Collegium Helveticum

Sofia Forss
Early-Career Fellow 2021–2022

Evolutionary anthropology
Fellowship duration
September 01, 2021–June 30, 2022

Personal website
Associated with

Dr. Sofia Forss’ (born 1981 in Jakobstad, Finland) research focuses on what makes animals explorative and creative, thus increasing their ability to innovate. Her broad expertise includes experimental work exploring animal minds both in their natural environments and in captivity.

During her PhD at the University of Zurich she studied cognition and culture in both wild and captive orangutans. She went on to receive an postdoctoral fellowship and broadened her academic horizons at the University of Tübingen, expanding her work on ape cognition to include chimpanzees and bonobos. She then completed a second postdoc, studying curiosity in wild and captive vervet monkeys at the Inkawu Vervet Project in South Africa in collaboration with Professor Erica van de Waal at the University of Lausanne.

Sofia was awarded a place in the 2020 Diverse Intelligences Summer Institute, and the Early Career Award 2022 by the Einstein Foundation. In September 2022, Sofia created her own research team at the University of Zurich funded by an SNSF Ambizione Grant.