During two summer months, Pernilla Wittung-Stafshede will visit Los Angeles to work at the prestigious California Institute of Technology, Caltech. Chemistry professor Jacqueline Barton will act as her host.
“I was there in the spring of 2015 on a sabbatical. It was a really nice environmental change and I got some new research ideas as well as collaborations. But my family was there with me, and so I also had to focus on our children’s schooling and homework. This time I will be mostly by myself, and the family will come over for a shorter visit”, says Pernilla Wittung-Stafshede, and continues:
“It’s stimulating to be in a place where top research is done in every corner, and almost every student is a future professor.”
During the stay, Wittung-Stafshede will attend the host’s group meetings, listen to seminars and visit her collaborators in different parts of California; activities at US universities continue as usual during the summer, unlike in Sweden.
She also plans to focus on writing some research articles of her own.
“This period will be a breathing space, an opportunity for me to think freely while being in a stimulating environment. There are so many things to do at Chalmers, as well as other assignments, during the semesters.”
The trip is paid for by a scholarship from the Barbro Oshers Pro Suecia Foundation (see facts below). Pernilla Wittung-Stafshede didn’t know about the foundation until recently, and she would like to let more researchers know about the possibility of seeking financial support for similar trips.
In addition to her research, Pernilla Wittung-Stafshede is engaged in equality issues, both within the academy in general and at Chalmers.
“My host at Caltech is my female role model. She is an extremely successful woman who is in charge of a large research group at the same time as she is Head of the Division of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering. I usually act as a mentor for younger colleagues – which I love to do. But this summer, I will use my host as a mentor for myself.”
Barbro Osher Pro Suecia Foundation
Barbro Osher is a Swedish patron and the Swedish Consul General in San Francisco. She has made large donations to, among other things, Swedish cultural institutions and runs the Barbro Osher Pro Suecia Foundation, through which Chalmers can support researchers’ stays in the United States. Applicants must be PhD’s and employed at Chalmers, heading their own research group, but the money can also be sought for, for example, a PhD student. Read more here (in Swedish).
Text: Mia Malmstedt
Photo: Johan Bodell