Near-top ranking for Hebrew U. researchers winning EU starting grants

Six of the Hebrew University ERC starting research grant winners (from left): Dr. Eran Meshorer, Prof. Ido Braslavsky, Prof. Orna Kupferman, Prof. Itamar Simon, Dr. Einav Gross and Dr. Ehud Cohen November 16, 2011: Eight young researchers from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem have been awarded a total of €12 million in competitive starting grants by the European Research Council of the European Union this year.

Prof. Isaiah T. Arkin, Hebrew University Vice-President for Research and Development, said that “this achievement places the Hebrew University in third position among European universities in the total number of ERC grants to young researchers from the time that these grants were first awarded in 2007. We now have 29 such grants, exceeded only by Cambridge and Oxford universities in Britain,” he said.

The Hebrew University is also top among other Israeli institutes. This year, the Weizmann Institute of Science won six such grants, and Tel Aviv University and the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology were each awarded three. As a country, Israel is in first place in ERC starting grants in terms of total number of grants received in relation to its population.

Hebrew University President Prof. Menahem Ben-Sasson said: “This extent of competitive grants won by young researchers is of tremendous importance because it shows the potential research excellence and scientific leadership existing at our university. Every researcher who has received such a grant represents the scientific elite in Israel.”

European Research Council starting grants have been awarded since 2007 to the most outstanding, young, independent researchers from among thousands whose names and projects have been submitted as candidates. 

This year, 480 such grants were awarded, among them 22 to those from Israeli research institutes, thereby ranking Israel in seventh place among all European recipient countries, and ahead of such nations as Australia, Belgium and Sweden, for example.

The eight Hebrew University recipients of ERC starting research grants of approximately €1.5 million each this year are: 

Dr. Ehud Cohen of the Institute for Medical Research Israel-Canada (IMRIC) in the Faculty of Medicine, Prof. Orna Kupferman of the Benin School of Computer Science and Engineering, Prof. Itamar Simon of the Institute for Medical Research Israel-Canada (IMRIC) in the Faculty of Medicine, Dr. Eli Pikarsky of the Institute for Medical Research Israel-Canada (IMRIC) in the Faculty of Medicine, Prof. Dorit Aharonov of the Rachel and Selim Benin School of Engineering and Computer Science, Prof. Ido Braslavsky of the Robert H. Smith Faculty of Agriculture, Food and Environment, Dr. Einav Gross, who has returned to Israel from Cambridge University, and Dr. Eran Meshorer of the Alexander Silberman Institute of Life Sciences.

Source: Dept. Media Relations, Hebrew University