Louvain4Evolution: understanding life in the context of biological evolution
Louvain4Evolution is an interdisciplinary research consortium whose projects aim to understand living organisms and their diversity and common characteristics in an evolutionary context. Led by a multidisciplinary team of UCL researchers, the consortium uses an interdisciplinary approach to highlight and synthesise research and ideas centred on evolution-related questions, thereby creating an arena for answering them and for measuring their impact on society.
This is a fundamental mission for a research university such as UCL. The consortium is supported by the Fondation Hélène et Lucien Morren and is part of the Louvain4 interdisciplinary research initiative.
What defines the activity of Louvain4Evolution
Multidisciplinarity and interdisciplinarity: From experimental sciences to human sciences, philosophy to theology, engineering to modelling – evolution-related questions cut across all fields of knowledge and engage researchers from UCL’s three sectors, including but not limited to the fields of biology, chemistry, cosmology, medical engineering, bioethics, anthropology, philosophy, theology and neurology.
Societal challenge: Currently, evolution-related questions are of major concern to society, because they crystallise misunderstandings, confusion, and even intellectual dishonesty, religious conflict, ideological justification for barbaric political or social programmes, and the delegitimisation of science.
Today’s crucial challenge for a humanist, pluralist society based on respect for knowledge and religious freedom is to properly and plainly distinguish forms of knowledge and language. This means placing science, theology and phenomenology at the heart of their respective fields of knowledge, and doing so by bringing together university actors whose research and expertise span as many fields of knowledge, to communicate both with one another and the world.
Approaches to evolution-related questions suffer from a lack of dialogue, from obscurantism, from epistemological confusion, and are often pitted against one another in a way that instils in society a confrontation far-removed from the necessary dialogue.