The Contact Center's purpose is to assist Israeli researchers abroad, of all academic disciplines, including the humanities and social sciences, in finding appropriate positions within Israel's scholarly community. For this purpose, the Contact Center undertook to present the researchers' concerns to the decision makers. Since its inauguration in July 2007, over 500 returning scholars, mostly from the United States, Canada and Europe, have been absorbed in Israel's research universities alone. Many more have been absorbed in academic colleges.
To date, 3,012 Israeli researchers, mostly employed abroad and interested in returning to Israel, have registered with the Academy's Contact Center, with new people joining every day. Several have registered solely to remain in contact for the time being. The main impediments that deter their return to Israel are the different administrative ways, their wariness of Israel's notorious bureaucracy, the lack of transparency in the application process and their concern of not attaining tenure. Their insecurity rises as their time abroad increases. Helping them remain in contact is an important contribution of the Contact Center since it helps prevent their disconnection and provides them with a feeling of security as their return approaches.
Of the scholars on the data base who are eager to return, a third are from the life sciences and medicine, a third from the exact sciences and engineering and a third from the humanities and social sciences. Some return to a part-time or temporary position or a second or third postdoctoral position. For them and even for those who attain a tenure track position, the Contact Center becomes their safety net and many take advantage of the assistance it provides until they attain tenure. Afterwards, there are those who approach the Contact Center for assistance in staffing their new labs. They change sides and become "Contact People" representing their new departments.
Of the 3,012 registered in the data base, 2,188 – about 75%! – have a PhD and 655 are doctoral students. They represent the future for the faculty of Israel's research system.