Prof Jannie Hofmeyr FRSSAf of the Department of Biochemistry at Stellenbosch University has been awarded the prestigious 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.
He said “Through my involvement at STIAS, I constantly see the invaluableness of such a fellowship at a leading institute for advanced study. I always 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.
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. Fellowships are awarded to eminent researchers with the best proposals in their respective fields. The Institute invites researchers to submit proposals.
Previous South African recipients of Wiko fellowships include Prof Dirkie Smith of the Faculty of Theology at SU, the well-known writer Antjie Krog, and the late Prof Gideon Louw of the Department of Botany and Zoology at SU.
In addition to the fellowship, Hofmeyr was elected as member of the governing body of the International Society for Biosemiotic Studies in July. The Society was established in 2005, and has since promoted collaboration between researchers in different disciplines working on biosemiotics.
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