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Celebrating the BSF

Posted on March 26, 2014

In January 2014, amid freezing cold temperatures, the U.S. – Israel Binational Science Foundation (BSF) celebrated its current successes and awarded Vanderbilt Professor Janet Macdonald, the Bergmann Memorial Award Held at the Israeli Embassy in Washington DC, guests enjoyed a wonderful buffet and a musical performance by the Silverwinds Ensemble. BSF Board members, grantees, and friends from the Washington government and science community mingled with members of the American Friends of the U.S.-Israel Binational Science Foundation (AFBSF) board.

“The BSF is a good investment,” said Shlomo Wald, a BSF board member for six years and Chief Scientist of the Israeli Ministry of Energy and Water. “Our relatively small grants have contributed to starting many successful scientists early in their careers. The high number of funded scientists who go on to become Nobel Laureates speaks to the high rate of return for the invested research dollars. In Israel, receiving support from the BSF is considered a very prestigious grant.”

Thomas Crisman, chairman of the BSF Board of Governors and Professor of Biology, University of South Florida, Tampa, spoke to the guests and shared his perspective, “We stretch our limited funds to the maximum. In Israel, BSF grants are considered the gold standard for funding. Most recipients look to leverage this funding from other sources. We make an effort to fund young scientists and encourage them to travel and experience working in both Israeli and American laboratories. We believe in breaking down silos for all scientists and offer funding that is both multi-disciplinary and transformative.”

“Their discoveries have impacted the entire world,” said Reuven Azar, Deputy Ambassador to Israel in his remarks as he spoke of BSF’s profound investment in the future. “It speaks of the special relationship between Israel and the United States.”

Cora Marrett, acting Director of the National Science Foundation, offered her perspective, “When one looks back at the 40-plus years of its history, it is apparent that BSF is one of those rare organizations that started with a great idea — and just gets better and better with each passing year.” To read her entire speech, click here.

Yair Rotstein, Executive Director of BSF, presented the prestigious Bergmann Memorial Award to Janet Macdonald, a young Chemistry professor at Vanderbilt University. In her acceptance speech, Professor Macdonald spoke of her close collaboration with Prof. Uri Banin of Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Israel. She sought out Professor Banin and joined his laboratory team because she believed he is the best in his field. Together, they study nanoparticle synthesis with an eye to discover new sources of clean natural energy. She described how nano particles could be used as antenna to capture the sun’s light.

The Binational Science Foundation (BSF) was established in 1972 by the governments of Israel and the U.S. to promote cooperation in the advancement of basic and applied research for peaceful purposes in fields of scientific interest to both countries. As of today the BSF has awarded more than 5,000 grants for joint scientific projects. Forty-two Nobel laureates have taken part in BSF supported research. Two U.S. – Israeli teams won Nobel Prize for their BSF supported research.







 
   
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