Nobel in Africa – STIAS to host Nobel Symposia Series

12 July 2021

STIAS will host a Special Initiative, the Nobel in Africa Symposia Series – a special series of annual symposia to be held at STIAS starting in 2022.

Nobel in Africa is a joint Special Initiative of the Nobel Foundation, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation and Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Study in partnership with Stellenbosch University.

The Symposia provide a unique opportunity to support and showcase advanced research and scholarship on the African continent, and to promote research excellence and collaborative scholarship in Africa in conversation with the rest of the world. The aim is to provide an international forum to promote the sharing of innovative, high-level scholarship and to demonstrate the importance of scientific research for the future of the continent and the world. The Symposia will initially focus on four areas of the Nobel Prize: Physiology or Medicine, Physics, Chemistry and Economic Sciences.

The Nobel Foundation’s symposium activities were initiated in 1965. Starting from 2019 the responsibility for funding and administering the Symposia was licensed out to the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences (KVA) and the Norwegian Nobel Committee. The symposia are devoted to areas of science where breakthroughs are occurring, or topics of primary cultural or social significance.

STIAS is the first institution outside of Scandinavia to host Nobel Symposia on behalf of the Nobel Foundation thanks to a special grant by the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation. STIAS has a special focus on Africa and a long-term commitment to nurture future generations of scholars and intellectual leaders on the continent. The ethos is to foster ongoing dialogue between Africa’s brightest minds and their global counterparts.

“We are delighted and honoured to be part of this initiative which ties in strongly with STIAS’s commitment to encouraging collaborative academic interaction and dialogue between African and global scholars,” said STIAS Director Edward K Kirumira. “STIAS has established strong linkages and access to pre-eminent scientific organisations and a strong programme that includes some of the best young African scholars under the Iso Lomso Fellowship. The Nobel Symposia at STIAS will be a great opportunity to bring together the highest echelon of scholars and ‘influencers’ from South Africa, Africa and globally.”

“The Nobel Prize is an international recognition of excellence in science and it is appropriate and exciting that activities of the Nobel system reach out to other parts of the planet,” said Göran Hansson, Secretary General of The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences and Vice Chairman of the Board of the Nobel Foundation. “STIAS is an excellent partner that ties in strongly with our belief that a knowledge-based society that gives priority to education, research and innovation has the best chances of meeting future challenges.”

The choice of STIAS for the Nobel in Africa Initiative also echoes the words of Peter Wallenberg Sr.: “In order for us all to be part of tomorrow’s discoveries and breakthroughs, we must invest today in the development of our brightest minds. STIAS is meant to be a beacon of hope in this regard. Despite the challenges Africa is facing, it has great potential to deal with these and find enduring solutions.”

The symposia will be based on annual Nobel in Africa Calls for Proposals in specific subject areas initiated by the joint Programme Committee of the Nobel Foundation and The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences (KVA). The Nobel-KVA Programme Committee will consider the applications with cognisance of comments and inputs from STIAS. Proposals involving partnerships between Swedish and African researchers are strongly encouraged.

STIAS has established a Board of Directors’ Sub-Committee to oversee the strategic direction of the initiative and Local Organising Committees with representation from STIAS, Stellenbosch University and other research institutions will function as a hands-on, operational body for each symposium.

The first three Symposia are:

Physiology or Medicine: Progress and Challenges in Cardiovascular Medicine
21 – 26 March 2022
Convenor: Göran Hansson, Karolinska Institute and Secretary General of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences

Physics: Predictability in Science in the Age of AI
23 – 28 October 2022
Convenor: Erik Aurell, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm

Chemistry: Tuberculosis and Antibiotic Resistance – From Basic Drug Discovery to Clinic
27 – 31 March 2023
Convenor: Fredrik Almqvist, Umeå University

Applications led by academics from a Swedish University, for a 2023 Nobel Symposium at STIAS in the field of Economic Sciences, must be submitted by 1 September 2021 to the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. Full details on the process as well as application forms are available at: https://kva.se/en/utlysningar/stipendier-bidrag/nobel-symposia

For further information on the Nobel in Africa Symposia at STIAS visit www.stias.ac.za/nobel-in-africa or contact the STIAS Programme Manager, Dr Christoff Pauw at [email protected]

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