In 2007, the Azrieli name was primarily known in Israel for architectural and entrepreneurial accomplishments. But that began to change with the launch of the Azrieli Fellows Program — an initiative that promotes cutting-edge scientific and scholarly innovation at Israel’s leading universities. It generously funds young researchers and creates an environment in which they can thrive.

By selecting exceptional scholars who pursue high-risk, high-reward research, and by encouraging the cross-pollination of ideas, the program supports ground-breaking work toward the betterment of society. It does so while strengthening connections between Israeli scientists and scholars and the international academic community.

Since starting with 11 Fellows in its inaugural cohort, the Azrieli Fellows Program has grown to support about 145 Fellows each year. This ongoing expansion will give the program more than 700 alumni by the end of the decade, a valuable network for current and past Fellows.

The scope of the Azrieli Fellows Program has also broadened over the years. Initially, Fellows had backgrounds in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math), architecture or education, and came from Canadian or Israeli universities. Soon after, scholars from the humanities, natural sciences, social sciences and other areas of study were welcomed, as were Fellows from several other countries.

Beyond funding, Fellows benefit from a range of supports that focus on their well-being, including logistical help upon arriving in Israel and workshops aimed at enhancing valuable communication skills.

The evolution of the Azrieli Fellows Program will see more scholars coming to Israel from abroad in the future. Yet, at its core, the program still retains a family feeling and revolves around people and their human potential. Several alumni of the program have come back to Israel as academic faculty after postdocs overseas, and now their PhD students are applying to the program.

“Our Fellows are the most important part of the program,” says Global Director Aviad Stollman. “We’re investing in people in their formative years. Human capital is precious, and their intellectual power and ability to innovate is what makes Israel successful.”