Bloomfield International Fellows Bolster TAU’s Global Impact
Over the last three years, the Bloomfield International Post-Doctoral Fellowship Fund helped TAU recruit 15 outstanding post-doctoral fellows from across the world. Now, to extend the Program’s global reach and impact, TAU Governor Harry J.F. Bloomfield Q.C., President of the Eldee Foundation, expanded it to fund 10 researchers per year, for a duration of five years.
To celebrate the Program’s growth, TAU hosted a reception on campus on June 7, wherein the Bloomfield Fellows and the Program’s benefactor had the opportunity to meet and share ideas.
Enhancing Global Standing
“What you do gives international recognition to the University,” said Bloomfield, addressing the researchers at the reception. “You develop TAU’s international scientific network and avenues for future academic cooperation and strengthen its international reputation and impact.”
Boosting the number of post-doctoral positions on campus has been one of TAU’s organizational priorities, since they provide great opportunities for the University’s faculties to grow academic ties internationally. Post-doctoral fellows bring with them experience that enables the University to develop new approaches, tap into emerging fields and enrich existing research practices.
The number of post-doc fellows at TAU has risen 25 percent over the last five years to 477 fellows in 2022.
“TAU has successfully positioned itself in the global academic arena as Israel’s premier academic destination and partner,” TAU President Prof. Ariel Porat said. “We are confident that our international post-doc researchers, the Bloomfield Fellows among them, will help to further solidify TAU’s spot as a global leader in academic research.” Porat thanked Bloomfield for his continued support in producing “new generations of goodwill ambassadors for TAU and Israel and for enhancing the University’s global standing.”
This year’s cohort of 10 Bloomfield candidates consists of approximately half Israeli and half international fellows. Their research spans a wide variety of fields, from electrical engineering and mathematics to social sciences, humanities, arts and law—but for all of them the Bloomfield Fellowship provides much-needed support at the current stage in their academic careers.
Bloomfield Fellows Constantinos Kitsos (left) and Lior Birger meeting with Harry Bloomfield (Photo: Rafael Ben-Menashe)
“The post-doc is a critical phase for scholars, a phase when women usually drop out. And not only women—anyone who has obligations to support a family finds themselves strained to continue academic research in the absence of additional support,” said Yael Assor, a Bloomfield Fellow in anthropology. “Programs such as the Bloomfield Program allow us to concentrate on our research, taking away some of the financial burden and making progress possible.”
Assor holds a PhD in anthropology from UCLA. As a post-doc fellow at TAU’s Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics, she researches the ethical assumptions underlying the notion of "medical effectiveness", a key determinant of healthcare resource allocation worldwide. Like most of her fellow post-doc researchers, she hopes to secure a faculty position at a top university and combine her passions for teaching and research.
“Fellowship funds for post-doctoral positions are crucial in helping us stay in academia and produce the level of research and publications needed to eventually find an academic job,” Assor concluded.
Platform for Change
Another important aspect of expanding programs for post-doc researchers is networking, the researchers said. “Programs such as these create a social structure for researchers to connect with each other, share ideas and academic know-hows, which is equally important,” said Tom Kohavi, a Bloomfield Fellow in law. “Post-docs are usually pretty isolated, working only in contact with their academic advisor, and therefore have limited networking opportunities.”
Kohavi researches the relationship between private law and social justice and hopes to eventually pave the way for a reform in that area of legislature. He said that climbing the academic ladder to a faculty position is often a confusing and unstructured process, but bringing the researchers together helps address these problems. He expressed hopes that “TAU will become a shining light in academia for post-doctoral researchers.”
The Program's expansion was welcomed by Tel Aviv University Canada. “With this commitment, Harry Bloomfield and the Eldee Foundation continue a long family tradition of involvement and support of Israeli and local organizations, particularly in advancing education and promoting the state of Israel,” said Ariela Cotler, the organization's National President.
- By Sveta Raskin