New worlds: Philanthropist boosts scholarships affected by weakened dollar

Young scientists who were given scholarships in dollars and now find it difficult to make ends meet. But at least one generous donor - Marcel Adams of Canada - has decided to help.

dollar graf 88 224 (photo credit: Bloomberg chart)
dollar graf 88 224
(photo credit: Bloomberg chart)
The 20 percent rise in the value of the shekel against the dollar has brought many difficulties to people in Israel who have dollar-linked income. This includes young scientists who were given scholarships in dollars and now find it difficult to make ends meet. But at least one generous donor - Marcel Adams of Canada - has decided to help. To compensate for the drop in the dollar's buying power, Adams announced recently that he will give all 10 new Adams Fellows a supplementary gift to help compensate. He announced this at the Adams Seminar, organized by the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities and attended by all 26 Adams Fellows since 2005. "The purpose of the Adams Fellowship is to identify Israel's scientific wunderkinds of tomorrow, and to make sure they are comfortable enough to focus on their research. The dramatic drop in the American dollar's buying power prompted this one-time gift," said Adams, an 88-year-old real estate developer who survived the Holocaust. "I call on other philanthropists supporting Israel to join me in helping cover the gap facing many Israelis and Israeli institutions relying on dollar-based gifts." The founder of Iberville Developments in Montreal and head of the Adams Family Foundation, Adams established the fellowship program together with the academy to provide financial assistance to outstanding doctoral students in the exact sciences, mathematics and life sciences. He escaped from a forced-labor camp in Romania in 1944, fought in Israel's War of Independence and made his fortune in Canada. When he established the fellowship program, he said: "The easy way would have been to hand over a check. I wish to pay back my debt from 1944 to the Jewish people, who gave me a new identity and hope. The fellowship will help young men and women thrive technologically, scientifically and intellectually. In turn, they will carry the flag for future generations." ISRAELI MEMBER TO US SCIENCE ACADEMY Technion chemistry Prof. Aaron Ciechanover has been named a new member of the US Academy of Sciences and the Arts - one of the oldest and most prestigious science academies and research centers in the world. Ciechanover, who shared the Nobel Prize for Chemistry with colleague Prof. Avram Hershko in 2004, is one of 190 new members and 22 foreign honorary members from Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia, Canada, Mexico and, with Ciechanover, Israel. AMONG EUROPE'S BEST Seven promising scientists from the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology have been awarded research grants averaging more than a million euros each from the European Union's research program, placing the Technion second among European universities and first in Israel. The seven young researchers beat off fierce competition from over 9,000 candidates to be placed on the European Union's list of the 300 most promising. The only university ahead of the Technion was Cambridge, with nine research grants awarded. They are Dr. Aharon Blank in the chemistry faculty; Dr. Debbie Lindell in biology; Dr. Shahar Mendelson in mathematics, Dr. Eldar Fischer in computer science, Dr. Isaac Keslassy in electrical engineering; Dr. Kinneret Keren in physics; and Dr. Shy Shoham in biomedical engineering. All completed their doctorates in the past nine years. The two women and five men will undertake research in a wide range of areas including development of the latest tools for medical imaging, an exciting project to advance the next generation of computer chips, and research into the causes of marine viruses. This is the first program in which the EU is funding individual, groundbreaking work with the aim of putting Europe at the forefront of scientific research Prof. Moshe Eizenberg, the Technion's executive vice president for research, said: "The Technion had 49 candidates. Nine reached the final stage and of these, seven won large research grants - an amazing achievement of which [we] can be proud." Technion president Prof. Yitzhak Apeloig added: "You are proof of the high quality of young faculty members that the Technion recruits."