Three excelling faculty-rank members from Israeli Universities won the prestigious prize - which honors their extraordinary achievements and encourages excellence, originality and innovation
Today, the President of Israel, Mr. Reuven “Ruvi” Rivlin, hosted the three Laureates of the Blavatnik Awards for Young Scientists at the President’s Residence in Jerusalem.
The Blavatnik Awards honor exceptional young scientists and engineers by highlighting their extraordinary achievements, recognizing remarkable promise for future discoveries, and accelerating innovation in their research.
Established in the United States in 2007, the Blavatnik Awards are a signature program of the Blavatnik Family Foundation that are administered by the New York Academy of Sciences, and are awarded in Israel for the first time in collaboration with the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities.
Three of the country’s most outstanding young scientists and engineers will receive US$100,000 each, one of the largest unrestricted prizes ever created for early-career researchers in Israel.
From 47 nominees, encompassing Israel's most promising scientific researchers aged 42 years and younger and nominated by Israeli research universities, a distinguished national jury selected three outstanding laureates, one each from the disciplines of Life Sciences, Chemistry and Physical Sciences & Engineering.
President Rivlin congratulated the Laureates and expressed that, “It is wonderful to welcome so many leading academic figures to the President's House, and for the chance to honor these great young scientists. When we deal with politics, we know that we face problems, and we also know science can solve today’s problems. Of course with any problem comes opportunity. We talk all the time of cooperation, these awards are a symbol of cooperation in our region, and it fills our heart with a lot of pride to see this here in Israel. I hope that one day in the President’s House we will see the presenting of the Blavatnik prize for cooperation with all the peoples of the region.”
Len Blavatnik, founder of the Blavatnik Family Foundation and President of Access Industries, said, “It is an honor to inaugurate this very important philanthropic activity in my life, which we were finally able to extend to Israel. Israel is a center of excellence and academia in the world. We like to promote and support young scientists as they are the future. These young researchers are defining how the world will look.”
Prof. Nili Cohen, President of the Israel Academy of Science and Humanities, said, “I am grateful to everyone for making this journey possible. About a year and a half ago, Prof. Ciechanover proposed to make a partnership with the New York Academy of Sciences and the Blavatnik Family Foundation. The Blavatnik Awards were established as a prestigious prize for young scientists to recognize curiosity and creativity and achievements early on.”
Mr. Ellis Rubinstein, President and CEO of the New York Academy of Science, said, “President Rivlin, I interpret your interest as a statement that you understand science and technology can both bring economic progress and address great challenges of world. These Laureates are a great example of why Israel is the greatest per capita talent of science."
Among the members of the Scientific Advisory Council for the awards are Professor Nili Cohen, President of IASH, and Co-Chairs Professor Aaron Ciechanover, IASH member and Nobel Prize Laureate, and Mr. Ellis Rubinstein, President and CEO of the New York Academy of Sciences. The selection committee in each of the three prize areas included scientific leaders from Israel and abroad.
The 2018 Blavatnik Awards in Israel Laureates are:
Dr. Oded Rechavi, Senior Lecturer, Department of Neurobiology, Tel Aviv University (Age at nomination: 36)
Dr. Rechavi's groundbreaking work uncovers novel mechanisms of inheritance – he has shown how acquired traits can be passed to the next generation without changes to the DNA code. His studies can help us to understand how complex traits and diseases are inherited – a first step towards treatments for many diseases where genetic causes have not been identified.
Dr. Charles Diesendruck, Assistant Professor of Chemistry, Schulich Faculty of Chemistry, Technion - Israel Institute of Technology (Age at nomination: 37)
Dr. Diesendruck shows exceptional promise in the growing field of "mechanochemistry", where mechanical force is used to drive chemical reactions or changes. Through these reactions, materials’ properties can be altered, creating smart mechanoresponsive materials.
Prof. Anat Levin, Associate Professor, The Andrew & Erna Viterbi Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Technion - Israel Institute of Technology (Age at nomination: 39)
Professor Levin has made ground-breaking contributions to the emerging field of computational photography, which utilize computational techniques to develop novel imaging capabilities that overcome the limits of traditional optical (or other imaging) systems
About The Blavatnik Awards for Young Scientists
The Blavatnik Awards for Young Scientists, established in 2007 by the Blavatnik Family Foundation and administered by the New York Academy of Sciences, honor exceptional young scientists and engineers by celebrating their extraordinary achievements, recognizing outstanding promise, and accelerating innovation through unrestricted funding.
The Awards were established in New York and began as regional awards for young scientists and engineers in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. The Blavatnik National Awards for Young Scientists were established in 2014 and are awarded to faculty-rank scientists annually across the United States. To date, there have been over 2,900 scientists nominated from over 280 institutions, with more than 220 recipients from both the Blavatnik Regional and Blavatnik National Awards. In 2017, the Awards were also launched in the United Kingdom, to recognize faculty-rank young scientists and engineers from Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and England.
The Laureates will join a network of their peers as members of the Blavatnik Science Scholars community, currently comprising over 220 Blavatnik Award honorees from the decade-old U.S. program. Laureates will also be invited to attend the annual Blavatnik Science Symposium in New York City each summer, where the Scholars come together to exchange new ideas and build cross-disciplinary research collaborations.
Photos by Silvia G Golan