Embracing Opportunities for Research and Educational Advancement
Dear HUJI Friends and Colleagues,
“Two are better than one, for they have a better reward for their labor” (Ecclesiastes 4:9). This same concept inspires us today, as academic researchers who recognize the enormous benefit of international collaboration between scientists, labs, research institutions, and universities.
These collaborations make for better research, allow for increased investment in resources and equipment, and translate into more productive results in terms of publications, secured developments, and patents - a process which we all know can be long and arduous.
The International Office provides the infrastructure to cultivate meaningful partnerships between the Hebrew University and leading academic institutions around the world, and assists in building connections between researchers from HUJI and colleagues in Europe, North America, and Asia. All this with the specific goal of advancing a wide range of research, studies, and exchange opportunities.
Despite the immense challenges and restrictions imposed over the past year by Covid-19, a new array of opportunities has presented itself to our community. Over the past year, we have engaged in new partnerships - while other existing strategic collaborations have been expanded upon. We have designed new and increasingly innovative models for mutually beneficial work, including academic doctoral programs, exchange programs, and joint seminars in collaboration with institutions around the globe.
In addition to our ongoing programs, the International Office continues to assist visiting academics and students with pre-arrival logistics, from securing visas to arranging self-quarantine and housing, as well as other matters related to their stay in Israel. We successfully implemented a comprehensive vaccination campaign on campus for our international community, in coordination with the Office of Student Life of the Rothberg International School.
In this newsletter, we’d like to take the opportunity to showcase some of the collaborations we have established with partnering institutions in the fields of research, education, and student exchange.
PICTURED: An international student receives his first vaccination on February 14, 2021 as part of the International Office vaccination campaign.
Photographer: Yosi De Funes
NEW CREATE - HUJI and Nanyang Technological University (NTU)
“I believe in partnerships,” says Prof. Shlomo Magdassi from the Institute for Chemistry at Hebrew University and Head of the NEW CREATE program in Singapore. “When I work with researchers who come from a field in which I am not an expert, and when I am well-versed in a field with which my colleagues are less familiar, the collective result is oftentimes remarkable. Wisdom is not limited to a single person. We have so much to benefit from expanding our knowledge through collaboration with others, the scientific added value is unequivocal".
In 2007, the Government of Singapore launched the CREATE program initiative (Campus for Research Excellence and Technological Enterprise). The program fosters a series of research collaborations for study teams from Singapore and other international universities including MIT, UC Berkeley, Cambridge, and the Hebrew University.
Research groups selected to be part of CREATE receive significant support from the Singapore government that allows them to purchase research equipment, hire personnel and invest in the overall advancement of their studies. Every project is assigned a researcher both from Singapore and the host campus, and there is ongoing mobility between the participating countries.
As part of the campus initiative, in 2016 Hebrew University set up SHARE (Singapore HUJI Alliance for Research and Enterprise) as an official subsidiary. SHARE acts as the only official Hebrew University research center operating outside of Israel. The goal of the center is the advancement of research student work and new initiatives, and developing fruitful collaborations between researchers at Hebrew University and in Singapore.
CREATE initiatives include:
NEW CREATE- A partnership with Nanyang Technological University (NTU), led by Prof. Shlomo Magdassi from the Institute of Chemistry at Hebrew University.
MMID2-A partnership with the National University of Singapore (NUS), led by Prof. Ehud Razin from the Faculty of Medicine at Hebrew University.
This is now the 10th year that NEW CREATE has been working together with the NTU School of Materials Science and Engineering, the world’s leader in Nanoscience & Nanotechnology (based on the 2019 Shanghai Ranking). The NEW CREATE program under Prof. Magdassi is focused on the study of the relationship between energy and advanced materials, with attention to implementable processes in printing. As part of the work of the collaborative lab that Prof. Magdassi defines as a “satellite of the Hebrew University,” the team has created new methods of printing smart windows with materials that allow for climate control and energy savings, published scientific papers in leading periodicals (a third of which were joint papers), and recorded new patents both jointly and independently.
Click here to watch a video about CREATE Singapore
Joint Calls for Joint Seed Fund Projects
The International Office and the Authority for R&D have introduced more than ten joint research funds together with leading academic institutions around the world including the University of Toronto, University of Illinois, University of Geneva, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, and more. The websites of the International Office and the Authority for R&D regularly update the relevant calls for research projects. Researchers are invited to stay up to date via the website, to propose new ideas, and benefit from the funding grants made available through the international activities of the University.
Spotlight on Covid-19 Joint Call with Shanghai Jiao Tong University
In 2013, a collaboration was launched with Shanghai Jiao Tong University encompassing a wide range of academic partnerships, including an exchange student program, summer programs, degree programs, and funding for joint research. As part of the collaboration, a call for papers focused on research related to COVID-19 was published as a joint program of the International Office and the Authority for R&D. Eight projects were nominated to receive funding.
One of the selected projects was of Prof. Yinon Ben Neriah from the Lautenberg Center for Immunology at Hebrew University and Prof. Bing Su, Director of the Immunology Institute at Shanghai Jiao Tong University, who began their academic paths together at the University of California San Diego and continued on to Yale University. When Prof. Su came to Shanghai Jiao Tong University, it presented the perfect opportunity for collaborative research and academic exchanges between their two centers.
