In 2012, the BSF signed an umbrella Memorandum of Understanding with the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF), for cooperation in joint funding of collaborative U.S.-Israeli scientific research. Following the signing, the BSF signed a series of specific MOUs and LOIs with a number of NSF units, for the joint funding of collaborative research programs. The first of these was a special program with the Integrative Organismal Systems division in the Biology Directorate, but many others have followed since, and the program is expanding continuously.
Financial support for the U.S. scientists in the joint NSF-BSF funding programs comes from the internal resources of the NSF, as part of its regular activity. Financial support for the Israeli side in NSF-BSF joint funding programs comes from annual allocations from the Israeli Ministry of Finance, and the Israeli Council of Higher Education. These funds are specifically to support the Israeli researchers in the grants that are selected for funding in the NSF-BSF programs, and they do not affect the traditional BSF programs. The latter are funded from an endowment that the two governments formed many years ago, and serves to fund both U.S. and Israeli scientists. As is well known in Israel, the country is investing a large sum of money in being a full member in the scientific research program of the European Community. The large financial resources that have opened up for the Israeli scientific community in Europe are causing a shift towards Europe, away from the traditional affinity of Israeli science towards the U.S. The move of the scientific community in Israel towards Europe is a gradual but continuous process that clearly comes at the expense of the scientific ties between the U.S. and Israel. The new joint funding programs of the NSF and BSF constitute a first important step in balancing the international ties of Israel, and in strengthening the ties with the U.S. scientific community. The joint funding programs that have already been implemented have attracted a great deal of interest, which stimulates our efforts to increase their scope and introduce new NSF-BSF joint funding programs.
The following are the current principles that guide the various programs. However, for the specifics of each program, please use the links to read the Call for Proposals:
- The U.S. and Israeli PIs write together a scientific proposal.
- The proposal includes a section that describes the role of the Israeli partner and his requested BSF budget.
- The need for cooperation to the success of the research work must be apparent in the proposal.
- The application is submitted by the U.S. PI (alone) to the NSF, and a copy is later submitted by the Israeli PI (only) to the BSF.
- The processing of the application is carried out at the NSF, possibly with some Israeli input, such as panel members or ad hock (external) reviewers. The BSF will create a small panel to quickly examine the role of the Israelis in the applications, and ascertain that is it meaningful, and that they have the knowhow and facilities to perform their part in the research. This panel will also advise the BSF regarding the budget requests, but will not evaluate the scientific merit of the applications.
- NSF will process the joint U.S.-Israeli proposals together with its regular U.S. proposals to that program.
- If the application is selected for funding, the NSF will fund the U.S. PI(s), while the BSF will fund the Israeli PI(s).
- While NSF gives standard grants to its PIs, BSF grants to the Israeli PIs in this program are likely to be larger than in its conventional programs, possibly up to $80,000/year for projects that require lab/field work.
The following NSF-BSF programs are either activated or have been agreed upon and are expected to be activated in 2016:
- Computational Neuroscience (CRCNS)
- Ecology and Evolution of Infectious Diseases (EEID)
- Environmental Biology (DEB)
- Integrative Organismal Systems (IOS)
- Molecular and Cellular Biology (MCB)
- Physics (multiple programs)
- Energy for Sustainability.
- Psychology (multiple programs)
- Cyber Security and Privacy (SaTC)
- Computing & Communication Foundations (CCF)
- Computer Networks & Systems (CNS)
- NSF Travel Grants to Israel for Computer Scientists (USICCS)
- Electrical Communications and Cyber Systems (ECCS)
You can stay updated about dates in all programs in the 'guidelines and calls' or our calendar.
The BSF is actively working to increase the scope of its partnership with the NSF, for the benefit of both countries.
We have put together a short presentation with tips for Israeli PIs who are interested in submitting to an NSF-BSF joint program. We advise that you read it carefully. You can download it here.
A presentation about the NSF-BSF with an emphasis on Biology can be downloaded here.
Success rates of previous NSF-BSF competitions can be seen here.