The Institute for Philosophy and Social Theory (IFDT) is part of the University of Belgrade. It has strong cooperation with all social science and humanities faculties within the University and a fruitful collaboration with the civil sector organizations. IFDT has long-standing partnerships with academic institutions from all parts of Europe and wider and is by far the most active of all research institutions in Serbia: it hosts on average one major international conference every three months, and has a regular weekly program of seminars that gather foreign lecturers (Visiting Lecturers program, which has seen over 100 distinguished scholars giving lectures at the Institute only over the past 3 years). IFDT has the highest proportion of work published in high-impact international academic journals of all social science institutes in Serbia measured per number of research staff. IFDT publishes one of the most reputable Serbian peer-reviewed academic journal, Philosophy and Society (Filozofija i društvo).
IFDT is a regular recipient of numerous foundation grants to foster social science research and policy advice, including a grant in 2014, of the Swiss RRRP Scheme to advance the research potential and cooperation of institutes in the South-East European region and a grant in Erasmus+ Jean Monnet Network scheme in 2018 to advance innovative democratic practices in Western Balkans. IFDT is a partner institution in two Horizons projects: TWin of Online Social Networks (TWON, no. 101095095) and Enlightened trust: An examination of trust and distrust in governance – conditions, effects, and remedies (ENTRUST, no. 870572).
IFDT is a member of the Open Society University Network, where it leads the Working Group on Participatory Democratic Innovations and Sortition. Finally, IFDT is a key partner of the Council of Europe in Western Balkans for implementing the Participatory Democracy Academy and Council of Europe School on Participatory Democracy Tools.
The strengths of the Institute arise from its four main characteristics:
- strong international connections and participation in many research projects at all levels of funding,
- leading research standing in its field in Serbia,
- strong and highly effective management structure, and
- systematic participation in regional research infrastructure.
IFDT also has a particular reputation in the region connected with democratization and academic integrity. It was the institute that was established, after World War 2, by the then Communist government of Yugoslavia to provide a separate part of the University of Belgrade where all the ‘renegade professors’, ‘dissidents’, and ‘anarchist-liberals’ would be placed. Due to the academically prodigious profile of the ‘renegade’ professors, who were leaders of the pro-democracy movement, IFDT quickly became the most internationally connected part of the University of Belgrade. It was the part of the University where members of the infamous dissident ‘Praxis Group’ were based, editing the influential international journal in political studies ‘Praxis Studies’, and working throughout the region on democracy promotion through the ‘democracy schools’, the most famous of which was the Korčula Summer Forum.