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July 16, 2018 10:12 am

Faculty Incentives in America Aim to Turn Israel’s Brain Drain Into Brain Gain

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Professor Shulamit Michaeli, vice president for research at Bar-Ilan University, addresses Israeli researchers living in the United States who were pre-selected to interview for STEM-related faculty positions back in Israel. Photo: Magali Druscovich.

JNS.org – Bar-Ilan University in Ramat Gan, Israel, is embarking on its most ambitious faculty-recruitment program to date. It plans to recruit 150 new researchers in the next decade for academic positions in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics, more commonly known as STEM. The university has highly cultivated these disciplines, including the related field of medicine, in response to the Jewish state’s economic, scientific, security and health needs.

A delegation of Bar-Ilan professors began the recruitment process this week in the United States, where they have been meeting with Israeli scientists, doctors and engineers who are potential candidates for positions in Israel. At a series of employment fairs, the professors are conducting one-on-one job interviews with them. Nearly 100 pre-selected candidates are expected to attend.

Members of the Bar-Ilan delegation include Professor Shulamit Michaeli, vice president for research and former dean of the Mina and Everard Goodman Faculty of Life Sciences; Professor Sharon Ruthstein of the chemistry department; Professor Alex Fish of the engineering faculty, who heads the nanotechnology track and the soon-to-be-established Impact Center for Nanoscale Circuit Design and Integrated Systems; and Professor Yonatan Aumann, chairman of the computer-science department.

The fairs are being organized in partnership with the non-profit organization ScienceAbroad, and in cooperation with the Absorption Department in the Ministry of Immigration and Absorption. They are taking place at ScienceAbroad centers in Washington, D.C.; New York; Boston; Los Angeles; San Diego; and Stanford and Berkeley in California.

In 2006, Bar-Ilan University launched a “Returning Scientists” program to recruit Israeli scientists from prestigious early career academic appointments abroad. These returning scientists joined the university’s Azrieli Faculty of Medicine; Mina and Everard Goodman Faculty of Life Sciences; Alexander Kofkin Faculty of Engineering; and the chemistry, computer science, physics and mathematics departments. They came from such elite institutions as Harvard University, Stanford University, Yale University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the National Institutes of Health, ETH-Zurich and others.

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