Private Foundations

A few of the largest and most active private foundations in the cooperation with Israel are briefly introduced.

Volkswagen Foundation

The Volkswagen Foundation, which was founded in 1961, supports research cooperation between Israel and Germany in various ways. A first grant of then DM 2 million (EUR 1.02 million) went to the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot for material and personnel in the area of physics and physical biology. The Foundation also specifically advanced the establishment of new institutes: the Hebrew University Jerusalem received about DM 354,000 (EUR 181,000) to found a Geography institute in 1964. In 1970, the University of Tel Aviv benefited from a grant for an Institute for International Relations and an Institute for German History. In 2004, the Volkswagen Foundation financed the pilot phase of a German innovation center at the interdisciplinary Center Herzliya, designed as Germany's scientific platform in Israel's academic world.

The Foundation's activities in Israel also include the German-Israeli exchange of scientists. Up to 1968, within the framework of a fellowship exchange programme, the Foundation had already financed the stays of more than 80 German and Israeli scientists’ at respectively the Weizmann Institute of Science and in Germany.

As part of "Niedersächsisches Vorab” (Lower Saxony First), a research support programme of the Federal State Ministry of Science and Culture, the Volkswagen Foundation has supported Lower Saxony-Israeli projects’ annual proposals since 1977. Priority partners in Israel are the Hebrew University Jerusalem and the Technion in Haifa. Research topics relate to all scientific areas, but preferably from medicine, natural science, and engineering. For further programme information, see the principles of support for Lower Saxon-Israeli research proposals of the foundation.

Bertelsmann Foundation

The interaction and exchange of young leaders are central to the Bertelsmann Foundation’s Israel-based activities. The German-Israeli Young Leaders Exchange was created in 2000 to initiate and accompany the future-oriented dialogue and co-operation between young German and Israeli leaders. The Bertelsmann Foundation also cooperates with the German-Israeli future forum as part of the X-Change for Competence programme. “Connecting Societies. Developing Leadership”, is a new format to develop Israeli and German leadership groups’ the competence.

Fritz Thyssen Foundation

The Fritz Thyssen Foundation, which is based in Cologne, was founded in 1959 and was the Federal Republic of Germany’s first large private individual foundation for the support of science after the Second World War. The Foundation offers grants to and exchange programmes with Israeli institutions, supports Israeli researchers’ projects, and Israeli researchers’ participation in related activities in Germany. The focus is on the humanities. The Foundation supports the focus on the "Molecular Fundamentals of Parkinson's Disease" at the Hebrew University Jerusalem, and, at the Weizmann Institute of Science, a project on the influence of protein production on the somatosensory system.

Minna James Heineman Foundation

The Heineman Foundation annually allocates two scholarships for young researchers to attend a Max Planck institute and the Israeli Weizmann Institute for Science. These scholarships of EUR 80,000 each are for biology, medical and biomedical studies. In addition, the James Heineman Prize of EUR 60,000 is annually awarded to a young researcher at a Max Planck institute or Weizmann Institute of Science.

Hubert Burda Foundation

The Center for Innovative Communications, was founded in 1999 and is situated at the Ben-Gurion University (BGU) in Beer Sheva, is the center of the Hubert Burda Foundation's activity in Israel. The Center facilitates the intercultural and future-oriented exchange of media scientists, entrepreneurs, and politicians.

ZEIT Foundation

The Ebelin and Gerd Bucerius ZEIT Foundation in Hamburg focuses most of its research funding in Israel on the University of Haifa. The Institute for Research of Contemporary German History and Society which they established there, allows longer research stays for junior scientists and for guest professorships. Since 2008, the Manfred Lahnstein Scholarship has been offered annually to two or three graduates of all disciplines at the University of Haifa.