World-leading research boost

Wednesday 13 September 2023

Two new global research centres (GRCs) at St Andrews will harness the power of interdisciplinary research excellence to strengthen the University’s world-leading scholarship, leverage international partnerships, and accelerate our progress in addressing global challenges.  

The Global Centre for Diverse Intelligences (GRCDI) will be established as a hub of international expertise to advance and disseminate the understanding of Diverse Intelligences (DI). 

Co-directors Professor Josep Call and Professor Amanda Seed, both from School of Psychology and Neuroscience, explained: “The quest to understand ‘intelligence’ is one of the great scientific endeavours of our time.

“Intelligence is a multifaceted concept treated by multiple disciplines but often independently from each other. Some understand intelligence as creativity, others as efficiency or rationality, and others simply as learning. The GRCDI will develop a unified theory of intelligence across the natural and social sciences by bringing human and non-human, natural and artificial, and individual and collective intelligences into one enterprise.” 

The St Andrews Centre for Critical Sustainabilities (StACCS) will build on the existing foundations of excellent sustainability research at the University, with the aim of becoming a world-leading platform for informed and engaged research on sustainability.  

Co-directors Dr Louise Reid and Dr Ian Lawson, of the School of Geography and Sustainable Development, observed: “The University has a compelling ambition to place sustainability at the heart of all we do, but now, more than ever, such ambition needs to be enacted.

“Experience demonstrates that taking such action is not always easy. Despite the overwhelming scientific evidence about the unsustainable nature of human activities (with effects such as wildfires, droughts, floods, biodiversity loss, icesheet melting, deepening inequalities, zoonoses, and pandemics), these activities largely continue as usual, with the most significant consequences impacting our most vulnerable communities.

“The difficulty of creating meaningful action is not a lack of scientific knowledge, but instead a lack of social understanding, economic priority, and political will, which stem from a narrow set of views about what sustainability is.

“StACCS tackles this head-on, by bringing together disparate disciplinary traditions in a fair and inclusive way with a commitment to finding novel and creative ways to create new understandings and imaginations around sustainability, in addition to supporting scientific research to promote meaningful change.” 

Commenting on the establishment of the new GRCs, Professor Tom Brown, Vice-Principal (Research, Collections and Innovation), said: “I am delighted to support the foundation of these global research centres. They will enable our world-leading academics to build deep and meaningful international and interdisciplinary research connections allowing their research to address some of the most important and challenging questions facing the world today.” 

Issued by the University of St Andrews Communications Office

Category Research

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