Eleven years after leaving EMBL, Giovanni Frazzetto – joint-recipient of the first John Kendrew Award in 2008 – is now the academic coordinator of a new programme at the Berlin Institute for Advanced Study, known as Wiko (Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin).
“Wiko is a cultural paradise,” Giovanni says. “It attracts scholars from the widest possible spectrum of academic fields and traditions – science, the social sciences, the humanities, and the arts – and gives them the freedom to concentrate on projects of their own choice for one academic year on a Wiko Fellowship. I myself was a Wiko research fellow in 2007.”
“I lead a programme called College for Life Sciences. It gives early-career researchers a unique opportunity to step back from their routine work and gain time to reflect on their area of study, while being immersed in a diverse and stimulating cultural network. My job is to select the fellows and guide them during their residency, facilitating synergies between them and other in-house scholars or research institutes in Berlin.”
Giovanni also finds time to continue his own research and writing, recently finishing How We Feel, published 1 August. “In it, I mix scientific knowledge with personal experience to offer an account of the contrast between the science and poetry of emotions.”
His advice to all pre- and postdocs at EMBL is to never stop looking at the greater picture, be original, and make the most of the lively discussions at EMBL seminars, the lack of hierarchy and the fluidity among departmental programmes – even at the beer sessions!
Early career researchers looking to gain time and inspiration can look into the unique opportunities offered by wiko: