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The Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR) unites all social science research of the UvA. The research programme focuses on the functioning of contemporary societies and their interrelationships from historical, comparative and empirical perspectives.

The research programme is organised into thematically focused groups with an anchor in one or more of the 4 represented disciplines:

  • Sociology
  • Geography, Planning & Development Studies
  • Political Science
  • Anthropology

Cooperation across these programme groups is institutionalised in interdisciplinary centres.

AISSR Mission Statement

AISSR stimulates researchers to develop research programmes and outcomes that are at the forefront of scholarly endeavour. These should be relevant and able to contribute to a better practical understanding of both past and contemporary social and policy issues. This pursuit of scholarly excellence and societal relevance must also contribute to the training and emergence of a future generation of researchers. 

  • 1. To provide talented social scientists with an inspiring intellectual environment
    • Academic relevance: the institute will facilitate and stimulate social scientists to engage in state-of-the-art research on key social and policy issues, to generate and publish new research findings and to contribute new insights and perspectives to social science theory.
    • Methodological excellence: the institute builds upon and promotes interaction across a variety of methodological traditions and expertise. By developing a methods lab, the AISSR aims to ensure that scholars conduct empirical research that is grounded in valid and relevant methodologies and fosters methodological innovation.
    • Social relevance: AISSR research themes are highly pertinent to a rapidly changing society. The AISSR therefore contributes to public debates on key issues – to interventions that address pressing social problems – and engages with relevant stakeholders (government agencies, NGOs and the private sector), at local, national and global levels.
    • Educational relevance: AISSR researchers teach in high-quality, research-driven PhD, research Master’s and Master’s programmes that attract students both nationally and globally. The AISSR ensures high-quality, stimulating post-graduate supervision and the timely completion of PhD projects. It fosters the careers of its graduates by providing a strong PhD Community including coaching and training, and encouraging PhD students to publish early in their career.
    • Leadership and the research environment: the AISSR Academic Director and the Programme Directors are committed to good governance and human resource management, through well-defined workplace policies and transparent procedures.
  • 2. To foster theoretical and methodological pluralism and innovation
    • The AISSR integrates scholars from sociology, anthropology, political science, geography, planning and development studies who accept and apply theoretical and methodological diversity in their research and publications. The AISSR maintains and preserves this theoretical and methodological pluralism through annual internal evaluations and by devoting explicit attention to such pluralism in its hiring and promotion policies.
    • The AISSR supports and stimulates interaction and exchange across this theoretical and methodological diversity.
    • The AISSR provides time, space and facilities to promote scholars who pursue and develop innovation in terms of theory, research themes and methodologies.
  • 3. To promote a culture of multidisciplinary and international collaboration
    • The AISSR fosters and supports the emergence of multidisciplinary research programmes and centres that promote cross-disciplinary cooperation among the disciplines represented in the institute, to better address key problems in social science research and in society.
    • The AISSR promotes the widespread dissemination of research findings in a variety of venues so as to enhance the impact of research output, emphasising, in particular, the importance of high-impact journals and books published by reputable academic publishing houses.
    • The AISSR promotes the development of European, international and comparative research partnerships, promoting both national-level and cross-border exchange with networks and centres of excellence in Europe and elsewhere.
    • The AISSR encourages interaction with internationally recognised scholars through invitational lectures, seminars and conferences and by funding research fellowships and visiting professorships, thus facilitating intellectual exchange.