Israel tops per-capita winners of European young research grants

MK Ofir Akunis: “This is additional proof of our contribution to research and innovation."

December 6, 2015 22:42
1 minute read.
A scientist looks through a microscope

A scientist looks through a microscope. (photo credit: INGIMAGE)

Israel is in first place in Europe in the per capita number of research grants given to young people in 23 European countries this year, according to the Science, Technology and Space Ministry.

“This is additional proof of our contribution to research and innovation,” said Science and Technology Minister Ophir Akunis. A total of 24 research grants were awarded to Israel out of 291 overall, he said, based on new data from the European Research Council. On a per-capita basis, he said, this means Israel is No. 1 this year.

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The Science Ministry allocates significant budgets to Europe’s New Horizon 2020 project to enable Israelis to compete on an equal basis for these grants, which are considered highly prestigious and can be worth up to NIS 6 million each. In absolute figures of grants, Israeli comes in fifth place, with the UK first with 48 grants and Germany second with 47.

Israeli membership in New Horizon 2020 makes it possible for researchers to compete for grants along with their European counterparts. Scientists are eligible up to seven years after the completion of their post-doctorate work. Of the 2,920 requests for grants throughout Europe, only 291 were chosen.

The 24 Israeli winners included 20 men and four women – 22 representing the fields of physics, engineering and life sciences and two in the humanities and social sciences. Researchers from Tel Aviv University received the most grants with eight winners, followed by the Hebrew University of Jerusalem with five, the Weizmann Institute and Technion-Israel Institute of Technology with four each and the University of Haifa, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev and Bar-Ilan University with one each.

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