A New Campaign by the Academy - Registration to the CONTACT CENTER
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A New Campaign by the Academy - Registration to the CONTACT CENTER

2,119 Israeli researchers interested in returning to Israel are registered with the "Contact Center". For details and registration click to the right
2,119 Israeli researchers interested in returning to Israel are registered with the "Contact Center". For details and registration click to the right
About 200 scientists were absorbed in the Israeli academia with the assistance of the "Contact Center".
R e g i s t r a t i o n to the Contact Center
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To date, 2,109 Israeli researchers employed abroad and interested in returning to Israel, are registered with the Academy's "Contact Center". 1,546 of them have doctorates, 450 are doctoral students and 102 are graduates and Masters students. Every day new people joining our pool of researchers. Most of those registered live in the United States - 1,393, 179 live in Britain, 83 in Canada and 204 in Israel. The rest are scattered around the world. About half of those registered (900) are in the Humanities and Social Sciences, over a third (800) are from various fields in the Life Sciences and a quarter (600) belong to the Natural Sciences, Mathematics and Engineering.
It is estimated that about 200 scientists who returned, mostly from the United States, Canada and Europe, were absorbed in the academia during the past four years, with the assistance of the "Contact Center" which the Academy established in July 2007. The Contact Center's purpose is to assist Israeli researchers abroad find appropriate positions within Israel's scientific community.
During the last two years, the Academy of Sciences developed a special computer program to absorb the data of thousands of researchers at one end and the positions offered by Israel's universities and academic colleges on the other. Several companies and government agencies approached the Academy for assistance in locating researchers for them to employ for their R&D installations. The program knows to connect the researchers who are registered according to their academic disciplines, with the positions which are also defined by their appropriate disciplines. Through it, the researchers registered in the data base receive up to date information regarding open positions in their specific fields of expertise.
The successful project of the Academy's "Contact Center" operates in close collaboration with all those involved with encouraging Israeli researchers to return home to Israel.
The "Contact Center" refers researchers to the "Center for Absorption in Science" of the Ministry of Immigrant Absorption, which was put into operation as a result of the government decision to encourage the return of Israeli researchers who were abroad at least 5 years. Those who return receive a unique total refund on their health insurance, benefits in customs and income tax, extra support from the educational system, mainstreaming into the job market, assistance in setting up businesses and support towards their absorption in research and development. Employers receive financial support in hiring scientists.
The "Contact Center" also provides assistance to the Council for Higher Education's 5-year program for the establishment of 30 (I-CORE) Centers of Excellence at the cost of 1.5 billion shekels. The project is headed by Dr. Liat Maoz, who herself returned to Israel from Harvard University in the United States. The first four centers will be established at the universities this year, at an investment of about 45 million shekels a center. In the near future, a national data base of Israeli researchers abroad will be established, which will refer them to industry and the business sector. This will be based on the "Contact Center"'s data base, which is the largest and most reliable data base of senior Israeli researchers abroad, which is updated voluntarily on an ongoing basis by those registered within.
A unique meeting was held by the "Contact Center" with the participation of returning Israeli researchers from around the world who met with representatives of Israel's universities and colleges at the Academy of December 25, 2011, at the Academy's initiative. The conference was hosted by Professor Ruth Arnon, the Academy's President, who expressed her hope that more and more researchers and scientists will succeed in finding their place back in Israel.
Over 80 Israeli researchers, the rectors and vice presidents of Israel's 8 universites, the chairperson of the Committee of Israel's Colleges, the representatives of 7 academic colleges, as well as representatives of the Center for Absorption in Science and ISERD (the Israel-Europe R&D Directorate for the Seventh EU Framework Program), agencies that provide funding for the absorption of returning scientists, participated in the meeting. Following the meeting, a job fair was held, providing the opportunity for researchers to meet all the participating agencies at their individual stations, on a one-to-one basis.
This second meeting took place as a result of the successful meeting held a year earlier (December 2010) where about 70 researchers eager to return home met Professor Manuel Trachtenberg and Dr. Liat Maoz at a meeting hosted by the Academy's President and asked the Academy to arrange a meeting with University representatives.
The Establishment of the Academy's "Contact Center"
In July 2007, the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities established a "Contact Center" between the Academy and Israeli scientists abroad. The Center's purpose is to help mainly Israeli scientists and researchers abroad find suitable positions in Israel's academic community.
The "Contact Center" was founded at the recommendation of the Committee for the Examination of the Higher Education System of Israel, headed by former Finance Minister Avraham Shochat, which submitted its report to the Government of Israel in July 2007. Recommendation no. 31 in the chapter of the subcommittee for furthering academic research refers to the issue of establishing and maintaining contact with Israeli researchers and graduate students abroad and points to the Israel Academy as the appropriate institution to set up a contact system for this purpose.
The President of the Academy, Professor Menahem Yaari, was a member of the Shochat Committee and headed the subcommittee for furthering academic research. Following its examination of the existing state of affairs, the subcommittee explored what might be done to maintain contact with the many Israeli academics living abroad, with the aim of easing their return to Israel and mainstreaming them, as much as possible, into the higher education system.
As part of the subcommittee's activity, in February 2007, the Academy set up an on-line register of young Israeli scientists and students abroad. About 1,000 men and women filled out a detailed online questionnaire, from which a clear picture emerged showing that their chief motivations for returning to Israel are family and cultural ties, their children’s education and their chances of finding suitable professional positions. Political and security considerations as well as salary and standard of living were found to be less important to the respondents.
The Academy is concerned about Israel’s "Brain Drain" and the fact that large numbers of Israeli researchers abroad have expressed their desire to return to Israel, if they can only find appropriate, challenging academic positions. It is widely felt that Israel does not do enough to maintain contact with these academics. Several thousand Israeli doctoral and post-doctoral students are estimated to reside abroad, and the proportion of Israeli researchers who don't return to the higher education system in Israel is thought to have increased over the last decade.
One of the major reasons for this lies in the staff cuts at Israel’s academic institutions and their consequent difficulties in absorbing new, young scholars. In light of this situation and of the survey's results, the Academy decided to take action and, on Professor Yaari’s initiative, established the "Contact Center".
Through the "Contact Center", Professor Yaari sent a personal letter to researchers who had responded to the survey, explaining that the Academy intends to raise the situation of Israeli scientists abroad with the appropriate authorities and to do as much as it can to assist them in their specific areas of concern. He also stated the Academy’s belief that Israel’s higher education system must make a significant effort to offer them a respectable professional future.
Since its inauguration, the "Contact Center" has been collecting up-to-date information on available positions at the institutions of higher education in the country and sending it by e-mail to groups of researchers selected according to their professional fields. The "Contact Center" also assists individuals who approach it for help in establishing direct contact with the relevant people in their fields.
The Center is headed by Mrs. Batsheva Shor, who can be reached by telephone at 972-2-5676207, or by e-mail at contact-center@academy.ac.il .