The current University priority funding needs are outlined below:
Like all world-class universities, the Hebrew University seeks to recruit the most promising new faculty. Attracting top minds is a foremost objective of the University’s leadership. However, due to a lack of resources, Israeli institutions of higher education often lose out to competition from abroad. This brain drain is a threat to the country’s very future; the ability to provide academic careers in Israel for its brightest minds is frequently discussed as a national priority. While young scholars may be willing to compromise on salaries, they are not willing to compromise on their scholarship. Thus it is crucial to provide young researchers with the necessary labs, scientific equipment, access to research funds, well-published colleagues with whom they can collaborate, and a setting which fosters and encourages cutting-edge, multidisciplinary research in a wide variety of fields.
An international committee of experts including two Nobel Laureates determined that the Hebrew University neuroscience community was so impressive that, with proper investment, it could become one of the top five neuroscience centers in the world. A lead gift from the Edmond J. Safra Philanthropic Foundation enabled the University to launch its prestigious Edmond and Lily Safra Center for Brain Sciences (ELSC) in June 2009, which calls for a new state-of-the-art facility with fully equipped labs to house some 25 top researchers including already renowned faculty as well as new young faculty. The Center also offers a selective postdoctoral program to prepare the next generation of leaders for Israeli neuroscience. Additional funding is needed to make ELSC a reality and embark on its mission to better understand the human brain.
Based on the understanding that interdisciplinary research holds the key to future breakthroughs, the Robert H. Smith Faculty of Agriculture, Food and Environment has been undergoing a reorganization enabling it to better serve its mission of helping to provide sufficient nourishing food to an increasing world population with minimal harm to the environment. This reorganization combines disparate departments and schools into four central institutes bolstered by four interdisciplinary research centers. It requires new construction as well as renovations of existing facilities, increased funding for faculty recruitment, scientific equipment, research, and more.
The complex nature of modern disease requires equally complex approaches to developing cures. Thus the Faculty of Medicine’s fledgling Institute for Medical Research Israel-Canada is facilitating a multidisciplinary approach to biomedical research. Not only does this approach enable new directions in basic research as the first step towards treatment and prevention, but the influx of young talent and the bolstering of the research infrastructure — equipment and laboratory space — will further assist researchers in their mission to uncover innovative solutions to today’s most pressing human health concerns.
Studies in the humanities are also undergoing a revolution as the walls between disparate subjects are breached to enable innovative and increasingly comprehensive approaches to teaching and research. In recognition of this new reality, the Faculty of Humanities, which comprises numerous world-renowned experts and is ranked a top faculty in Israel, has been undergoing reorganization. This includes adding Gateway classes for all entering students, combining many departments into five major schools and establishing a new graduate Center of Excellence in the Humanities, slated to attract brilliant students and leading young scholars from around the world. The Faculty also seeks to provide the most outstanding students with sufficient funding to allow them to focus fully on their studies — a situation largely unheard of at the graduate and postdoctoral levels today.
Housing: The new Scopus Student Village has provided much needed affordable, modern dormitory housing to students since its opening in 2007. Its various buildings, wings, apartments and rooms offer naming opportunities that give tangible reflection of donors’ ongoing commitment to student welfare. However, funds are still needed to cover the costs of these dormitory buildings.
Scholarships: Brilliance can be found throughout Israel — in a remote development town or in the new-immigrant child. While not everyone can afford the cost of a University education, the State of Israel cannot afford to allow bright minds to be wasted. In addition, Israeli graduate students are older than their international peers. This means that they must support themselves during their studies and only substantial scholarships will enable them to devote themselves fully to their studies and research.
In addition, the University is committed to raising funds to complete the Rothberg Family Complex which will provide a new home for the Selim and Rachel Benin School of Engineering and Computer Science. Researchers at the School are responsible for incredible innovations, ranging from sensors which prevent car accidents to the transmission of medical data via cell phones. Another top University priority is the Harvey M. Krueger Family Center for Nanoscience and Nanotechnology, which has been acknowledged as the top center for nano research in Israel. The University continues to seek support for vital programs in law, social sciences, business and social work as well as for the Rothberg International School; for classroom and laboratory renovations across our campuses; and for much needed acquisitions for the University libraries.