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Peace and quiet in Stellenbosch

Could you use a few months’ peace and quiet to write a book or research report? Or maybe you want to get down to planning a new project? If so, Stellenbosch in South Africa may be what you’re looking for – LiU researchers can stay there free of charge, financed by two Wallenberg foundations.

The Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Studies (STIAS) started with financial support from the Knut & Alice Wallenberg Foundation and the Marianne & Marcus Wallenberg Foundation, but it was actually Peter Wallenberg Sr. who took the initiative. He wanted to do something for development in Africa, after having worked there most of his life.

Bild: Magnus Berggren. Foto: Thor Balkhed“The idea is that you can find peace and quiet there, to write articles or a book, or to plan a research project, while at the same time meeting other researchers from other fields over the communal lunches. The institute has space for 20 researchers, and it’s a very comfortable working environment”, says Kåre Bremer, board member of STIAS.

Stellenbosch is a pleasant and safe university town located in the wine-growing district an hour’s drive from Cape Town. It is possible to take your family with you, and STIAS arranges board and lodgings (but does not, however, pay any salary).

Two LiU researchers have spent time at Stellenbosch: Olle Inganäs and Magnus Berggren.

“The time I spent at STIAS was really special! Sharp brains are gathered there in order to exchange thoughts and to learn from each other, spanning normal subject boundaries. The discussions ranged freely and developed following a certain topic that a particular researcher had chosen. In other cases a topic could be chosen in discussions, or possibly just arise naturally”, says Magnus Berggren.

“I was particularly impressed by the mixed bag of folk who were ‘STIAS fellows’ when I was there in the spring of 2017. I often ended up in deep discussions after the seminars or during lunch – with an artist, a bishop or a statistician. In the organised meetings and seminars we all debated each other’s research, and you could count on your work being questioned and discussed from angles that are not normally considered.”

“After one of my own seminars I was asked whether my organic electronics technology could make a contribution to solving world hunger and poverty. It was at that moment I realised how narrow our perspective often becomes when working within our own particular field and discipline. So my time as STIAS fellow certainly reinforced my humility and respect for the knowledge of other people, and the work of other researchers and thinkers.”

Information about STIAS with application forms, etc., is available at stias.ac.za

It is generally the rule that successful applicants have achieved the academic level of docent. A period at Stellenbosch can be half a term or longer, where the terms are defined as from 15 January to 15 June, and 15 July to 1 December.

“It’s important to apply well in advance, and to be flexible about the dates you plan to visit. The first half of 2019 is already fully booked”, says Kåre Bremer.


Björn Stafstedt 2018-06-19

Page manager: elisabet.wahrby@liu.se
Last updated: 2018-06-20