Israel has long been on the cutting edge of research and development in many fields. In a country of limited natural resources, Israel’s scientists, scholars and creators have successfully devised innovative approaches to both pressing and long-term problems. The exceptional international reputation of Israeli researchers is well-deserved: history and geography have made Israelis adept at identifying problems, finding solutions, and quickly turning ideas into reality.
In recent years, budgetary constraints and a decrease in the resources available to Israeli academics have created a new kind of challenge for Israel’s vibrant academic and research community: how to keep Israel’s brightest young minds from leaving the country in search of greener pastures.
The Azrieli Foundation’s competitive and prestigious Azrieli Fellows Program aims to meet this challenge by providing generous financial support to the best and brightest researchers at Israeli universities, creating the necessary conditions for them to focus on successful and uninterrupted research. The goal of the Azrieli Fellows Program is to create a cadre of leading professionals and academics who will increase the pool of technological and scholarly human resources in Israel, and raise Israel’s profile internationally by maintaining strong ties between Israel and the rest of the world.
Azrieli Fellowships are granted annually to Israeli graduate students in the fields of Interdisciplinary and Applied Sciences, Education and Architecture & Urban Planning. Fellowships are also awarded to Canadian postdoctoral researchers undertaking research in various fields at Israel’s universities. The fellowships are awarded on the basis of outstanding academic merit and other exceptional personal achievements, regardless of race, religion, gender, age or ethnicity.
The program’s candidates are assessed by independent selection committees, consisting of experts who are qualified to judge candidates’ past academic achievements, personal merit, leadership skills, and potential for making significant contributions to each of the fields of research. The Azrieli Fellows selection process is transparent, and members of the committees are required to act independently of any institutional considerations.
The Azrieli Fellows Program provides unique opportunities for Fellows to expand their academic horizons and give back to the community. One of the unique aspects of the program is the forum it provides for Fellows to exchange ideas with their peers and with experts in relevant fields of knowledge, through organized activities and seminars that take place over the course of the academic year.
In addition, extra funding is provided so that Fellows may engage in complementary research activities abroad. In parallel, and as an integral part of the program, Azrieli Fellows are required to volunteer their time and know-how to social and educational projects.
Within the next three years, the Azrieli Fellows Program will support a steady state of approximately 90 Fellows per year, including graduate students from Israel, postdoctoral researchers from abroad, and young faculty.