Our Activities

IIAS takes a multidisciplinary and multi-sector approach to the study of Asia.

The study of Asia

IIAS's objective is to encourage the multi-disciplinary and comparative study of Asia. To provide focus within such a broad remit, IIAS organises its research and other activities around the three thematic clusters: ‘Asian Cities’, ‘Global Asia’ and ‘Asian Heritages’. Each addresses questions relevant to present-day Asian societies while paying attention to long term historical trends.  However, the scope of IIAS's research interests is naturally broad and we remain open to new ideas for other important research topics.

Linking expertise and encouraging dialogue

All IIAS initiatives are collaborative in nature, drawing on the Institute’s exceptional range of academic and professional networks. Thanks to these networks IIAS can effectively fulfil its role as a global networker in Asian Studies, bringing together multiple trans-regional actors, who, coming from different disciplines and perspectives, can each contribute their specific knowledge and expertise to the dialogue.

Supporting fellowships

IIAS hosts many postdoctoral researchers (fellows) in Asian Studies. Most fellows hold a PhD in some branch of learning from the social sciences or humanities. Fellows are supported financially by either IIAS, partner universities, or national and international funding agencies, or are self-funded. In addition, IIAS also facilitates the work of various professors as part of agreements with Dutch universities, foreign ministries and funding organisations.

Disseminating knowledge

In keeping with the Dutch tradition of transferring goods and ideas, IIAS works as a clearinghouse of knowledge and information. In this way, IIAS functions as a window on Europe for non-European scholars and contributes to the cultural rapprochement between Asia and Europe. 

This results in a number of specific activities, such as:

Providing information services

  • The Newsletter, the world's main academic periodical linking scholars and others interested in the current trends in Asian studies;
  • IIAS website, which aims to serve as a prime online source for Asian studies;
  • IIAS PhD platform;

Constructing international networks and setting up cooperative projects

IIAS believes that in the present environment of globalisation, the distinctive national traditions of research and scholarship need to be brought together into complementary partnerships, with the aim of enhancing their relevance. IIAS works closely together with national and international strategic partners to set up new research projects and networks. IIAS plays a strategic and leading role as initiator and lead partner of a number of institutional networks, including the "International Convention of Asian Scholars" (ICAS), the "European Alliance for Asian Studies"  and the "Leiden Consortium for Asian Studies". Besides the promotion, facilitation and initiation of academic cooperation, IIAS also seeks to collaborate with cultural, social and political organisations in Asia or with Asia as their focus.

Organising seminars, workshops, conferences and roundtables, as well as outreach activities for the wider public.

Publication of books through the IIAS publication series Global AsiaAsian Cities and Asian Heritages.

At a broader level, IIAS strives to link up with other groups in society, including business people, civil society organisations, policy makers, and the media with the purpose of making expertise on Asia available to non-academic organisations.