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Press Release
September 21, 2022
4 minute read

Researchers at Rutgers and Tel Aviv Universities Set to Receive $200,000 in Seed Grants to Further Collaborative Projects


NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. (September 21, 2022) – Twelve researchers at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey and Tel Aviv University (TAU) in Israel are poised to receive a combined $200,000 in seed grants to further joint projects across a broad spectrum of academic areas. The grants, which were awarded to six partnerships through the TAU – Rutgers University Research Collaboration Fund (the Fund), will support projects in such areas as genomics, agriculture, neurology, quantum computing, and computer science. The Fund was established last year to foster international collaborative partnerships between faculty at TAU and Rutgers.

“Israel has always been a formidable partner in our efforts to reclaim New Jersey’s role as a leader in innovation and harnessing the synergy between the Garden State and the Startup Nation brings us closer to that goal,” Governor Phil Murphy said. “The funding announced today will help us support academic researchers in high-wage, high-growth sectors as they bring their projects from infancy through commercialization.”

In August 2021, the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) and Rutgers University signed an agreement to facilitate research by Rutgers University faculty and staff in conjunction with a leading Israeli university. Rutgers University and the NJEDA each agreed to contribute $50,000 to what would ultimately become the Fund. Rutgers University subsequently signed an agreement with TAU to establish the Fund, which included a $100,000 contribution from TAU.

Grants awarded through the fund can be used for research activities, travel expenses, per diem allowances for faculty or full-time enrolled students, and for scholarships for students.

The awardees include:

  • Gophna – Severinov: Assessing the True Ecological Roles of CRISPR-Cas Systems to Advance Gene Editing
  • Friedman- van der Wel: Understanding Slow and Smooth Movements in Parkinson’s Disease
  • Fridman-Burlion: Development of Time Delay Software Technology to Power Systems
  • Goldstein-Andrei: Kondo Systems and Quantum Computing
  • Ohad-Lawton: Study of innate immunity of plant pathogens: implications for agriculture
  • Zimmerman-Kovacs: Metaphysics of Personhood

According to data released by the NJEDA earlier this year, annual New Jersey-Israel trade was valued at $1.55 billion in 2021 and Foreign Domestic Investments from Israel to New Jersey multiplied four times between 2018 and 2021, worth an estimated $347.1 million. This led to the creation of 1,120 jobs, including those resulting from Israeli companies new to the state.

New Jersey and Israeli officials welcomed the news announced today.

“Increasing access to seed grant funding for researchers statewide is paramount to growing our innovation economy and has been a priority for Governor Murphy since his very first days in office,” said NJEDA Chief Executive Officer Tim Sullivan. “New Jersey and Israel share a long history of collaboration and the awards announced today will spur new partnership opportunities between researchers at two of the world’s top universities. This, in turn, will lead to long-term economic growth.”

“We’re thrilled to bring Israel’s innovation prowess to this partnership with such a storied New Jersey institution,” said Ambassador Asaf Zamir, Consul General of Israel in New York. “Tel Aviv University and Rutgers University are exactly the kinds of places that will deliver tomorrow’s advancements in biotech, neurology, computing, and more. We look forward to seeing the scientific, technological and economic benefits of this wonderful collaboration.”

“New Jersey and Israel share many common values and goals, such as developing ways for university researchers to spur innovation and ultimately drive economic growth,” said New Jersey-Israel Commission Executive Director Andrew Gross. “Innovation and education are among the Commission’s top priorities, and we are thrilled to know that these grants will also serve to strengthen the strong economic and academic ties that exist between Israel and New Jersey.”

“We congratulate both Rutgers University and Tel Aviv University on these historic grants as they fulfill the mission set out by Governor Murphy to connect these global academic ecosystems,” said New Jersey-Israel Commission Co-Chairs Mark S. Levenson and Karin Elkis. “Our commitment to strengthening the partnership between these incredible universities will continue as they leverage game changing technologies to make scientific discoveries that will better our world.”

“From Selman Waksman’s development of streptomycin, that supercharged the global effort to combat tuberculosis in the 1940s, to the invention just two and a half years ago of the saliva-based COVID-19 test that helped to guide the world through the pandemic, Rutgers has long been leveraging collaboration to spur technological progress with academic partners around the globe.  These new projects follow in that academic research tradition,” said Rutgers University Senior Vice President for Research Michael E. Zwick.

“Fostering collaboration between our researchers and their American counterparts is key to furthering innovation and is a tremendous mechanism for driving economic activity,” said TAU President Ariel Porat. “These joint grants are another example of how Governor Murphy and New Jersey continue to be steadfast allies as we seek to grow our presence in the United States.”

The awards announced today are the latest in a series of collaborations between TAU and Rutgers University. Last year, the universities signed an agreement to further collaboration and to have TAU establish a presence at the New Jersey Innovation and Technology Hub, a 550,000-square-foot, $665 million project in New Brunswick that will be home to the new Rutgers Translational Research facility and the Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, among other public and private entities. The two universities also previously held a monthly series of joint-scientific symposia.

About the NJEDA

The New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) serves as the State’s principal agency for driving economic growth. The NJEDA is committed to making New Jersey a national model for inclusive and sustainable economic development by focusing on key strategies to help build strong and dynamic communities, create good jobs for New Jersey residents, and provide pathways to a stronger and fairer economy. Through partnerships with a diverse range of stakeholders, the NJEDA creates and implements initiatives to enhance the economic vitality and quality of life in the State and strengthen New Jersey’s long-term economic competitiveness.

To learn more about state resources available to New Jersey entrepreneurs and early-stage companies, visit https://www.njeda.gov and follow @NewJerseyEDA on FacebookTwitterInstagram, and LinkedIn.

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