The Energy and Water Ministry will provide grants of up to NIS 60,000 per year for students pursuing master’s or doctorate degrees in geology, geophysics of fossil fuels and seismology, in an effort to incentivize more people to pursue these fields professionally.The scholarships are part of a program that began last year, in which 38 undergraduate and master’s degree students received NIS 2.6 million worth of grants for energy-related degree programs. According to the ministry, the program is being launched in three stages: It first allocated funds to students enrolled in bachelor’s and master’s degrees; in its second stage it is now providing scholarships to those in master’s and doctoral degree programs; and in the the third stage, it will finance doctoral and post-doctoral students who are pursuing continuing education programs in laboratories abroad.Among last year’s students, undergraduate students – studying electrical engineering, specializing in strong current and high voltage – received NIS 10,000 scholarships, while master’s degree students – studying natural gas and petroleum engineering, energy engineering, energy policy and energy economics – received NIS 50,000.This year’s students, whose applications for scholarships are due on September 2, will be master’s and doctoral degree students studying earth sciences. These tracks include a thesis, research or final project in the fields of geology, geophysics of fossil fuels (oil and natural gas) and seismology, the ministry said.“Major challenges are facing the State of Israel,” Energy and Water Minister Uzi Landau said. “A central and important part of our future lies in learning and research, for which the ‘Jewish head’ is so favorably known.“I believe that this subject must receive an incentive,” he said. “In order to address some of these challenges, the Energy and Water Ministry continues to support students and grant scholarships on a scale never before seen in a government institution.”The program aims to increase the number of energy degree graduates in Israel in order to integrate them in the Israeli energy market, which is growing at a rapid pace, according to the ministry. After the first two stages are complete, the ministry intends to continue onto the third step, which will provide grants to doctoral and postdoctoral students studying science and engineering at leading universities outside Israel. As there exists a shortage of academic personnel in Israel, this program would aim to train young researchers so they can return and contribute to the Israeli energy market, as well as develop these disciplines at Israel’s academic institutions, the ministry said.“As we all act to realize the potential, so too can we promote the self-sufficiency of Israel and non-dependence on others,” Landau added.More details about the application criteria are available on the ministry’s website.