Binational Science Foundations in Israel
The Israel Academy of sciences and Humanities, within the framework of its evaluation of science policy in Israel, held seminars on
´´The Binational Science Foundations in Israel.´´
This seminar was the third in this series. The participants were directors of research foundations, vice-presidents for research and development at universities and government offices, research administrators and scientists, and representatives of industry and technology.
Five binational foundations support basic research in Israel today:
1. United States-Israel Binational Science Foundation - BSF
2. United States-Israel Binational Agricultural Research and Development Fund - BARD
3. The German-Israeli Foundation for Scientific Research and Development
4. The French-Israeli Association for Scientific and Technological Research - AFIRST
5. The British-Israeli Fund for science and Technology.
In addition to these foundations, the Israel-U.S. Binational Industrial Research and Development (BIRD) Foundation promotes and supports applied research.
The main aims for establishing these foundations were the promotion of scientific research in Israel and the deepening of scientific relations between countries; and mostly - strengthening cooperation between Israeli researchers and their colleagues in the partner country of the foundation; and thus - drawing Israeli science closer to world science.
The Future of Binational Science Foundations in Israel:
a position paper by the Israel Academy of sciences and Humanities:
The Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities examined the activities of Binational Science Foundations in Israel in the past and present, from the aspects of the organizational structure, decision-making processes and methods of funding.
A seminar on this topic organized by the Academy on November 27, 1996 was attended by directors of foundations, research administrators in universities, and scientists.
The Academy notes the important contribution of the Binational Science Foundations toward the advancement of basic research in Israel. However, some points cause hardships for Israeli scientists.
The Binational Foundations are not exclusively Israeli, thus requiring consideration of the needs of both partner countries. Also, the binational status of the foundations requires the Israeli scientist to find a co-researcher in the partner country, in order to draw up a joint research proposal.
1. The Academy recommends that government offices connected with this activity continue to support the Science Foundations, and ensure their continued activity at the present level.
2. The Academy recommends to directors of these foundations:
(a) To increase as much as possible the amount granted to each researcher, even at the expense of the number of grants
(b) To reconsider the prohibition on submitting a research proposal to more than one foundation
(c) To hold regular meetings of heads of Binational Foundations with the Director of the Israel Science Foundation in order to exchange information and coordinate activities.
3. The Academy believes that there is no need for additional Binational Foundations for basic research; and that the appropriate way to fund basic research in Israel is through the Israel Science Foundation.
4. The Academy believes that the State of Israel must make a clear separation between resources it directs toward basic research and resources it directs toward science relations whose aim is to create ties with other countries.
5. The establishment of further Binational Foundations for basic research is not the preferred path for enhancing scientific cooperation between countries. The Academy believes that in order to achieve this goal, it is better to promote joint research projects on specific topics for limited periods.
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