Taking Research beyond the Mainstream
The Branco Weiss Fellowship – Society in Science is a community of exceptional young scientists who share a passion for taking research beyond the mainstream. Fellows are given the means to pursue their personal vision of a particular scientific project independently – in the best possible locations, anywhere in the world. The fellowship is awarded to postdocs for up to five years. Since it continues after a promotion, some fellows even become faculty members during the course of their fellowship. Besides a passion for the research itself, what Branco Weiss Fellows and Alumni also have in common is a flair for communicating beyond their own field of study and with society at large.
The fellowship program was initiated and financed by the Swiss entrepreneur Dr. Branco Weiss, who passed away in October 2010. It is based at ETH Zurich.
The fellowship is designed to support postdoctoral researchers after their PhD and before their first faculty appointment. The aim is to award up to ten fellowships each year. Researchers who pursue unconventional projects outside the mainstream of science (including natural sciences, engineering, social sciences, and humanities) may apply. Those in current postdoctoral positions are also eligible.
Branco Weiss Fellows and Alumni met for the Symposium and the Lecture 2023
Almost all Branco Weiss Fellows met again this year for the symposium, which took place from November 18 to 21, 2023. During his lifetime, Branco Weiss had decreed that the Fellows should meet in person once a year because he knew how fruitful these encounters would be. In addition to the 41 Fellows assembled, the three members of the Board of Directors, the two administrators and the communications officers were of course also present, as well as two former Fellowship directors, Olaf Kübler and Peter Chen.
Genetic recycling drives the diversification of cichlid fishes in Lake Victoria, says Joana Meier
Science magazine has published a paper by Branco Weiss Fellow Joana Meier as lead author. The paper demonstrates that the extraordinary diversity of cichlid fishes in Africa’s Lake Victoria – where 500 species of fish emerged in just 16,000 years – was made possible by “genetic recycling”: new species evolved and adapted to a multitude of food and habitats not from new mutations, but pre-existing genetic variants that got mixed and matched into many different species.
Tomas Fiala receives Spark Grant by the Swiss National Science Foundation
Branco Weiss Fellow Tomas Fiala has been awarded a Spark Grant from the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF). In his grant application, Dr. Fiala proposed a novel mode of supramolecular catalysis with a macrocyclic compound called Bambusuril to achieve the selective sulfation of aromatic alcohols with high functional-group tolerance.
Renana Gershoni-Poranne introduces GaUDI for de novo molecular design
Nature Computational Science magazine has published a paper from the group of Branco Weiss Fellow Renana Gershoni-Poranne and their collaborators titled “Guided diffusion for inverse molecular design”. The paper is featured on the cover of the October issue of the magazine.