Mort Zuckerman launches $100M program to foster US-Israel scientific collaboration

Julie Wiener

NEW YORK (JTA) — Media tycoon Mortimer Zuckerman is launching a $100 million program promoting scientific collaboration between the United States and Israel.

The Zuckerman STEM Leadership Program, announced Monday at a New York event that featured Gov. Andrew Cuomo and with several Nobel laureates on hand, promises to provide over $100 million in scholarships and related educational activities for participating scholars and universities.

The program, which will launch in the 2016-17 academic year, aims to foster collaboration between  the “highest-achieving” American post-doctoral researchers and graduate students and “leading researchers” at Hebrew University, the Technion, Tel Aviv University and the Weizmann Institute of Science, according to a news release issued Monday.

Zuckerman, a former chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, has a net worth of $2.5 billion, according to Forbes magazine. The American Jewish philanthropist’s foundation has supported an array of Jewish, medical and scientific institutions.

“At a time when collaboration is essential to advanced scientific research, this program gives the next generations of leading American and Israeli academics the ability to work together on cutting edge research in ways that stand to benefit their fields for years to come,” Zuckerman said in a statement. “The result will help transform not just the work of the scholars involved, but the way the United States and Israel approach collaboration and cooperation across the sciences.”

Cuomo said in a statement: “New York and Israel share a deep and unparalleled connection – and the Zuckerman Scholars Program is a prime example of how we can keep that relationship strong today and in the future. By helping some of America’s best and brightest students work and learn alongside leading researchers in Israel, this program gives us a new model for cooperation and partnership that will ultimately better society as a whole.”

Zuckerman’s foundation has committed to invest in the program over the next 20 years and plans to ensure the program continues “in perpetuity.”

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