Johannesburg Institute for Advanced Study (JIAS)

Institutes for Advanced Study are at the apex of the research and higher education ladder. They are designed to afford top quality researchers with an opportunity to focus entirely on their central calling in their respective fields, either individually or in collaborative enterprise.

The Johannesburg Institute for Advanced Study (JIAS) is a joint initiative of the University of Johannesburg (UJ), South Africa, and Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Singapore. JIAS aims to create the conditions in which scholars can deliver cutting-edge interdisciplinary thought and research at the highest academic level.

This will be done by reaching beyond the regular teaching and research routines of contemporary higher education, and by encouraging collaborative scholarly co-operation in both the Humanities and Physical Sciences.

JIAS is the first fully fledged institute of advanced learning in Gauteng, South Africa’s political and economic heartland. Although rooted within UJ, and committed to achieving UJ’s institutional goals, JIAS will collaborate with other institutions of higher learning throughout the country.

Head of Institute

Peter Vale
Peter Vale is the Founding Director of the Johannesburg Institute for Advanced Study (JIAS), and Professor of Humanities at the University of Johannesburg. He is also a Visiting Professor in Global Affairs and Public Policy at Nanyang Technological University.

Vale has been widely published in many fields – most recently, his work has focused South African Intellectual Traditions, Critical Perspectives on post-apartheid South Africa, the history of Political Science in that country, and the Johannesburg origins of the discipline of International Relations.

With John Higgins, last year he edited a Special Issue of the journal, Arts and Humanities in Higher Education, which was published under the title, “State of Urgency: The Humanities in South Africa.”

He is Member of the Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAF); and Fellow of the African Academy of Science, the Royal Society of South Africa, and the World Academy of Arts and Science.

What If?


The Johannesburg Institute for Advanced Study (JIAS) is a joint initiative of the University of Johannesburg (UJ), and Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Singapore. Its goal is to promote research beyond the regular teaching and research activities at institutions of higher learning.

JIAS encourages collaborative and focused scholarly initiatives in both the humanities and the natural sciences.

When set against the pace of progress in digital technology and the increasing complexity of issues facing global society, both the humanities and the natural sciences are approaching a major crossroad.

At JIAS, we look beyond the present frameworks set by  disciplinary boundaries. We are keen to admit the limits of our knowledge in order to probe issues that we still do not fully understand.


At JIAS – We explore. We investigate. We debate. We agree, and disagree. We question everything – and we often ask ourselves: “but what if…?”

What if we could generate ground-breaking knowledge right here in Johannesburg  through an interdisciplinary intellectual community and continue to increase number of Fellowships each year?

What if Africa can become the producer of new knowledge and deliver ongoing break-through research in fields of  scholarship that lie beyonf the fozen borders of the humanities and natural sciences?

Imagine a place where we can come together to share and celebrate our diverse backgrounds, cultures, research methods, experiences, dreams, fears and aspirations for the future.

There is such a place right here in the hub of South Africa’s economy – right here at the University of Johannesburg – it is called JIAS!