Prof Jannie Hofmeyr, member of the STIAS Fellowship and Programme Committe, has recently been awarded a fellowship at the Berlin Institute for Advanced Study (Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin, or Wiko). He will be a fellow at the Institute from 15 September 2014 to 15 July 2015, and intends to write a book about his research of the past few years which deals with the remarkable ability of living organisms to produce themselves. He considers this characteristic of self-fabrication, which underpins processes of growth, reproduction and recovery, as the key to life.
“Through my involvement at STIAS, I constantly see the enormous value of such a fellowship at a leading institute for advanced study. I have dreamt of having the luxury to work uninterrupted on a project for 10 months in an environment where one rub shoulders with world-class researchers from different disciplines on a daily basis,” says Hofmeyr, Director of SU’s Centre for Studies in Complexity (CSC), an interdisciplinary initiative that forms part of the University’s HOPE Project.
The Wiko is one of the most prestigious research institutes in the world and has since 1981 given internationally recognized researchers the opportunity to work on a chosen research project for a year. The Institute also promotes collaboration between researchers from different countries and disciplines.
Previous South African recipients of Wiko fellowships include Prof Dirkie Smith of the Faculty of Theology at SU, the well-known writer Antjie Krog (also a STIAS fellow), and the late Prof Gideon Louw of the Department of Botany and Zoology at SU.