With world-class universities and a culture that encourages innovation, start-ups and technology development, as well as a unique blend of youth and antiquity, Israel is one of the best places for researchers to work. But it’s not just a launching pad for PhD students and early-career faculty; Israel is also an ideal destination for international postdoctoral researchers. Here are five reasons why.
1. Resources and Facilities
Thanks to a significant public investment in science and higher education as a whole, researchers have access to cutting-edge facilities and equipment at their academic institutions. This means regardless of your field, you will have access to all the technology and facilities you need in your lab. The wealth of resources is also evident in the research budgets that allow postdocs to travel to overseas conferences and join high-profile international meetings.
2. Interdisciplinarity and Ingenuity
There is a deep-rooted tradition of creative, interdisciplinary scholarship in Israel, making the country the perfect place to pursue research questions that cross disciplinary boundaries. This interdisciplinarity fosters ingenuity and improvisation, and when scientists don’t follow the standard set of rules, it leads to out-of-the-box thinking and innovative results. Moreover, an element of informality in Israeli academia dictates how people collaborate. It fuels spontaneous scientific discussions that ultimately lead to researchers getting acquainted with people from other labs and addressing problems together. When academic institutions provide spaces for relaxing and socializing on campus, it promotes conversations, collegiality and collaboration.
Israel is an international hub for research, which allows both international and domestic scholars to cultivate broad networks of collaborators and contacts. Research groups comprising people from different countries enrich the learning environment and help teams understand and benefit from cultural and linguistic differences. Moreover, incorporating global perspectives into one’s work is an important mechanism for advancing knowledge, strengthening capacity and developing the vision to serve people around the world. It gives researchers clarity about their strengths and weaknesses and helps people fill each other’s knowledge gaps.
4. Welcoming Atmosphere
The hospitality of Israeli culture is reflected in its academic culture. There is a very welcoming atmosphere at Israeli universities, and scholars from other countries are quickly included and immersed in the community — from being invited to lunch to being asked to participate in groups and conferences. As there are flat hierarchies in Israel in general, and in Israeli academia in particular, postdocs are able to interact with leading researchers and receive helpful feedback.
5. Prestige and Recognition
Israeli institutions are known worldwide for producing great research and researchers. They are also known for attracting a disproportionate amount of international funding — including European Research Council grants — relative to the country’s size. This recognition, along with domestic government support, prizes and awards, creates an environment where postdocs can thrive. Being surrounded by a community of high-achieving experts gives people the motivation to work hard and generate results. Postdocs don’t go to Israel to be “tourists,” although there are beautiful places to visit, lively and diverse cities, and idyllic weather in the country. They go for the pursuit of academic excellence.