Postdoctoral Positions and Fellowships in Israel
If you are among the dedicated and diligent few who completed their third degree, it's time to think about the next step, a postdoctoral fellowship in Israel. Engineering, physics, psychology and philosophy are just a few of the fields in which such fellowships are offered.
You can choose a teaching or a non-teaching track, meet and work with some of the finest scholars in the world, while taking your academic career to the next level. Lately, the council of higher education in Israel has opened the door for the arrival of scholars from India and China, and it continues its collaboration with Europe and The US.
Read also about: PhD in Israel
Fellows of the postdoctoral track are expected to continue their research under the guidance of a professor and to study in groups (at times the groups are actually pairs). The tracks are open to candidates from all over the world and are usually studied in English. However, in case fellows wish to take a teaching position, most institutions require them to know Hebrew.
The duration of the track is usually two years, in some institutions the track may be extended to three years.
Candidates must complete their PhD prior to applying. Furthermore, they must submit their fellowship request no later than three years (in some institutions it is five years) after completing their PhD. At any case, the postdocs must complete their track before seven years have passed since they received their PhD.
A special committee that includes the rector and representatives of the different academic departments examines the candidates' past work and research proposals and decides which will be accepted. Candidates must include in their request a proposal for future study.
Stipends and Housing Expenses
Usually, fellows receive a grant from the hosting faculties. However, in some cases, the grants are provided by external funds. Stipends that are considered as grants are tax free in Israel. Fellows might receive several scholarships at the same time from different funds, in accordance with the guidelines and conditions prescribed in each one of them. There are many organizations offering grants to postdoctoral fellows. Usually, they are based on academic merit. However, some of them are based on the field of study or the students' countries of origin.
During the postdoctoral studies, fellows receive a stipend of between NIS 5,400 – NIS 10,000 per month, while most stipends are approx. NIS 6,000. The grants usually include an additional sum for helping with housing expenses, usually around NIS 1,000 per month. Fellows may choose to stay at subsidized apartments provided by the universities.
Academic Institutions and Programs
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem – is one of the biggest and most prestigious institutions in Israel. There are approx. 400 fellows in Jerusalem in its various faculties and departments: science, agriculture, medicine, humanities and social sciences. Most fellows are funded by their hosting departments while some 40 are financed by The Lady Davis and The Golda Meir funds.
Tel Aviv University – offers postdoctoral grants in various fields including: archeology, medicine, neurosciences and economics. TAU is also known for its computer science and environmental studies departments and offers grants in many areas each year.
Ben Gurion University of the Negev (Be'er-Sheva) – offers postdoctoral tracks in many fields. Currently, it is the only Israeli university to have a desert studies department, thus it is the only institution to offer a fellowship in the area. Researchers in other fields are welcome as well: engineering, environmental studies, Israel studies, history, psychology, computer science, mathematics and more.
University of Haifa – accepts approx. 50 fellows each year, and publishes a special call for scholars from India and China. There are open positions for research in physics, agricultural engineering, medical engineering, information systems and security, conflict management and more.
Technion - Israel Institute of Technology (Haifa) – is one of the leading scientific schools in Israel. It hosts some 150 fellows every year in its different departments: medicine, aerospace engineering, electrical engineering, biology, chemistry, biotechnology and food engineering, mathematics, computer science, architecture etc. Special programs are available for Chinese and Indian scholars, and others are intended for Olim and returning scientists.
Weizmann Institute of Science (Rehovot) – is a leading scientific institution. It offers fellowships in physics, chemistry, life sciences, mathematics, computer science and science teaching. Recently, Weizmann Institute launched the Alternative Sustainable Energy Research Initiative (AERI). AERI foreign postdocs will be granted with a two-year fellowship in Weizmann Institute and a third year fellowship in an institution by their choice. The program wishes to enable fellows an easy start to future academic positions.
Bar Ilan University (Ramat Gan) - accepts more than 50 post doctoral fellows every year. Most fellows are from the US, Europe and the Far East. The research tracks include specializations in medicinal chemistry, mathematics, statistics, cancer, brain and neurobiology, Jewish law and philosophy, developmental psychology and archeology.
Non University Programs
Yad Vashem's International Institute for Holocaust Research - offers postdoctoral fellowships in holocaust research. The duration of each fellowship is between 2 – 4 months and might be extended. Yad Vashem includes the biggest library and archives regarding the holocaust in the world.
The Van Leer Jerusalem Institute – awards six postdoctoral fellowships every year. The research must be in the fields of humanities or social sciences and must take place in the Van Leer Institute in Jerusalem. Fellows will receive an annual stipend of $40,000. The duration of the fellowship can be up to five years.
There are many public and private funds awarding grants and scholarships for postdoctoral fellows. Usually, each department and faculty could provide the candidates with a list of such grants. Below are examples:
The Lady Davis Fellowship Trust – provides grants for postdoctoral fellows, doctoral students and visiting professors at The Hebrew University and The Technion. The grant is approx. NIS 5,500 per month with an additional rental allowance of NIS 1,000. Note that grants are not given every year.
The Golda Meir Fellowship Fund – is awarded only to fellows of The Hebrew University. The duration of the fellowship is one or two years. The grant includes costs of travel, tuition fees and living expenses in Israel.
The Azrieli Foundation – offers grants to fellows who are Canadian citizens or to post-docs who completed their studies at Canadian Universities. The foundation chooses some 15 new scholars every year. Fellows must be accepted to tracks in Israeli academic institutions (the universities and institutes that were mentioned above). The duration of the grant is 12 months which can be extended to an additional year. Fellows receive C$40,000 each year.
The National Institute for Psychobiology in Israel – offers post-doctoral fellowships in memory of Mrs. Leah M. Smith to scholars of psychobiology studying at Israeli institutions. The support is up to $10,000 per year.