Israel Academy of Science works to fight researchers brain drain

A total of 3,340 Israelis with doctoral degrees in a large variety of fields are registered in the academy’s database as applicants for jobs in academia and research institutes in Israel.

December 24, 2017 19:24
2 minute read.



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More than 850 scientists and researchers who left Israel for studies and employment abroad have returned and found satisfying jobs in their fields in the last decade, since the Israel Academy of Science and Humanities set up a special liaison center to keep in contact with this high-level group.

A total of 3,340 Israelis with doctoral degrees in a large variety of fields are registered in the academy’s database as applicants for jobs in academia and research institutes in Israel. Of these, about 2,700 (80%) are living abroad and the rest have returned to look for a job.

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Every year, there is a net loss of 1,200 scientists and researchers who leave and don’t return over those who leave and come back to live and work. This is recognized as the “negative migration balance” of bright people who left Israel.

According to academy president Prof. Nili Cohen, the academy invests considerable effort and resources to bring researchers back home. “For academia, this is a very important national challenge – to connect researchers interested in finding employment in research here with institutions of higher education and research institutes that can employ them.”

The researchers who have returned were given employment in the fields of engineering, medicine, mathematics, natural sciences, social sciences and humanities, most of them as faculty members and some in postdoctoral training programs in the hope that later on they would be accepted as faculty members. A third are in the natural sciences and engineering; another third are in the medical and life sciences; and the rest are in the humanities and social sciences.

Central Bureau of Statistics data indicate that about one quarter (24.1%) of those with doctorates in mathematics and one fifth (20%) of those having one in computer science have been abroad for more than three years.

The Jerusalem meeting will provide them with the opportunity to be exposed professionally, establish personal connections and be interviewed for positions, sometimes through the mediation of academic members who are senior researchers. The employment fair will be attended by representatives of universities and academic colleges, as well as leading companies in the fields of hi-tech, medicine and biotechnology, ecology and more.

Prof. Moti Segev will speak about “Being a Scientist in Israel,” Dr. Yossi Vardi will talk about “The contribution of academia to industry in Israel” and Prof. Roy Kishony will describe “From a professorship at Harvard to a professorship at the Technion.”

The meeting will include a panel of researchers who will return to Israel and who will report on their absorption in various research frameworks here.

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