Graduate School
Welcome to Stellenbosch University


​STIAS (The Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Study) is situated on the historic Mostertsdrift farm in the heart of Stellenbosch. The idea for such an Institute was first conceived in 2000 and was immediately positively received by the local and international research community. However, it was only in 2005 when a donation from the Marianne and Marcus Wallenberg foundation enabled STIAS to build a modern research and seminar centre that the Institute came into its own. Here, sustainable architecture and beautiful, tranquil surroundings have been fused to form a 'Creative Space For The Mind' where top researchers and intellectual leaders are nurtured and encouraged to find innovative and sustainable solutions to issues facing the world and in particular the country and the continent of Africa. To counter the loss of its best minds and promising young leaders, it provides the opportunity for high-level research and intellectual development in an international context. It is attracting some of the world's leading scholars and researchers and is enjoying international growth and recognition.


STIAS, a creator of new knowledge

In today's knowledge society it is key to be able to access the latest reliable, appropriate, future-orientated, ground-breaking knowledge and to be able to process the technologies and know-how that flows from this knowledge. At the same time it is critical to nurture a future generation of independent thinkers and leaders. Leaders are those who not only understand the realities of a changing world, but who also have the ability and skills to implement these new advances to the benefit of their communities.

Therefore South Africa must not only be a consumer of knowledge but also a producer of new knowledge, in order to fulfil its leadership role.


Objectives and differentiators

The main objectives are to advance the cause of science and scholarship and invest in the intellectual future of the country; focus on Africa; and provide an independent space where innovative ideas and original thinking can thrive.


The following differentiators position STIAS unique among research institutions:

  • STIAS is the first institute of its kind in Africa and is modelled on successful examples of Institutes of Advanced Study elsewhere in the world. The institute facilitates cutting-edge research for achieving breakthroughs in many fields. It caters for all disciplines and encourages the cross-pollination of ideas.
  • The setting enhances 'out-of-the-box' thinking and values diversity as a creative asset.
  • South Africa is in itself a crucible of diverse backgrounds, cultures, research traditions and life experiences, which makes it one of the most interesting research environments.
  • It focuses on real life problems and searches for sustainable solutions for the challenges of the country and the continent.
  • It believes in the potential of Africa as a leading contributor to the global research community and as a producer of new knowledge.


STIAS forms part of a wide network of national and international research institutions. These include similar Institutes for Advanced Study like Princeton, Stanford, Uppsala, Berlin, Wassenaar, Essen and Budapest, as well as leading universities in South Africa, Africa, Asia, North America and Europe. It has close relationships with several Foundations, including the Mandela Foundation, the Wallenberg Foundation, the Bank of Sweden Tercentenary Foundation and the Flora Family Foundation. It works in partnership with Association of African Universities and the Association of Commonwealth Universities.


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