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FROM THE CHAIR
This year will complete my term in office as the Chair of the Board of Governors. I am pleased that I have been able to travel widely throughout the Weizmann world, despite the need to deal with a serious family illness, to see firsthand the strength and dedication of the national Weizmann organizations and the remarkable professional staffs and devoted lay leaders who make them successful. Without their support, the Weizmann Institute of Science could not achieve the world-class scientific stature it so richly deserves.
I have traveled tens of thousands of miles, from Florida to Toronto, from New York to Zurich, from Washington to London and Brussels, and, of course, repeatedly to Israel, spreading the word, raising our visibility, and providing encouragement to those who often work far from the beautiful Weizmann campus but have the Institute in their hearts and minds every day.
In addition to traveling, I joined the board of directors of Yeda and participated actively. Its annual stream of revenues is critically important to Weizmann in this time of budget stringency. I have also benefited from participation in the regular Executive Commitee meetings, ensuring continuing oversight of Institute activities. In order to create a cohesive partnership with the Deputy Chairs of the Board of Governors, I arranged regular briefing sessions for them with our President, Prof. Ilan Chet, to make sure they have real-time information about developments on campus.
We face significant financial challenges ahead. That is why, in my term in office, we launched the Global Partnership Campaign for Excellence in Science; our objective is to increase our endowment from today’s $700 million to $1.2 billion and to significantly increase our operating budget over the next five years. Gershon Kekst from the U.S., former Chair of the Board of Governors, will serve as overall Chair of the Campaign, and Bob Drake from the Netherlands will be the operating Chief Executive.
FROM THE PRESIDENT
This year, with a resolution in the Knesset, Israel designated a date to honor Theodore Herzl, who 110 years ago launched the fantastic vision of a reborn independent Jewish state in this land. His vision of Jewish independence and dignity, of great universal and national achievements, and of a just and forward-thinking society remains a bright beacon by which we seek to live and prosper. It is within this broad perspective of aspirations that I would like to review the achievements of the Weizmann Institute of Science, an institution created in Herzl's spirit by fellow Zionist Chaim Weizmann. For us, the vision of these great men translates into an aim to achieve permanent and eminent standing among the world's elite academic research institutions. This is our natural milieu, not only in one or two fields, but in all the fields our scientists pursue. This is a tall order in light of Israeli funding realities. How can we hope to lead the world in key areas of scientific endeavor or keep up, at the very minimum, when even the most successful Institute scientist can normally draw on only a half or a third of the financial resources available to a colleague in the U.S. or Europe? Israeli ingenuity makes up for many deficits, yet our hope and intent for the Institute's future is to secure the financial strength to pursue science at the highest possible level.
“Made in Weizmann”
This Annual Report highlights five pairs of scientists who cross the boundaries of their disciplines to collaborate on problems that challenge their imagination. They achieve creative results that are unlikely to have occurred if each had remained safely on his or her intellectual home turf. This has traditionally been the hallmark of “Made in Weizmann” research, and it recurs in much of the work described in this report. Indeed, there is work that goes a step beyond the collaborative research of two scientists from different areas – when diverse disciplines are bridged by a single researcher. Prof. Ehud Shapiro, a member of the Computer Science and Applied Mathematics Department, maintains a lab in the Biological Chemistry Department and epitomizes the interdisciplinary inquirer par excellence. He has been developing a DNA-based biomolecular computer, which might in the future be applied for medical diagnosis and treatment of diseases such as cancer, as well as for biochemical sensing and genetic engineering.