Following the call for COVID-19-related studies, the pair was able to secure funding for their joint research on lab rodents injected with human receptors infected with Covid-19, with the goal of speeding up the pharmaceutical analysis process of the experiments. The collaboration has allowed for the development of new and creative modes of testing, providing quicker research discoveries at a time when the pandemic has significantly limited progress in countless ways across the globe.
In recent years, the University has established a series of joint degree programs with leading academic institutions around the world including the University of Melbourne, Freie Universitaet Berlin, National University of Singapore, and others. The University also permits research students to complete doctoral programs together with international universities based on academic cooperation between the research advisors at each of the institutions (Cotutelle).
Dr. Nathalie Klein Selle recently completed her doctoral studies in this track, attending the Hebrew University to continue her studies as part of her Master’s degree in the Netherlands. She conducted research in the Cognitive Psychology Laboratory under the guidance of Prof. Gershon Ben-Shakhar from the Psychology Department. Dr. Klein Selle chose to complete her doctoral degree at the same lab but recognized the importance of continued collaboration with the university in the Netherlands. With the support of Prof. Ben-Shakhar, a path was created to allow for a research study involving the two universities. Dr. Klein Selle pursued a joint doctoral degree, focusing on issues of legal psychology and how decisions are made about revealing and concealing specific information in legal processes. Upon completion of her studies, she was awarded a doctoral degree from both Hebrew University and the University of Amsterdam.
Dr. Klein Selle’s post-doctoral research involved a joint study between Hebrew University and Würzburg University in Germany. The study was conducted in the lab of Prof. Yoni Pertzov from the Psychology Department, focusing on issues of memory and disrupted memory.
“I would recommend to anyone who is considering a career in academia to pursue joint PhD studies with an international institution that can lead to publications abroad and help to build important connections that will assist with future post-doctoral studies”, Dr. Klein Selle says. “By having this joint base of study, the candidate gains feedback from two advisors, while gaining exposure from labs both in Israel and abroad and a wider understanding of how research is performed in different parts of the world.”
PICTURED: Dr. Nathalie Klein Selle being awarded her Doctorate from the University of Amsterdam.
The International Office is actively involved in assisting our academic and administrative members and students to engage in professional development opportunities abroad or to participate in exchange programs.
Over the course of the current semester, as the pandemic continues to impact the international community, several dozen students are participating in exchange programs in Europe.
In November 2020 our annual call for exchange applications was published for the next academic year, 2021-22. There was considerable interest in exchange studies abroad, and we saw more than 30% growth in the number of students interested in going on exchange.
Launch of the New Erasmus+ Program
The “Erasmus+ Programme” for 2015-2021 will conclude at the end of this year, and its impact on staff and student mobility is unprecedented.
Over €40 million in funding were awarded to support mobility programs between Israeli and European institutions, with HUJI coming in the lead with the highest number of grants received.
Throughout the 7-year duration of the program, over 65 bilateral agreements were signed between HUJI and an array of European institutions, and more than 400 students and 400 faculty and staff engaged in short-term visits across Europe. Additionally, the Hebrew University hosted over 250 international students and 350 international faculty and staff throughout the program.
The Erasmus+ Programme for student exchange and mobility for 2021-2027 was recently published and introduces new and important changes that are relevant for research candidates. As part of the new program, the budget designated for exchange students has doubled, while also introducing new options for online learning alongside traveling to academic destinations.
As part of Erasmus+, several new mobility initiatives are offered including:
Blended Mobility: A program that combines shorter-term study opportunities with distance learning, in an effort to meet the needs of students who cannot travel abroad for a full semester.
Short PhD: A program intended for doctoral candidates based on week-long intervals of study.
Virtual Exchange: Recognition of virtual student exchange programs.
Alongside mobility programming, Erasmus+ offers support for joint degree programs. Two calls for proposals were recently announced:
Erasmus Mundus Joint Masters Degrees (EMJM)
Erasmus Mundus Design Measures (EMDM)
For additional information about Erasmus+ please contact Ms. Ayala Feinmesser-Mizrahi, Erasmus+ Coordinator: email@example.com.
For more details about the Calls for Participation visit here.
One of the most evident signs of academic globalization is the growing number of professional networks bringing together different universities around the world.
The Euroleague for Life Sciences (ELLS) is an international network of universities designed to highlight areas of academic collaboration. The vision is an international consortium of many different campuses that allows for the exchange of faculty and students.
Six years ago, the Robert H. Smith Faculty of Agriculture, Food and Environment joined ELLS as a strategic partner alongside six European universities and two from outside Europe, in New Zealand and China.
ELLS aims to advance collaborative research among universities and facilitates summer courses, an annual student conference, and overall increased knowledge-sharing between researchers from all the relevant academic centers. Over 100 students from Europe, Australia, and New Zealand participated in the summer course hosted by the Faculty of Agriculture, made possible through participation in ELLS. Membership in the League allows for the establishment of bilateral agreements between the Faculty and other leading academic centers, as well as helping to recruit doctoral and post-doctoral candidates around the world who have been exposed to research studies made possible by ELLS.
Professor Aliza Fleischer, Vice Dean for International Affairs and Head of the International School of Agricultural Studies shares, “Through ELLS, we are able to open our campus up to students from universities that are leading in our areas of study and serve to significantly strengthen our relationships with those institutions.”
PICTURED: Students participating in a joint study as part of the ELLS summer courses offered by the Faculty of Agriculture.