When BSF began a joint funding program with the National Science Foundation (NSF) in 2013, we had high hopes of significantly advancing opportunities for scientific partnerships between Israel and the United States. I am thrilled to tell you that this effort has succeeded even beyond our high expectations. We have recently signed a letter of intent with the NSF that will keep the program going for the next five years.The partnership covers biological sciences, computer/information, engineering, geosciences, and physical sciences. Last year, NSF-BSF cooperation expanded to include more fields covered by the NSF’s Chemical, Bioengineering, Environmental and Transport System (CBET) division. This will open up more grant opportunities for scientists and researchers in these respective fields.

BSF Executive Director Yair Rotstein (left) and wife Lea (right) with U.S. Ambassador to Israel David M. Friedman and his wife, Tammy, at the Embassy’s 2018 July 4 celebration

The NSF works with top-tier scientists in nations around the world. Even so, no other nation has an NSF cooperation agreement as extensive as what Israel has. For a young, emerging nation like Israel, this is a remarkable achievement. The United States has a deserved reputation as the world’s research superpower. Opportunities to work with U.S. scientists can help launch the careers of promising Israelis – and raise Israel’s profile on the world stage.

Israel may be a small country, but it has a vibrant science community. Israel is home to seven prestigious universities and many higher education colleges, all with major concentrations in science that attract top-notch faculty, as well as promising students. U.S. scientists learn this when they partner with Israelis. As part of their NSF-BSF projects, lead Israeli scientists often recruit their top students to work with them. That means their U.S. partners see for themselves the ingenuity and enthusiasm of Israel’s current and future scientists.

For this issue, we talked with NSF representatives about why this partnership works so well and we spoke with scientists whose NSF-BSF supported projects have already yielded promising results. You will also meet one of our newest Board of Governors members, Cathy Campbell, a highly regarded specialist in scientific and technological diplomacy.

As BSF continues its association with the NSF, we do so at a time when the Israel Council for Higher Education’s budget for scientific research collaborations with the United States is expected to jump by several fold over the next five years. All of these increases will benefit projects affiliated with the NSF-BSF program. This is good news not only for Israel and the United States, but also for science. It will provide even more opportunities for Israeli and American scientists to work together, help each other ask important questions, test theories, and strive toward important discoveries that benefit our planet and our lives.

At BSF, we are proud of our partnership with the NSF, and we expect the next five years will be even more successful.

Yair Rotstein
Executive Director