Israel Announces First Grants in $350-Million Program to Reverse Brain Drain

The Israeli government has announced the first three grants in its $350-million program to create 30 Centers of Research Excellence to lure Israeli scholars back from abroad. The first centers will be established in molecular science, led by the Hebrew University professor Howard Cedar; in cognitive processes, led by the Weizmann Institute of Science professor Yadin Dudai; and in computer science, led by the Tel Aviv University professor Yishay Mansour. The three centers have already signed up 11 Israeli scholars currently at U.S. institutions including Columbia, Harvard, and Yale Universities and the University of California at Berkeley. “In the framework of the national program to establish centers of excellence, some 300 leading Israeli scholars from the best universities in the world are expected to return to Israel,” said Manuel Trajtenberg, chairman of the Planning and Budgeting Committee of the Israel Council for Higher Education.

The award caps a good month for the Cedar family. Mr. Cedar’s son Joseph, a leading Israeli movie director and Oscar nominee, just won the award for best screenplay at the Cannes Film Festival for his movie Footnote, about competing father-son Talmud scholars at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

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