Three outstanding faculty members win the inaugural Blavatnik Awards for Young Scientists in Israel
Prestigious awards recognize innovation and excellence of early career scientists and engineers
Jerusalem, November 29, 2017 – The Blavatnik Family Foundation, the New York Academy of Sciences and the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities (IASH) announced today the 2018 Laureates of the Blavatnik Awards for Young Scientists in Israel.
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. 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.
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.
“These three exceptional young scientists and engineers exemplify the innovative spirit and remarkable scientific breadth of Israeli academic and research institutions,” said Len Blavatnik, Founder and Chairman of Access Industries and Head of the Blavatnik Family Foundation. “The work of these brilliant researchers will enhance science throughout the world for generations to come.”
Professor Nili Cohen, President of the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities, noted that, “the Blavatnik Awards fill the need for recognition and support of young scientists in Israel who demonstrate outstanding merit. The scientific evaluation committees had a challenging responsibility to identify the most exceptional scientific accomplishments among scores of outstanding young Israeli researchers.”
Mr. Ellis Rubinstein, President and Chief Executive Officer at the New York Academy of Sciences, said, “by identifying and supporting the most promising innovators in Israel, these Awards not only will inspire Israel’s children to choose science and technology careers but Israel’s best and brightest will join the Blavatnik Awards’ international community online and in person, forming global collaborations of unprecedented impact. Moreover, through the New York Academy of Sciences’ worldwide network, Israel’s scientific and engineering prowess will become even better known than it is today.”
The inaugural Blavatnik Awards for Young Scientists in Israel will be honored at a formal ceremony in Jerusalem on February 4, 2018. 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.
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.
About The Blavatnik Family Foundation
The Blavatnik Family Foundation is an active supporter of leading educational, scientific, cultural, and charitable institutions in the United States, the United Kingdom, Israel, and throughout the world. The Foundation is headed by Len Blavatnik, an American industrialist and philanthropist. Mr. Blavatnik is the Founder and Chairman of Access Industries, a privately-held U.S. industrial group with global interests in natural resources and chemicals, media and telecommunications, venture capital, and real estate. Among other things, Access Industries owns the Israeli Clal Industries group. For more detailed information, please visit: www.accessindustries.com.
About the New York Academy of Sciences
The New York Academy of Sciences is an independent, not-for-profit organization that since 1817 has been driving innovative solutions to society’s challenges by advancing scientific research, education, and policy. With more than 20,000 Members in 100 countries, the Academy is creating a global community of science for the benefit of humanity. Please visit us online at www.nyas.org and follow us on Twitter at @NYASciences.
About the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities
The Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities is the preeminent scientific institution in Israel. It was established by law in 1961, and acts as a national focal point for Israeli scholarship in all branches of the sciences, social sciences and humanities. The Academy comprises 125 of Israel’s most distinguished scientists and scholars who operate in two sections – the sciences section and the humanities section.
It is tasked with promoting Israeli scientific excellence; advising the government on scientific matters of national interest; publishing scholarly research of lasting merit; and maintaining active contact with the broader international scientific and scholarly community.
To learn more about this year’s Laureates, go to: