Tel Aviv University to receive large donation from billionaire Blavatnik

Foundation of Odessa-born Jewish tycoon will donate $20 million to scientific initiative at the university.

Tel Aviv University campus (photo credit: PR)
Tel Aviv University campus
(photo credit: PR)
The Blavatnik Family Foundation will donate $20 million to Tel Aviv University for a multi-year program to advance scientific and interdisciplinary research.
The grant will launch the “Blavatnik Initiative,” a project committed to the advancement of scientific research and discoveries as well as the development of the university.
“Tel Aviv University has a distinguished tradition of excellence and achievement, and I am happy to help support the next generation of scientists and promoters of innovation in Israel,” said US industrialist and philanthropist Len Blavatnik, the chairman of the foundation, on Monday.
The initiative will further see the creation of five centers and funds at Tel Aviv University, which will focus on scientific research, the production of films in Israel and the recruitment of researchers to the university.
The funds will establish the Blavatnik Center for Drug Discovery, the first center of its kind at the university. The state of the art facility will offer the most innovative equipment to serve dozens of research groups developing drugs.
The grant will also establish the Blavatnik Fund for Computer Science, which will support research in the field. The fund will award grants to faculty of the university in an effort to advance and promote their research in computer science.
The Fund for the Production of Israeli Student Films, also named after Blavatnik, will award grants to young Israelis for the production of high quality, thought-provoking films. Undergraduate and graduate students alike will be able to apply for grants of between $2,000 and $5,000 per movie, funds that will greatly assist aspiring filmmakers.
The grant money will also establish a presidential fund which will allow the president of the university to develop competitive proposals for talented researchers to pursue new areas of research, in an effort to identify and cultivate “academic stars” being drawn away by lucrative proposals from other universities.
The fund will place an emphasis on recruiting young and talented researchers in preferred fields, including nanoscience, environmental studies, cyber brain research, computational linguistics, information security and optical imaging.
The grant will also establish the Blavatnik Interdisciplinary Center for Cyber Research and offer 16-20 scholarships for leading researchers, from undergraduate to postdoctoral studies. The center will officially open on September 14 in the presence of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu as part of the International Cyber Conference taking place at the university.
“We are grateful for this generous grant, which will significantly contribute to the development and international status of Tel Aviv University,” said Prof. Joseph Klafter, president of TAU.
“Len Blavatnik has been a key partner of the university for years and he demonstrates a deep commitment to excellence in higher education and research in Israel,” he said.