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Funder/CentreIsrael Science Foundation
Programme:Israeli Science Foundation
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Israel Science Foundation

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Israeli Science FoundationResearch Programme

Website

http://www.isf.org.il

Programme type

Research programme

Programme status

Ongoing

Total number of funded projects

42

Summary of key aims

The Israel Science Foundation (ISF) is now Israel's predominant source of competitive grants funding for basic research. Its roughly $50 million annual budget funds 1,200 grants a year, providing 2/3 of all such funds. Every year,some 10,000 expert reviewers from Israel and abroad are involved in peer-reviewing the scientific merit of its proposals. The ISF awards grants
in all fields of Ageing:

Life Sciences and Medicine
Humanities and Social Sciences

to researchers at Israeli universities, other centers of higher education, researchcenters and medical centers. Most funds (96%) are provided by the Government of Israel via the Planning and Budgeting Committee (PBC) of the Israel Council for Higher Education, under a long-term agreement. The ISF had its roots in a modest 1972 allocation of the Israeli government to
the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities to establish a Basic Research Fund (BRF) which, even after a decade of operation, had an annual budget of only about $400,000 a year. In comparison, Israel's binational grants programs with the U.S. and Germany, founded at about the same time, each had budgets 10-20 times that size. The idea that Israel needed a major national science foundation was a long time in coming. In 1986 the Israel Academy, under the leadership of Prof. Joshua Jortner,issued a landmark report documenting the emerging crisis in Israeli basic research and a masterplan which called for substantial increases in national funding. That same year, the C. H. Revson Foundation (USA) issued a report by Prof. Alex Keynan which reached similar conclusions. In a remarkable spirit of cooperation, the Israel Academy, the PBC and the international philanthropic community then began to tackle the problem jointly. The Academy founded an Endowment Fund for Basic Research with the help of the C. H. Revson Foundation; and the PBC also decided to vastly increase its annual allocation to the BRF. Within a single decade, these initiatives increased the BRF's budget 10-fold. In 1992, the BRF reconstituted itself as the Israel Science Foundation (ISF), now a legally independent non-profit organizationAlthough its growth is temporarily stalled by a broader budgetary crisis in Israeli higher education, the ISF budget is expected to reach over $80 million over the next five years. The core of the ISF is its highly successful competitive grants program for individual researchers. Each proposal must first pass a mail review by 6-8 highly specific, world-class experts, and thenbroader review by a discipline-specific Professional Committee (peer review panel). Only about 35-40% of the proposals - all of the "excellent" ones and most of the "very good" ones - are funded. Actual grant amounts depend on reviewer assessments of both scientific excellence and need. The ISF also supports a variety of newer programs designed to help keep Israel internationally competitive in forefront areas of modern science. ISF equi

Management contact

Dr. Tamar Yaffe- Mitwoch
tamar@isf.org.il
02-5676212
ISF
Albert Einstein Square
43 Jabotinsky St.
P.O.B 4040
Jerusalem 91040

Admin contact

ISF
israkeren@isf.org.il
02-5676250
ISF
Albert Einstein Square
43 Jabotinsky St.
P.O.B 4040
Jerusalem 91040

Scientific contact

Dr. rina guy
rina@isf.org.il
02-5676206
ISF
Albert Einstein Square
43 Jabotinsky St.
P.O.B 4040
Jerusalem 91040

Funding contact

ISF
israkeren@isf.org.il
02-5676250
ISF
Albert Einstein Square
43 Jabotinsky St.
P.O.B 4040
Jerusalem 91040

Is the project externally evaluated?

Yes

Who has evaluated, or will evaluate, the programme?

1 Internal evaluation

2 External evaluation (the state evaluator)