The higher education system in Israel is one of the best in the world. Three of the country’s 10 universities — the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Technion–Israel Institute of Technology and Weizmann Institute of Science — are in the top 100 of the Shanghai Ranking’s 2022 Academic Ranking of World Universities. The other seven universities also offer strong programs, opportunities to conduct cutting-edge research, myriad partnership possibilities and increasingly international environments, making Israel a draw for postdoctoral researchers in a wide range of disciplines.
Israel’s academic excellence is fuelled by funding. Israel spent more on R&D as a percentage of GDP than any other country in 2018, according to the World Economic Forum: 4.95 per cent compared to 4.81 per cent in South Korea and 3.37 per cent in Switzerland (the other top two nations). Israel also invested 1.5 per cent of its GDP into higher education in 2018; this is among the top 15 countries in the world investing in this type of education.
When research is supported by a European Research Council (ERC) grant — the Olympics of research grants — it indicates a promising idea worth investigating, one with potential to spur innovations that can advance human progress. Between 2007 and 2020, Israel received almost 4.9 ERC grants per million people, second only to Switzerland, reflecting academic and scientific excellence and the plethora of research opportunities in the country. Israeli scientists won a total of 680 ERC grants in this period, including 151 in physical sciences and engineering and 144 in life sciences; nearly half of these ERC grants (332) were starting grants.
Postdocs in Israel
Israel’s 10 universities are collectively home to just over 3,000 postdocs, more than half of whom are international. They come from more than 60 countries, including Germany, France, Italy, the United States, India and China. Two Israeli universities have the largest groups of postgraduate researchers (23.8 per cent are at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and 20 per cent are at the Weizmann Institute of Science), including both international and domestic postdocs, but all 10 universities have attractive programs and facilities.