Since it was established in 2001, ARI has matured into one of the world’s foremost research centres on Asia. With close to 100 scholars working across the social sciences and humanities, it is enviably well placed to undertake innovative, inter-disciplinary research on the Asian region. Unusually, ARI is housed under one roof, permitting the cross-disciplinary engagements and conversations that are vital to the research that ARI encourages and provokes. The location of ARI at NUS, one of the Asia-Pacific’s premier universities, and NUS itself in Singapore, a historical and contemporary crossroads, provides the Institute with an incomparable institutional and geographical home for research on Asia. Finally, ARI benefits from outstanding support staff and first-rate facilities.
ARI’s modus operandi is to bring the finest scholars, both early career and more established, to Singapore to work in inter-disciplinary teams in an environment that encourages innovative thinking and supports research excellence. Research at ARI is structured into seven cross-disciplinary research clusters: Asian migration, Asian urbanisms, Changing family in Asia, Cultural studies in Asia, Metacluster: Asian connections, Religion and globalisation, and Science, technology and society. These clusters hold regular seminars, workshops, reading groups and conferences, providing the settings for critical engagements and exchanges between scholars with allied intellectual interests but different disciplinary pedigrees and methodological inclinations.
The Institute maintains close working relationships with departments in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, and with scholars in the Faculty of Law, School of Business, School of Design and Environment, LKY School of Public Policy, the Global Asia Institute as well as the area research centres of NUS, such as the East Asia Institute, Institute of South Asian Studies and the Middle East Institute. In 2016 we will move from Bukit Timah to a new building on the main campus, enabling ARI to deepen these ties. ARI also draws on a rich network of international associations and collaborations, within Asia and beyond.
It is important to emphasise that ARI is a research and not a policy institute. That said, we do seek, where appropriate, to bring our research to bear in terms of key practical challenges and ensuing policy debates, from religion and development, to migration and poverty reduction, and the governance of disasters. Many of these initiatives are supported and extended with grants from national and international funding bodies.
ARI’s core, permanent staff often have a foot in disciplinary departments where they teach courses and supervise graduate students. The Institute’s postdoctoral scholars and more established research fellows are attached to one of the research clusters and represent ARI’s research heart. The Institute also benefits enormously from the intellectual vitality brought by short-term visiting fellows from across the globe as well as numerous other visitors. This mixture of permanent NUS staff, dedicated postdoctoral researchers, more established fellows, research associates linked to projects, as well as short-term visitors provides the stimulating mix of scholars which makes, I think, ARI unique as a centre for research on Asia.
I look forward to welcoming you to ARI!