’Israeli scientists, come home!’

Prof. Ruth Arnon says she hopes more and more Israeli researches find a place here; only 82 scientists returned in 2010.

Prof. Ruth Arnon with prospective returning scientists_311 (photo credit: Courtesy Israel Academy of Sciences)
Prof. Ruth Arnon with prospective returning scientists_311
(photo credit: Courtesy Israel Academy of Sciences)
During the last four years, some 200 Israeli scientists living abroad for over five years returned from North America and Europe and found jobs in suitable institutions, according to the Israel Academy of Sciences. By the end of last year, only 82 had returned.
Academy president Prof. Ruth Arnon – who will host an employment fair at the institution in Jerusalem – said she hopes more and more Israeli researchers find a place here. In 2007 the academy established a center that communicated with Israeli scientists living abroad in an effort to help them return.
Senior representatives of all the universities and many of the colleges will attend and meet potential and actual returnees.
Over 2,600 of them have already registered from abroad. Of those, 1,500 have a PhD, 447 are doctoral students and 100 hold of master’s degrees. Most live in the US. About half are in the social sciences and humanities, while 800 are in the life sciences and 600 in the natural sciences, mathematics and engineering.
The academy developed a special computer program that follows data on thousands of Israeli researchers living abroad and available scientific positions at universities and colleges here. In addition, various companies and government establishments turn to the academy to find researchers to fill jobs they offer.
Until September 2012 a special campaign will give returning scientists reimbursement for paying their National Health Insurance during the time they were absent, extra help in the educational system for their children and assistance in establishing a business and helping absorb others into research and development. Those that employ them here and meet criteria will receive grants of NIS 21,600 to NIS 78,000 during the returnees’ first year or two in Israel.
Under a five-year plan by the Council for Higher Education’s planning and budgeting committee, the academy helped set up 30 “centers of excellence” for employing returning scientists at a total cost of NIS 1.5 billion. This project is coordinated by Dr. Liat Maoz who herself returned from Harvard University.
Four such centers will be established in the coming year, with each center costing NIS 45 million.