The College’s Calleva Research Centre for Evolution and Human Science was inaugurated in October 2010 as a result of a generous donation from an Old Member. Its aims are to investigate key questions about the origins, development, causes and functions of human behaviour by bridging the humanities, social, cognitive, and biological sciences within a broad evolutionary framework. The Centre’s work is embodied through support for a series of fixed-term interdisciplinary research programmes that draw on unique collaborations between Magdalen Fellows working in these diverse fields and external partners; and also in a series of Symposiums and Seminars which have provided opportunities for wider discussion and showcasing of the Centre’s work.Past projects have been awarded to teams of Fellows combining the following disciplines, in various combinations: Anthropology, Biochemistry, Classics, Economics, English Literature, Evolutionary Biology, History, Neuroscience and Psychology. It is an important principle of the Centre that its awards might be made to support work associated with any one of Magdalen’s Fellows and therefore that its remit is seen as encompassing, from an interdisciplinary perspective, the subjects of all Magdalen Fellows.
The Centre’s first project brought together psychologists, neuroscientists, economists, evolutionary biologists and Since 2017, the Centre has been supporting three research projects which will be completing their work over the coming year:
- Investigating the effect of network structure and dynamics on social behaviour in humans.
- Changing Lives: childhood experience, cumulative risk, and supportive environments across the life course.
- Molecules and their markers: understanding evolution in deep and real time.
You can read more about the work done within these projects below.
A new award made in 2022 has been to a team led by Tim Barraclough that brings together expertise in plant science, evolutionary biology, economics and industrial research and development. Their project will focus on new approaches being taken to the control of plant disease using RNA-based technology, informed by the evolutionary histories of fungal pathogens. The work will be discussed at an upcoming Calleva Centre Seminar (see link below).