Major grants herald a new era for STIAS

17 March 2013

The Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Study (STIAS) has just received the exiting news of two major grant from Swedish foundations. These grants will enable the Institute to expand its research activities significantly and to enlarge its footprint in Africa. It also represents an important step to ensure the long-term sustainability of STIAS.

The Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation (KAW) and the Riksbankens Jubileumfond (RJ) of Sweden have announced that they will support STIAS with grants of 25 million and 11 million Swedish Krone respectively (equivalent to 36 and 15 million Rand) over a period of five years.

“We hope that the grants will contribute to scientific development in Africa and stimulate further collaboration between Swedish and African researchers. It also supports the development of the next generation of academic leaders in Africa,” says Peter Wallenberg Jr, Vice Chairman of the KAW Foundation.

The new grants reaffirm the international stature of STIAS and continue the support of the Wallenberg foundations for STIAS since its inception in 1999. As the first research institute of its kind in Africa STIAS has already become a leading international research destination.

“The Institute strengthens the conditions for conducting prominent research on the African continent. It is modeled on leading institutes for advanced study such as Princeton and Stanford, and the researchers are given excellent opportunities to develop their ideas. If one wants to contribute to long-term academic development in Africa, South Africa is the place to invest,” says Göran Blomqvist, Managing Director of Riksbankens Jubileumsfond.

In response to the Wallenberg-grant, Prof Russel Botman, Rector and Vice-Chancellor of Stellenbosch University, reiterated the university’s commitment to the long-term sustainability of STIAS as well as the development of a strong African Programme.

The Council of the Stellenbosch University also approved a yearly contribution to STIAS comparable to the Wallenberg grant for five years. This will be renewed on condition that the KAWF grant is also extended.
Stellenbosch University will further assist STIAS in establishing a Trust Fund for fundraising to contribute to the long-term financial independence of the Institute. The University will also extend the existing lease contract with STIAS for the land and facilities at Mostertsdrift to a 99-year lease agreement.

At the same time, STIAS will support the Stellenbosch Graduate School and Doctoral Academy through a number of scholarships for students from African universities to the value of R12 million over the next five years.

Desmond Smith, Chair of the STIAS Board, said that the grants and the arrangement with the University open a new chapter in the dynamic development of STIAS and provide the basis for its long-term sustainability. “We are deeply grateful to all our donors and supporters who share the vision of STIAS as an independent research institute in service of the country, the continent of Africa and the international research community”.

“The new contribution, totaling 36 million Swedish Krone, will help establish STIAS as a leading meeting place, not only in Africa, but for researchers from around the world,” says Göran Sandberg, the Foundation’s Executive Director.

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STIAS is a creative space for the mind.