Israel increases its participation in the ESRF


On 27 August, the ESRF had the honour of welcoming Ruth Arnon, President of the Academy of Sciences and Humanities of Israel, and Noam Adir, Professor at the Technion Centre for Macromolecular Structure Research, who represents Israel in the ESRF Council.

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The distinguished guests visited the ESRF to sign an agreement renewing the links between Israel and the ESRF. The Academy has been a Scientific Associate of the ESRF since 1999, contributing 1% to the annual budget. This agreement has now been renewed for a fourth term of five years and the financial contribution raised by 0.5% to 1.5%. The short speeches at the signing ceremony given by Ruth Arnon, Noam Adir, Francesco Sette and Jean Moulin (Chair of the ESRF Council) recalled Israel’s long involvement in the ESRF and expressed the Israeli scientists’ appreciation of having access to this world-class facility.

In 2009, Ada Yonath from the Weizmann Institute received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for her studies on the structure and function of the Ribosome, in the frame of which she performed many experiments at the ESRF. Users from Israel have made numerous other scientific breakthroughs. Earlier this year, for example, a group from Technion solved the structure of vaterite, a natural form of calcium carbonate that has perplexed scientists for almost a century.

Today, over 40 Israeli research groups are using the ESRF with an excellent success rate for their proposals which helped to motivate the increase in the financial contribution. In line with overall ESRF use, about 50% of the proposals come from the strong Israeli community of protein crystallographers, and the remainder cover the other fields of synchrotron science.

Top image: Prof. Ruth Arnon, President of the Academy of Sciences and Humanities of Israel and Prof. Jean Moulin, Chairman of the ESRF Council at the signing ceremony.