in the Royal Place donated by the King of Sweden, Carl XVI Gustaf. IFIAS projects during the Sweden years included:

  • World water resources and strategies for management
  • Schistosomiasis – snails and health
  • The impact of climatic change on the character and quality of human life
  • Socio-economic and ethical implications of enzyme engineering
  • Energy and quality of life
  • Self-reliant development
  • Human settlements – ecological guidelines for human settlements and space utilization
  • Interaction of health, nutrition, and education in optimal human development
  • Save our soils
  • Science and technology for development – role of transnational corporations
  • Science and technology in Islam and the West: a synthesis
  • Adapting economic theory to changing global conditions
  • Analysing biospheric change
  • Integrated national strategies for science and technology
  • The new industrial and technological revolution and its impact on the industrial sector of the LDCs
  • Internationally organized research and national decision-making

In 1986, the IFIAS Secretariat moved to Canada, and until 1998 was located at 39 Spadina Road in Toronto. IFIAS projects since moving to Canada, other than the continuing programmes, include:

  • Human Dimensions of Global Change
  • International Diffusion of Biotechnology
  • Science and Technology in Global Economic Change