Nobel laureates demand funds to revive academic institutions

Ten Nobel Prize winners call on gov't to adopt the Shochat Committee's recommendations to "save" Israeli academia and research.

technion 88 (photo credit: )
technion 88
(photo credit: )
Ten Nobel Prize winners now visiting the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology called on the government to adopt the Shochat Committee's recommendations, published almost a year ago, to "save" Israeli academia and research. They were joined in their plea on Monday by hundreds of scientists from Israel and abroad attending a scientific conference at the Technion campus in Haifa. Technion president Prof. Yitzhak Apeloig said: "We are here to celebrate [Israel's achievements over 60 years in] science, but unfortunately, we see today a different Israeli leadership than in the distant past. Government cuts in academic budgets is causing them to decline and have created a serious brain drain. From here, I call on the government to adopt the Shochat Committee's recommendations immediately to save Israeli academia," Apeloig said. Technion Prof. Aharon Ciechanover, co-recipient of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2004, said: "I was born in Haifa when the state was born and received all my education here. The Technion is my home... Unfortunately, I see great danger to the universities... People are seeking an exit because of the situation and focusing less on basic research because they have no budget." Prof. David Gross, a Nobel Physics laureate from the US, added that Israel "is living in the past and not investing in the future. It is very painful for me [to watch]." The Shochat Committee recommended (among other things) raising university tuition and enabling students to pay it with long-term loans, while significantly increasing budgets for faculty and research.