From the time it was established in 1918, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem has always strived for excellence. In fact, its first Board of Governors included none other than Albert Einstein, Sigmund Freud, Martin Buber and Chaim Weizmann; and no fewer than eight Nobel prizes and numerous other prestigious awards have emanated from its halls. However, The Hebrew University is much more focused on the future than on the past, educating its students for the world of tomorrow and investing vast resources into cutting-edge research.
The Hebrew University is spread over six campuses: three in Jerusalem – Mount Scopus, Edmond J. Safra in Givat Ram and Ein Kerem, where the Faculty of Medicine and the Institute for Medical Research are located – one in Rehovoth, home to the Robert H. Smith Faculty of Agriculture, Food and Environment, the Koret School of Veterinary Medicine in Beit Dagan, and the Interuniversity Institute for Marine Sciences campus in Eilat. Altogether, the university offers over 200 different majors and programs to approximately 24,000 students, and is consistently ranked as one of the top 150 universities in the world and the best in Israel.
In addition to excelling as lecturers and educators, The Hebrew University’s faculty is known for its groundbreaking research in a wide range of fields, in the sciences as well as the humanities. The university is home to over 100 research centers and at any given time approximately 3,800 research projects are in progress. Furthermore, one-third of all doctoral candidates in Israel are enrolled at The Hebrew University, and it is also a leader in obtaining research grants from the European Research Council (ERC).
Several prominent fields are the focus of extensive groundbreaking research at the university:
Decades ago, Albert Einstein – one of the university’s founding fathers – saw quantum theory as a means to describe Nature on an atomic level. Today, quantum studies, and especially quantum computing and quantum sensing, is a rapidly growing field responsible for some of the most dramatic scientific and technological breakthroughs of recent years. “The Hebrew University has established the multidisciplinary Quantum Information Science Center that brings together over 20 researchers from a variety of fields, including Physics, Engineering, Chemistry, Mathematics, Computer Science and Philosophy. Three new young faculty members have recently been recruited to join the Center, including Dr. Rivka Bekenstein, an alumna of The Hebrew University returning to Israel after conducting postdoctoral research at Harvard,” says Prof. Re’em Sari, The Hebrew University’s VP for Research & Development.
The Quantum Center will be housed in a new building currently under construction on the Safra campus. The highly respected Hebrew University Center for Nanoscience and Nanotechnology, which provides an interdisciplinary research platform for 90 research groups, will also be housed in the same building, allowing synergy between the two.
Data Science and Precision Medicine
The interdisciplinary field of Data Science, which is closely related to Big Data, uses scientific methods to extract knowledge and insights from large amounts of data. It is a growing field with seemingly limitless applications and a huge impact on many aspects of the modern world. At The Hebrew University, data science research teams are involved in exploring a wide variety of applications, from industry through social sciences to precision medicine.
One of the most important and innovative fields of medical research is in the area of precision medicine. Experts believe that we are at the cusp of a revolution in terms of the way doctors will be diagnosing and treating patients in the not-too-distant future. There will be a much more personalized and computer-based approach, and treatments will be tailored to each patient according to their specific DNA, rather than treating all similar cases with the same medication. Hebrew University researchers are leaders in this field.
An astonishing 43% of medical research carried out in Israel takes place at Hebrew University. The university’s Faculty of Medicine is located next to Hadassah Hospital, and the two collaborate closely. This is a unique arrangement, enabling researchers at the Faculty of Medicine to benefit from access to extensive medical data.
In the past few months, over 60 research groups, comprising approximately 100 researchers, have been tackling all aspects of the coronavirus pandemic, including the race for a vaccine. The university raised $17 million specifically targeted for research on Covid-19. Hebrew University researchers have successfully developed new testing technologies which save time and lower costs. Recently, a team led by Prof. Nir Friedman and Dr. Naomi Habib has invented a way to use a genetic sequencing machine to test large numbers of people rapidly and inexpensively. A patent is pending.
In addition, the university is installing a unique lab for handling live viruses at the highest level of safety, ABSL-3, which will be extremely useful for coronavirus-related research. Since it will be the only civilian lab of this kind in Israel, it will be a national facility open to researchers from all universities.
These are only a few examples of the many fields in which researchers at The Hebrew University are helping to advance humanity and make the world a better place.
The Hebrew University offers a large selection of courses in English and a wide variety of programs for all levels of students, from first-year undergraduates to graduate students, including summer programs, study abroad programs, and short- and long-term study opportunities. Many different Master’s degree programs are offered in English, in such varied fields as Brain Sciences, Jewish Studies, Law, Conflict Resolution and Non-Profit Management, among many others.
Approximately 2,000 international students from over 90 different countries study at The Hebrew University every year. They choose the university because of its academic excellence and worldwide reputation, but also because of the opportunity to live in Jerusalem and be part of a vibrant international student community. The Rothberg International School’s Office of Student Life (OSL) provides a support network and helps students experience Israeli culture and society as well as connecting them with Israeli peers.
International Start-Up 360º MBA Program
The International Start-Up 360º MBA http://bschool.huji.ac.il/bs/InternationalMBA/ is an immersive one-year MBA degree program in English that is part of The Hebrew University’s Jerusalem School of Business Administration. The program is designed to provide aspiring entrepreneurs with the skills to succeed. In addition to attending classes taught by top professors and experts, students intern in Israeli start-ups and VC firms, and also learn from the program’s multicultural environment.
“The international students come from all over the world and are integrated into the general MBA program, studying in English together with Israeli MBA students,” explains Prof. Nicole Adler, the incoming Dean of The Hebrew University’s School of Business Administration. Students take courses in many fields of Business Management, such as Entrepreneurship, Big Data, Finance, Blockchain and Cryptocurrencies.
The highlight of the program is the Trans-Disciplinary Innovation Program (TIP) during the final summer semester, when students explore leading innovative fields such as artificial intelligence (AI), bioengineering, cybersecurity, Internet of Things (IoT) and more. During the intensive six-week program, MBA students have a unique opportunity to develop a venture idea, build a prototype, prepare a business plan, and then pitch their idea to a panel of real investors and accelerators. The TIP summer program gives them unparalleled insight into Israel’s tech ecosystem.
“That’s one of the best parts of the program,” agrees recent alumna Allison Silfen, 25, from New York. “We divided up into groups and developed a business plan for an idea, which we pitched to real investors. It was very exciting! I took everything I learned during the year and incorporated it into something I’m passionate about – a platform for collegiate athletic directors, coaches and players,” she shares. Allison was recruited to play on a professional Israeli women’s basketball team after scouts spotted her at the 2017 Maccabiah Games, and she returned to Israel in order to attend Hebrew University’s International MBA program as well as to play basketball professionally. “I really enjoyed the MBA program. There was lots of hands-on learning and I enjoyed the international perspective,” she concludes.
For more information about opportunities to study at The Hebrew University, go to https://international.huji.ac.il. For information about the Rothberg International School, visit https://overseas.huji.ac.il