Research Institute for Advanced Studies (IAS)

IAS funded projects


Small brainstorm meetings on new horizons


By P. Cardoso-Leite, S. Camarda and J. Botev

Gaming plays a significant role in society, serving not only as a source of entertainment but as a tool for education, work, or therapy. More than a third of the world population across all demographic strata is playing video games which, contrary to most other media, are inherently interactive and offer unique affordances. An interdisciplinary game research group combining expertise from cognitive and educational sciences, psychology, computer science, media studies, geography, music, and history, can assess the effectiveness of such applications, inform best practices, and explore their potential for positive social change by uncovering key factors influencing player behaviour, motivation, and enjoyment. The interactivity of video games uniquely enables the collection of large and rich data sets that can accelerate scientific progress.

The rapid pace at which technology, industry, and culture are advancing the development of video games, poses numerous theoretical and methodological challenges for researchers. Scholars must engage in continuous learning and adapt their approaches to keep up with evolving technologies, navigate the complexities of merging methodologies from different fields to establish common research frameworks, and employ culturally sensitive methodologies while developing new ethical and data management guidelines for video game research. The creation of an interdisciplinary group will allow us to tackle these challenges by combining our diverse expertise and perspectives. Our group of researchers aims to design, develop, and use video games for research and make game studies a pillar of excellence at the University of Luxembourg. The main objective of the IAS Brainstorm is to develop a concrete strategy for establishing world-class interdisciplinary video game research at the University of Luxembourg.

The IAS Brainstorm will have the following important outcomes and results: (1) the production of a comprehensive white paper, (2) the establishment of a transdisciplinary research group, (3) the formation of an international board of mentors consisting of renowned experts and experienced professionals, (4) the implementation of reciprocal research stays and exchanges in relevant institutions, and (5) the development of concrete plans to secure national and international research funding.

  • Prof. Dr. Pedro CARDOSO LEITE

    Prof. Dr. Pedro CARDOSO LEITE

    Associate professor in Cognitive Science and Assessment
  • Sandra CAMARDA

    Sandra CAMARDA

    Assistant professor in Transmedia Storytelling
  • Dr. Jean BOTEV

    Dr. Jean BOTEV

    Research scientist


by A. Tkatchenko, A. Del Campo Echevarria and A. Chenu

Quantum chemistry and quantum field theory correspond to two disparate research fields, which for a long time have shown no practical intersections.

Quantum chemistry studies atomic and molecular/materials systems, from the standard quantum-mechanical point of view, based on the consideration of matter as consisting of different particles (electrons, protons, and neutrons). In contrast to such a particle-based description, quantum field theory deals with different quantum fields and describes particles as excited states of their underlying quantum fields, which are assumed to be more fundamental than the particles. Such a more general and unified consideration of nature delivers a complete description of all phenomena related to physical processes within material objects and quantum (vacuum) fields as well as all interactions between material objects and quantum fields.

For a long time, this complete description of nature within the research field of quantum field theory remained just a theoretical concept without real applications, due to its very demanding practical aspects. However, the state of the art in the biotech and pharma industries requires researchers to develop robust methods for efficient description of structural and dynamical properties of molecular systems, consisting of millions of atoms, with a high accuracy. Similar to crystals, for large (bio)molecules, the methods of quantum field theory (like the second-quantization formalism for collective excitations) become more attractive for practical applications than the conventional particle-based description commonly used in quantum chemistry. Thus, for further progress in this research field, quantum chemists inevitably need to employ quantum field theory.

The aim of the planned workshop is to bring together scientists from the two research fields and initiate their world-wide collaborative work on the solution of the aforementioned problems by developing robust methods for description of large (bio)molecules consisting of millions of atoms. As a result, a new strong and large interdisciplinary scientific community should be eventually established, which will significantly facilitate the progress in several areas of industrial applications, including hot topics such as nanotechnologies, biotechnologies, and pharmaceuticals.

