South African U. Starts Postdoctoral Fellowship to Compete Internationally for Scientific Talent
The Chronicle of Higher Education, Wednesday, July 26, 2000
By LINDA VERGNANI
Cape Town, South Africa -In an attempt to "reverse the brain drain," the University of the Witwatersrand -- one of South Africa's leading universities – is offering a new postdoctoral fellowship in health sciences that will match the value of those offered overseas.
Because of South Africa's dwindling exchange rate, which now stands at almost seven rand to one American dollar, some of the country's brightest postdoctoral fellows prefer to work abroad, while there is insufficient money to attract leading overseas scholars to South Africa.
Peter Cleeton-Jones, a professor and assistant dean in charge of research at the University of the Witwatersrand Medical
School said the new Hillel Friedman Fellowship aims to change that by offering an amount that is globally competitive.
Started last week, the Friedman Fellowship is intended to "attract the best brains to Wits," according to Dr. Cleeton-Jones.
Intended for research in the health sciences, it is open to any scientist.
"It is totally flexible and will match the amounts a fellow could get overseas," Dr Cleeton-Jones says. "For example, if a suitable candidate was able to get $50,000 for a fellowship in the United States, we would offer to match that amount. Previously we would have been able to offer only around 50,000 rand as a fellowship."
Barry Mendelow, executive director of research at the university, says, "If we can address the financial issue, South Africa is attractive, particularly in the health-sciences field, because there are such big problems that need creative scientific research.
Any benefits from this research will be applicable to millions of people."
Copyright © 2000 by The Chronicle of Higher Education