• Discover Interdisciplinary Cooperation at ASU

    ASU Interdisciplinary Study of Cooperation Winter School

  • January 6-10, 2020

    Arizona State University, Tempe

    The ASU Interdisciplinary Study of Cooperation Winter School

    Cooperation is an inherently interdisciplinary topic, and one that can only be effectively studied through multiple methods and with the engagement of diverse scholars across many disciplines. The ASU Interdisciplinary Study of Cooperation Winter School provides a forum for learning about the fundamental processes underlying cooperation across diverse systems and disciplines including Psychology, Evolutionary Biology, Anthropology, Sociology and Computational Modeling. Through lectures, seminars and small tutorial sessions, students in the Winter School have the opportunity to learn from leading cooperation researchers, build new skills and develop projects.

    Who can attend

    The ASU Interdisciplinary Study of Cooperation Winter School is aimed at graduate students and postdoctoral fellows but is also open to advanced undergraduates and early career faculty in any disciplinary field.

    Application process

    Prospective students are required to submit application materials including an application form, an essay, an abstract for a poster (if applicable) and a letter of recommendation. Applications will be evaluated by the Scientific Organizing Committee. Many applicants will be invited to present their work in the form of a poster at the Winter School.

    Lodging, transportation and registration

    Registration is heavily subsidized by the Interdisciplinary Cooperative Initiative at ASU. Food, lodging, outings and course costs are all included in the cost of registration, which is $500. Students coming from labs that are unable to pay the cost of registration or travel can apply for grants to cover up to $400 of the registration costs and $300 in transportation expenses. 

  • Lecturers

    Lecturers provide extensive training to students during the Winter School

    Athena Aktipis

    Cooperation across systems

    Athena Aktipis is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology at Arizona State University, the Director of the Interdisciplinary Cooperation Initiative at ASU and co-Director of The Human Generosity Project. She studies cooperation across systems from human sharing to cancer. She is also the chair of the Zombie Apocalypse Medicine Meeting; and host of the new podcast, Zombified.

    Lee Cronk

    Cultural and biological influences on cooperation

    Lee Cronk, a Professor of Anthropology at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey, and is co-director of the Human Generosity Project. Dr. Cronk is the author of several books including Meeting at Grand Central: Understanding the Social and Evolutionary Roots of Cooperation. Cronk maintains research interests on such topics as parenting, signaling, and the relationship between culture and behavior.

    Aurora Nedelcu

    The evolution of multicellularity and major transitions

    Aurora Nedelcu is a Professor of Biology at the University of New Brunswick. Her research centers on understanding the evolution of cooperation in the transition to multicellularity , including the evolution of complexity, cell differentiation, programmed death, and many other topics. She uses experimental and theoretical methods across many levels of biological organization (including genes, genomes, cells, individuals, and groups) and bridges many fields including genetics/genomics, molecular, cell and developmental biology, ecology and evolution.

    Nichola Raihani

    Mechanisms that maintain cooperation

    Nichola Raihani is a Professor at University College London in the Department of Experimental Psychology. She studies mechanisms that maintain cooperation in interactions where partners may otherwise be tempted to exploit one another, working on both humans and non-humans. Raihani studies these mechanisms as well as the ecological causes and evolutionary consequences of individual variation in cooperation.

  • Speakers

    Speakers give talks and lead tutorial sessions during the Winter School

    Arvid Agren

    Genomic conflict and social evolution

    Arvid Agren is an evolutionary biologist studying the causes and consequences of genomic conflicts. He is currently a Wenner-Gren Fellow at Harvard at the Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology at Harvard University.

    Jennifer Fewell

    Division of labor and cooperation in insect societies

    Jennifer Fewell is a President’s Professor and faculty leader for the Organismal, Integrative and Systems Biology Group in the School of Life Sciences. Her research centers around the organization and evolution of insect societies. She is particularly interested in the topics of work organization and the emergence of the division of labor in social groups. Fewell also studies the roles of self-organization and selection in shaping social cooperation.

    Shade Shutters

    Cooperation in practice and policymaking

    Shade Shutters is a complexity scientist who uses various computational and data-intensive methods to (1) Understand fundamental aspects of social dilemmas across all scales of life; (2) Develop a deeper understanding of social dynamics and complex systems to create solutions to pressing societal issues, particularly in urban systems; and (3) Work with practitioners/policy-makers to design decision tools, implement solutions, and effect change. He is currently a Research Scientist in the Global Security Initiative at ASU.

    Roger White

    Cooperation and cheating in markets

    Roger White is an Assistant Professor in the W. P. Carey School of Business. His studies the incentives and institutions that maintain the viability of markets. He uses big data to investigate fraud and other forms of cheating, as well as the roles of regulation and communication in maintaining cooperation.

    Polly Wiessner

    Culture, cooperation and traditional institutions

    Polly Wiessner is a Professor of Anthropology at the School of Human Evolution and Social Change, Arizona State University, a Research Professor at the University of Utah and a member of the National Academy of Sciences. Her recent work has been on the anthropology of the night: how firelight conversations transmit essential information on kinship connections, social networks, sharing and other social institutions to promote cooperation. Her second field site is among the Enga of Papua New Guinea where she has conducted 30 years of ethnohistorical research on exchange, ritual and warfare. She is currently studying the breakdown of traditional cultural institutions with the introduction of new technology and rapid economic change and how the Enga are applying restorative justice based to rebuild communities and maintain harmony through reciprocity. Wiessner has authored, co-authored or edited four books.

  • How to be a part of the ASU ISC Winter School



    Submit your application and travel award request through our online system.



    Create a poster about your work and do background reading (up to 6 hours).



    Learn from leaders in cooperation theory through lectures and tutorials.

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