  • Prof. Dr. Alexandre TKATCHENKO

    Prof. Dr. Alexandre TKATCHENKO

    Full professor in Theoretical Condensed Matter Physics


    Full professor in theoretical condensed matter physics
  • Prof. Dr. Aurélia CHENU

    Prof. Dr. Aurélia CHENU

    Associate professor in Theoretical physics, with a focus on quantum systems

by A. Leist, S. Zanaj – University of Luxembourg and A. Bertogg – University of Konstanz (Germany)

Background. Policymakers increasingly recognize the importance of brain health, broadly defined as ‘preservation of optimal brain integrity and mental and cognitive function at a given age in the absence of overt brain diseases that affect normal brain function’ (Wang et al., 2020) for the capacity of societies’ functioning: (1) Individuals have to manage and navigate increasingly complex and digital environments in private life, political participation, and professional careers; (2) It is vital to delay later-life cognitive impairment, as it is a heavy burden for affected individuals and their families, as well as costly for welfare states and healthcare systems. Concurrently, population health research on risk factors for dementia and cognitive decline has identified a number of individual-level lifestyle and health behaviours, as well as contextual – i.e., policy-driven – determinants (related to human development, economic conditions, or educational opportunities) influencing brain health in the short, medium, and long run.

Research objectives and methods. We aim to convene a workshop to: (1) Build a conceptual framework and systematise hypothesised policy impacts on the under-researched links between policymaking and brain health, including a life-course and equity perspective; (2) Taking stock of the evidence with regard to relevant policy levels (regional, national, supranational) and policy fields – related to education, public health, work, retirement, possibly also migration, youth, environmental policies – and possible interdependencies that could, through different pathways, influence brain health; and (3) Set up a future research agenda to develop the (under-researched) evidence with regard to methods, relevant actual and future datasets, and specific areas of interest, e.g., equity, life course. These objectives will be achieved through preparation of the workshop via a concept note, moderated discussions and break-out groups, and post-workshop writing up of a framework paper on policy impacts on brain health.

Proposed outcomes. This interdisciplinary workshop, convening renowned and next-generation research leaders in population brain health, policy, neurology, life course, and gender, will open up new research avenues at the frontiers of knowledge to achieve research excellence through (1) advancing state of the art in brain health research and (2) educating the next generation of researchers.

  • Prof. Dr. Anja LEIST

    Prof. Dr. Anja LEIST

    Associate professor
  • Prof. Dr. Skerdilajda ZANAJ

    Prof. Dr. Skerdilajda ZANAJ

    Full professor
  • Universität Konstanz

    Prof. Ariane Bertogg

    Akademische Mitarbeiterin

by J. Dusdal and J. Pang

The creation of scientific knowledge across disciplines grows and increasingly spreads globally. However, we know less about how scientific breakthroughs diffuse and reshape (multi)disciplinary fields, ultimately impacting society at large.

The goal of the proposed 2-day workshop is to create a research network of international experts and established and emerging UL researchers from different disciplines and faculties to generate knowledge in a novel field: the study of scientization––or how prior scientific knowledge influences subsequent patterns of diffusion, knowledge transfer, and new scientific subfields (Objective 1).

By uniquely combining theories from sociology of science, classic bibliometric key performance indicators, and big data to analyze scientific information (e.g. data mining and network analysis from computer science, statistical mechanics) we will lay the foundation for novel research on the underlying structure, dynamics, and consequences of scientization. Where they overlap is the intellectual, interdisciplinary space of the study of scientization. SEEDS will develop a study design able to test hypotheses about scientization and its consequences (Objective 2).

We will examine the impact of breakthrough findings, along with related major new instrumentation and unique collaborations, on subsequent scientization—measured through publications, citations, patents, and media accounts of societal applications and consequences. We aim to map such cross-disciplinary and fundamental lines of inquiry flowing from crucial scientific events, and will develop a novel set of criteria to operationalize growing scientization after a scientific breakthrough.

A major methodological innovation will be collaborations with experts in each of the selected fields––biology/medicine, chemistry, material sciences, computer science, neuroscience, education, physics––to stimulate debates on theoretical and methodological approaches, data acquisition, and analysis, long identified as an important research gap. We intend to facilitate the development of greater synergies across different areas to enhance the (inter)national visibility of this nascent field of research in Luxembourg.

Major short-, mid-, long-term outcomes of this workshop include submission of a “Perspective” in Science or Nature, a series of articles on disciplinary case studies, applications to high-impact (inter) national funding sources, and consequently the constitution of the new international research area SEEDS.