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Blavatnik to give $5 million to Tel Aviv U.

The Blavatnik Family Foundation will give Tel Aviv University $5 million to help build the school’s computer science program.

The foundation of Russian-born American industrialist Len Blavatnik will fund an extensive expansion of the school’s interdisciplinary research in computer science, award multiple graduate fellowships and create new positions for gifted young faculty, according to a release from Tel Aviv U.

The University will rename its computer science program The Blavatnik School of Computer Science.

Blavatnik, the CEO of Access Industries, ranked number 45 on the 2007 Forbes 400 list, with an estimated wealth of $7.3 billion.

Here’s the press release.

Blavatnik Family Foundation Donates $5 Million to
Expand Computer Science at Tel Aviv University

Gift Will Promote Cutting-Edge Discovery, Augment Faculty,
and Strengthen University’s International Impact on Industry

Tel Aviv – Tel Aviv University’s computer science graduates, already the most heavily recruited in Israel, just gained an even bigger edge in the global business world.

A $5 million gift awarded on June 4th by The Blavatnik Family Foundation, headed by American industrialist Len Blavatnik, creates a wellspring for expanding the scope of Tel Aviv University’s interdisciplinary research, funds additional positions for gifted young faculty, adds multiple scholarships and fellowships, and fosters a partnership of TAU scholarship with local and international industry.

In recognition, the university’s School of Computer Science will be known as The Blavatnik School of Computer Science.

The Blavatnik Family Foundation has an impressive history of underwriting scholarships to advance science at Tel Aviv University, and to support other educational programs in Israel and globally. Mr. Blavatnik is the founder and Chairman of Access Industries, a U.S.-based industrial group with investments in three sectors: natural resources and chemicals, media and telecommunications, and real estate.

A Giant Leap For Israeli Scholarship

Tel Aviv University’s computer scientists are already recognized worldwide for their excellence and ingenuity. They lead R&D teams at multinational corporations, including Google and CheckPoint, and continue to create innovative technology – such as computer-assisted pharmaceutical drug design – with substantial implications for the future.

Tel Aviv University President Zvi Galil, a widely respected theoretical computer scientist and former chair of the university’s Computer Science Department, says “the donation from The Blavatnik Family Foundation not only demonstrates an extraordinary commitment to Israel’s leading center of higher learning, it is an important commitment to reversing ‘brain drain’ in Israeli academia – standing it on its head to create, instead, a ‘brain gain’.”

Prof. Haim J. Wolfson, Dean of the Raymond and Beverly Sackler Faculty of Exact Sciences, says the donation is destined to strengthen Israel in many ways. “Our scientists and graduates are key players in the impressively growing Israeli high-tech based economy,” Prof. Wolfson says. “Computer scientists at Tel Aviv University are pushing forward the frontiers of every imaginable discipline, including medicine. While nobody knows exactly where computer science will take us, the generous spirit and support of The Blavatnik Family Foundation will play a large part in shaping the future.”

Investing in “Brainpower”

A portion of the gift will be used to support the immediate recruitment of new faculty members, and will fund approximately 15 doctoral fellowships. The remaining portion of the gift will endow additional graduate fellowships, create opportunities to widen the scope of research, and allow new joint-study tracks in emergent interdisciplinary areas such as quantum computation and bioinformatics.

“This very generous gift will help us maintain our leadership position in research and education,” says Prof. Amos Fiat, head of The Blavatnik School of Computer Science. “The new funding will allow us to double the number of student fellowships, and will create important opportunities for great research.”

American Friends of Tel Aviv University supports Israel’s largest and most comprehensive center of higher learning. It is ranked among the world’s top 100 universities in science, biomedical studies, and social science, and rated one of the world’s top 200 universities overall. Internationally recognized for the scope and groundbreaking nature of its research programs, Tel Aviv University consistently produces work with profound implications for the future.

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