“I didn’t realize that my appointment as Chief Scientist for the Ministry of Health in Israel meant a seat at the board table for the U.S.-Israel Binational Science Foundation (BSF),” chuckled Professor Abraham (Avi) Israeli, “and now after some three years of service, I am serving as the board Chairman.”
In addition to his role as Chief Scientist, Professor Israeli also heads the Department of Health Policy, Health Care Management and Health Economics at the Hebrew University – Hadassah Faculty of Medicine. He holds the Chair of Dr. Julien Rozan Professorship of Family Medicine and Health Promotion at the Hadassah and teaches there regularly.
Professor Abraham (Avi) Israeli
The role of Chair for the BSF Board of Governors rotates - one year an Israeli fills the position and one year a board member from the United States steps into the role. Before the year as Chair, the board member serves as Vice-Chair for one year to prepare for his or her leadership role.
“Of course I always knew about the BSF. It’s grants are very prestigious in Israel. Every scientist wants to receive funding, it is considered a great recognition of your work,” explained Professor Israeli. “On the world stage, Israeli scientists are respected for their knowledge as scientists. But as with many smaller countries, our scientists don’t have cutting edge equipment and computers. Beyond often not having enough financial resources, there are other challenges as well. For instance, a small country might not offer enough patients with the disease that the scientist is studying. Take one example, many know that Jewish women carry unique markers for breast cancer. Yet, the research began in New York City, not in Israel. When Israeli scientists can collaborate with colleagues in the United States where the disease representing their field of study exists in large numbers, they can accomplish significant research that is of better quality and scope.”
With Professor Israeli’s expertise in research through his academic appointments and leadership on scientific committees, he knows the important value of the collaborative research partnerships funded by the BSF, “With our grants, there is a natural possibility of increased scientific outcomes. Both of our countries gain from these partnerships.” Yet this points to one of the challenges ahead for the BSF, “Israeli scientists are wanted as collaborative partners also by counterparts across the globe such as the Europeans and Chinese. There is increasing competition for Israeli scientists to join in their collaborative research. Our challenge ahead is to raise more funds so that we can insure that these robust partnerships between Israeli and American scientists can continue at the same high level and rate of success as in years past.”
“I love to sit on the BSF board,” continued Israeli, “because we provide as many grants as possible and strengthen as many collaborations as possible, and through these ventures, we contribute to society at large. We serve everyone around the world. This is of the utmost importance. That is why I invest my time with the BSF. The more financial resources we can give to support the scientific collaborations with Israeli and American scientists, the greater the benefit to mankind.”
To learn more about Professor Israeli, please read his biography.