Mission & Overview

color photo of Obermann Center house


The Obermann Center for Advanced Studies (OCAS) serves the research mission of the University of Iowa. The Center is a convening space dedicated to debate and discovery. Our grants for University of Iowa artists and researchers support imaginative collaborations and multi-disciplinary exploration. Our programming connects scholars across campus and engages the larger public in the ambitious, illuminating, and transformative work of the artists and scholars we serve. 


Serving a unique role at the University of Iowa

Situated in an old house on the north end of campus, we provide offices for six Fellows-in-Residence each semester, scholars who have supported leave. Other Obermann programs provide funding and staffing for a major annual humanities conference, small group collaborations, and an intensive seminar for graduate students, to name a few. In addition, the Center is a nexus for University-community activities, including lectures, workshops, and performances.

The Obermann Center falls under the auspices of the Office of the Vice President for Research. The Obermann Center Director reports to the Vice President for Research and is advised by a faculty-based Advisory Board.

Scholars gazing at window
Obermann Center programs are​ designed to:

  • Create an intellectual community that values interdisciplinary and collaborative approaches and the rigorous thought, long hours, and great passion at the heart of artistic and scholarly excellence.

  • Support the work of University of Iowa artists, researchers, and scholars when creative and research projects demand concentrated effort.

  • Foster imaginative interdisciplinary collaborations across disciplines, institutions, and world locations.

  • Inspire faculty and graduate students to experiment with new ideas, approaches, methods, partnerships, and forms for sharing knowledge and resources.

  • Broaden and deepen the impact of the Obermann Center’s support by encouraging faculty members and graduate students to share discoveries through new and re-imagined courses and curricula.

  • Connect the campus with city, state, and global communities through public programming and support for networks of artists, scholars, researchers, local citizens, and international colleagues.