Eight new winners receive total of 12 million euros

Six of the Hebrew University ERC starting research grant winners (from left): Dr. Eran Meshorer, Prof. Ido Braslavsky, Prof. Orna Kupferman, Prof. Itamar Simon, Dr. Einav Gross and Dr. Ehud Cohen


Hebrew University ranks near top in Europe in winning starting European research grants    

Jerusalem, Nov. 16, 2011Eight young researchers from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem have been awarded competitive starting research grants this year from the European Research Council of the European Union, totaling 12 million euros.

Prof. Shai Arkin, Hebrew University vice-president for research and development, said that “this achievement places the Hebrew University in third position among European universities in the total number of ERC grants to young researchers from the time that these grants were first awarded in 2007. We now have 29 such grants, exceeded only by Cambridge and Oxford universities in Britain,” he said.

The Hebrew University is rated also first in Israel in this regard. This year, the Weizmann Institute of Science won six such grants, and Tel Aviv University and the Technion each had three.

It is also worth noting that Israel as a whole is in first place in this grant competition in terms of the total number of grants received in relation to its population.

Hebrew University President Prof. Menahem Ben-Sasson said, “This extent of competitive grants won by young researchers is of tremendous importance because it shows the potential research excellence and scientific leadership existing at our university. Every researcher who has received such a grant represents the scientific elite in Israel.”

European Research Council grants have been awarded since 2007 to the most outstanding, young, independent researchers from among thousands whose names and projects have been submitted as candidates. 

This year, 480 such grants were awarded, among them 22 to those from Israeli research institutes, which ranks Israel in seventh place among all European recipient countries, ahead of such nations as Australia, Belgium and Sweden, for example.

The eight recipients from the Hebrew University, who received ERC grant awards this year of approximately 1.5 million euros each are: 

Dr. Ehud Cohen of the Faculty of Medicine, Prof. Orna Kupferman of the Benin School of Computer Science and Engineering, Prof. Itamar Simon of the Faculty of Medicine, Dr. Eli Pikarsky of the Faculty of Medicine, Prof. Dorit Aharonov of the Benin School of Computer Science and Engineering, Prof. Ido Braslavsky of the Robert H. Smith Faculty of Agriculture, Food and Environment, Dr. Einav Gross, who has returned to Israel from Cambridge University, and Dr. Eran Meshorer of the Alexander Silberman Institute of Life Sciences.