What We Are Doing About:
- Magazines and Multimedia
- About the Institute
- Weizmann Institute Homepage
|Alternative Energy||Materials Science|
|Biochemistry||Molecular Cell Biology|
|Computer Science||Plant Sciences|
President Zajfman and I have frequently reported that one of our most pressing priorities is to attract outstanding younger scientists to the Institute to add to the complement of senior, experienced researchers. As our senior scientists reach retirement age, it is these new additions who will ensure the maintenance of high standards of scientific research at the Institute. Competition from all leading research institutions, worldwide, to attract the very best scientists is challenging, and we are aware of the importance of our meeting the challenge. Meanwhile, we are pleased with the younger scientists who have joined or have committed to join the Institute since our last report.
International events since the start of this year have indeed been history-making. Civil unrest in the Mahgreb, pressure on the structure of the European Union as a result of debt in the peripheral countries testing the political resolve of the center, the massive earthquake off Japan’s East coast compounded by a huge tsunami that resulted in much loss of life, and no sign of the US coming to grips with its more than $14 trillion debt. Such a confluence of events could have been expected to affect markets; yet these have been relatively stable. The endowment funds managed by W-GEM for the Institute’s benefit have continued to grow, to the extent that as of 31 December 2010, our funds exceeded those of all but the 30 largest university endowment funds in the United States. Needless to say, volatility in markets is a reality with subsequent effects on the rates of growth of even the best-managed endowment funds. At the current “spend rate,” endowment funds provide almost 25% of the Institute’s annual budget. It is another of our priorities to grow the endowment, which in turn will enable the stable development of the Institute and its activities.
The revised governance procedures adopted three years ago are in place. Circumstances will dictate how these evolve over the years in response to changing conditions. Recently added to our Executive Board and Management Committee is the Assets Committee, which oversees the Institute’s endowment, intellectual property and real estate. A further addition to our administration team is an experienced real estate man; he will head the entity we have established to manage, and we believe add value to, the considerable real estate assets of the Institute. It is these entities that now represent the core of the Institute’s management under the advice and leadership of the president and his four vice presidents. The new conference center, named for its generous donor, David Lopatie, will be inaugurated in November when the Board convenes. This unit, long needed, will be a much used facility when fully operative. Construction activity on the site of the new cornerstone building for scientific and technical support, to be named for its equally generous donors Raoul and Graziella de Picciotto, is underway. Alongside this new facility will be the Leon and Nella Benoziyo Building for Biological Chemistry. These two large, handsome buildings will transform this section of the campus.
The Feinberg Graduate School graduated a record 160 Ph.D. and 127 M.Sc. students at the end of the last academic year. The Institute is proud that 25-30% of all Israeli Ph.D.s in the sciences are graduates of the Feinberg School. Their contribution to the impressive growth of Israel’s economy is immeasurable. In Israel, the standard law of diminishing returns has been overcome through technological progress – a real testimonial to the emphasis on higher education standards, particularly in the sciences, coupled with human inventiveness and ingenuity.
In addition to existing joint venture programs with various international research institutions and universities, we have recently entered into programs with Harvard University for research in systems biology; with the Max Planck Society to work in the fields of integrative archaeology and anthropology; and with our long-time collaboration partner the German Cancer Research Center to create a research school for the study of cancer biology. The US financial giant Citigroup is funding a specific project over a five-year period in the area of pattern recognition and security, to be led by our team in the Department of Applied Mathematics and Computer Science.
The year 2011 has witnessed geopolitical shocks in the Middle East of earthshaking proportions. How it will all play out remains to be seen. Many of the countries in the region are aboil. In the geographic midst of this turmoil the State of Israel, although concerned about the eventual outcome, goes about its business phlegmatically. The leadership of Daniel Zajfman and his team of vice presidents has enabled the Weizmann Institute campus, in these unsettling times, to be an oasis of calm. On behalf of the International Board, I extend to them our gratitude for their devotion and tireless energy.