Letter From the Executive Director
Like many of you, I often measure a year by the milestones it includes. With that in mind, 2022 is already shaping up to be an eventful year for BSF.
This year, we celebrate the 50th anniversary of BSF’s founding and the 10th anniversary of BSF’s partnership with the United States National Science Foundation (NSF). I believe these two events are intrinsically linked. BSF was born from a vision – shared by Israel and the United States – that scientific endeavors would benefit enormously from encouraging Israeli – U.S. partnerships. Since 1972, we’ve awarded $700 million (in today’s value) to more than 5,400 joint projects between outstanding researchers at top academic institutions in the two countries.
The continually expanding NSF-BSF program exemplifies the power and depth of our commitment to increasing scientific collaborations with the United States. During the past 10 years, the program has grown to cover more than 25 diverse fields and has become one of the NSF’s most successful joint international research funding initiatives.
In this issue of our magazine, you will meet Dr. Kendra Sharp, the NSF’s current representative on BSF’s Board of Governors. Kendra has a fascinating background. She is both a professor of mechanical engineering and a leader in international cooperation and global affairs. I know she has what it takes to create even more scientific partnerships between the United States and Israel.
We also highlight two exciting examples of NSF-BSF collaborations that have already led to major scientific advances. One team of Israeli and American scientists has discovered ways by which robots can make surgeries safer. The other has provided profound new insights into the brain mechanisms that support bats in navigating in large spaces. The impact could lead to more understanding of how our human brains help us with our own internal GPS.
Speaking of making a profound impact, you will also meet Dr. Joshua Angrist – the 48th current or former BSF grantee to be awarded the Nobel Prize. That’s almost one winner for every year BSF has been in existence.
Josh, a revered economics professor at MIT, and Victor Lavy, an equally respected professor at Hebrew University of Jerusalem, received a BSF grant in 1996 for their attempt to correlate class sizes in Israel with achievement rates of students in those classes. As you will see, Josh is a pioneer in the field of natural experiments and his numerous Israel experiences have played a key role in shaping his career. His scientific partnership with Victor endures to this day, which is great not only for them, but also for their research students who have benefited from both of them.
We will celebrate our 50th anniversary throughout the year, starting with our new logo, as seen here. Keep an eye out for announcements, updates and news from BSF and visit our website for ongoing research funding opportunities.
As scientists, we look to the past for what we know and we look to the future for what we still need to discover. Here’s to many more successful U.S.-Israel science partnerships and discoveries – this year and every year.
Anton F. Post, PhD