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Activities of the Contact Center

The Contact Center holds annual meetings and career fairs during the winter breaks of universities and colleges abroad, when many Israeli researchers come to Israel to search actively for faculty positions with the goal of returning home.

Often, the annual meeting offers lectures by representatives of supporting organizations such as the Council for Higher Education, the Center for Absorption in Science, the Israel National Brain Gain Program, the Israel-Europe R&D Directorate (ISERD) and the Azrieli Foundation, explaining to returning academics how they can benefit from these programs, which aid the universities in funding their salaries. These lectures are broadcast live to Israelis around the world, and afterwards they are made accessible – along with their slides, which contain much useful material – to the researchers registered in the database. These yearly conferences provide an opportunity to present the issues that concern the researchers to decision-makers.
This year, on December 27, 2017, Dr. Yossi Vardi was the guest speaker at our 8th Annual Conference. As a leader of Israel's internet and the Start Up /Nation, Dr. Vardi spoke about Academia's Contribution to Israel's Industry. Professor Moti Segev, Academy Member from the Technion who had returned to Israel from professorship at Princeton spoke about How to be a Scientist in Israel and Professor Roy Kishony, member of the Israel Young Academy spoke about Professorship – From Harvard to the Technion. We then held a panel of researchers who returned to a variety of research positions in Israel, not only in academia. They provided practical advice and tips for those leaving for postdocs abroad as well as for those planning to return. The meeting was preceded by the Annual Career Fair, with the participation of 45 research institutions in academia and industry.
Attendees of the Career Fairs have the unique opportunity to meet with representatives of most of the universities, colleges and research centers, privately and in one location, to present themselves as candidates for positions and to receive answers to their personal questions. Over the years, the Career Fairs have proven to be another good tool for making initial contacts, breaking the ice and beginning the hiring process, in many cases eventually leading to successful faculty acquisitions.
Previous Conferences:
In 2010, Professor Manuel Trajtenberg presented his long-term program for Vatat (the Planning and Budgeting Committee of the Council for Higher Education) and Dr. Liat Maoz presented the I-CORE program for excellence. Questions from abroad were presented and received responses along with those from the audience. Afterwards, participants asked to have a similar meeting with university representatives, in order to present them with questions focusing on (lack of) transparency in the job acceptance process. In December 2011, the rectors of all the universities participated in an impressive panel headed by Professor Ruth Arnon, then President of the Academy.
In December 2012, a panel of researchers who had been absorbed successfully into institutions of higher education upon their return from abroad shared their experiences and gave practical tips. In December 2013, a panel of deans of the humanities, social sciences and law answered questions regarding issues of concern to researchers in these fields. Dr. Ahmi Ben-Yehuda described his personal experiences along the way to attaining his position as head of the Department for Medical Research in the Ministry of Health.
On December 2014, several lectures were delivered by the organizations that assist absorption in institutions of higher education. Ms. Noa Binstein of Vatat gave a general overview and described the Alon and Maof fellowships. Dr. Nurit Eyal, Director of the National Brain Gain Program, explained how her team helps researchers returning to academia deal with the infamous Israeli bureaucracy. Omri Ingber, Director of the Center for Absorption in Science at the Ministry of Immigrant Absorption, spoke about the services provided by the Center to returning scientists. Smadar Hirsh, Director of the Marie Curie Program and ERC at ISERD, the Israel-Europe R&D Directorate for the Horizon 2020 Program of the European Union, explained the advantages of the support she can provide. Monika Lev-Cohen, the new CEO of BioAbroad, reported on her organization’s activities and begged those present to remain in contact when abroad and bring their talents home. Rochelle Avitan, Program Manager of the Azrieli Fellows Program, presented her new program for faculty fellowships aimed at reintegrating of faculty into Israel's universities.
On December 2015, the conference focused on reintegration in R&D in universities, academic colleges, research institutes, national and governmental agencies, industry and the private sector. Academy President Professor Nili Cohen opened the meeting, and afterwards Professor Yaffa Zilbershats, the new Chair of Vatat, spoke on "Milestones toward Forming the Coming Five-Year Plan". The Keynote Speaker was Professor Amnon Shashua, inventor of MOBILEYE. Afterwards, a discussion moderated by Dr. Meir Zadok took place with the participation of Professor Menahem Ben-Sasson, President of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Professor Avi Domb, President of Azrieli: College of Engineering Jerusalem, Mr. Haim Rousso, former CEO of EL-OP and Executive VP of Elbit Systems, Dr. Kinneret Savitsky, CEO of BioLineRx, a drug development company, and Dr. Neta Lipman, Deputy Director of the Israel Society of Ecology and Environmental Sciences and former director of MIMSHAK, The Science and Policy Fellowships Program. This year, 10 prominent high-tech and bio-tech industries participated in the Career Fair.
On December 22, 2016, the Contact Center's 7th Annual Conference took place at the Academy, once again highlighting a varied range of opportunities for conducting research and teaching in Israel, from universities, academic college and national research institutions to firms of the high-tech and bio-tech industries. It began with a 4-hour Career Fair, with the participation of 33 institutions which had individual stands throughout the Academy to interview potential faculty. At the same time, 18 companies interviewed potential employees at the fair for industry in the lobby of the connecting Van Leer Institute. After a short break, the meeting commenced in the Van Leer Auditorium. The Keynote Speaker was Zohar Zisapel, founder of RAD Data Communications, who spoke about conducting scientific research in an industrial environment. This year registration doubled and we had to separate into parallel sessions of Absorption in Academia and Absorption in Industry. Academy Member Prof. Moti Segev who returned to the Technion from a full professorship at Princeton, spoke on being a scientist in Israel. Prof. Yaffa Zilbershats, Chair of Vatat, led a panel discussion with the rectors and vice presidents for research of all Israel's universities. Prof. Shlomo Grossman, Chair of Varam, Va'ad Rashei Hamichlalot, spoke about teaching and research in Israel's academic colleges. In the session on Absorption in Industry, Dr. Nurit Eyal, Director of the National Brain Gain Program detailed the assistance they provide for the absorption in industry and gave practical tips on returning to Israel. She conducted a panel of returned PhDs now working in industry and Dr Anat Beifman-Broder gave a workshop on tools for effective job searching.