The regular research grants program is the main program of the BSF. In recent years the BSF has been receiving nearly 450 research grant applications annually, including both regular and start-up applications. In any given moment there are around 400-500 active grants in this program and the total annual expenditure in it is around $15 M.
The level of the research applications is high, as is suggested by the participation of 42 Nobel Laureates in the BSF supported projects, several of whom in several grants. In an effort to preserve the close scientific ties between the U.S.A and Israel, the BSF Board has adopted a policy of relatively high success rate, at the cost of reducing grant sizes. Thus, overall success rate is generally larger than 25% and in certain years can be over 30%. Nevertheless, a significant number of very good projects are turned down due to the lack of sufficient resources. Applications to the BSF compete with all others in the same year, and support money is not pre-allocated to each scientific discipline. Thus, in some disciplines success rate can sometime be over 40%, while in other disciplines no grants will be made.
Submissions to the program are made once annually, in mid-November, but submission in any specific scientific discipline is allowed each second year (split program). The results are announced after the summer Board meeting in early July of the next year.
Applications to the program are made jointly by a US and an Israeli researcher(s) who would like to work together. No prior cooperation is required, but the synergy between the PIs must be evident.
Evaluation and screening of the applications is made by panels of scientists from both countries, aided by ad-hock reviews.