The main activities of the Collegium are to generate a pool of internationally recognised researchers in Budapest, provide them with appropriate research facilities, including the research infrastructure, facilitate networking, and to organise seminars and cultural events in order to promote science and culture. The major fields of research at the institute are determined by the permanent fellows, including economics, humanities, social sciences, theoretical biology, theoretical physics and transition studies.
The mission of Collegium Budapest (CB) is to promote sciences and culture by giving internationally recognised academics and young researchers an opportunity to pursue research of their own interest in an international environment. The institute operates with a very small number of permanent staff and groups of fellows visiting the institute on a project base. The CB is organised on the basis of the model of the Princeton Institute for Advanced Study, the Wissenschaftskolleg in Berlin, the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study in Wassenaar (NIAS), the Swedish Collegium for Advanced Study in the Social Sciences in Uppsala (SCASSS) and other similar institutions.
As an adaptation of the Princeton model, Collegium Budapest represents a new type of institute that differs as much from universities as it does from specialised research institutes. It offers its Fellows the exceptional opportunity to be temporarily relieved from administrative and teaching obligations; something that allows them to fully focus on their chosen research plan, be it individual, or teamwork.
The Collegium invites applications from internationally recognised scholars every year to work on their individual projects. The CB provides facilities for 10-15 so called “Core” Fellows every year, of which 3-5 researchers conduct pre- or post doctoral studies. Applications for the Core Fellow position are accepted in all fields of science, including humanities, social sciences or theoretical natural sciences. The CB also supports resident scholars, who work on interdisciplinary research projects in areas which are of special interest to the Collegium.
Collegium Budapest, the first institute for advanced study in Central and Eastern Europe was established in 1991. The Collegium is an independent Hungarian legal entity, funded by public and private sponsorship. The main actors of the Collegium’s establishment were the Hungarian government, the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, the Wissenschaftsstiftung Ernst Reuter Berlin, as well as other governments and private foundations from Western Europe. The CB’s foundation document declares that the institute is an autonomous, international non-profit research organisation. Funding of Collegium Budapest is based on two "Common Declarations" of 17 July 1991 and of 27 September 1997 in which the founding members have declared their willingness to further support the Collegium. In its firs ten years of operation Collegium Budapest was able to attract approx. EUR 20 million funding (including a donation for its guest house) and hosted more than 600 researchers.
The Collegium offers fellowships for internationally recognised researchers to conduct their own research projects, or participate in one of the themes pursued by the CB.