The Council for Higher Education (CHE) and the Aliyah and Integration Ministry have approved a competitive program to increase high-quality Israeli research output by employing outstanding researchers according to a statement published on Sunday.
According to the statement, the program will run for five rounds, each lasting five years, with up to 40 researchers participating in each round and will be budgeted NIS 120 million for the entire period.
The CHE will finance a third of the employment cost for each researcher, while the Aliyah and Integration Ministry will finance up to 20 researchers who are new immigrants or returning residents. The program aims to advance the national mission of brain gain and combat the brain drain, by creating an attractive opportunity for those completing post-doctoral programs abroad and providing another route for outstanding new immigrants and returning residents to integrate into Israeli academic research.
According to the statement, the goal of the program is to assist in increasing high-quality Israeli research output by concentrating the array of research and leveraging "islands" of excellence by employing outstanding researchers at selected research laboratories.
The researchers can be employed in full or half-time positions, which will enable the expansion of the "Teacher-Researcher" program that offers scientists with a third degree a long-term employment route that combines continuing research at a university and teaching science at high schools.
Aliyah ministry D-G: New program is of national importance
Avichai Kahana, director-general of the Aliyah and Integration Ministry said on Sunday that the ministry “views this program to be of national importance in assisting with aliyah and the return of the best minds.
"This program creates an opportunity for the State of Israel to bring back the Israelis who have left their country for the sake of research and are looking for a homeward path, and also enables Jews from around the world to fulfill their Zionist dream to make aliyah to Israel alongside fulfilling their professional ambition.”
Kahana added that “these scientists bring with them broad scientific knowledge that will contribute greatly to research development, to the cultivation of society and culture, and will be a springboard for the Israeli economy."
CHE chairman, prof. Yossi Mekori, also commented on the program and said that "Israel has an excellent academia and it is our duty to continue to invest in its development so that Israeli research will be at the forefront of world science and continue to serve as a strong foundation on which our technological lead is built, as well as our knowledge-abundant industry which has a major role in its contribution to moving the engine of the Israeli economy forward.”