Hebrew U. Receives Mega Research Grant

The Edmond J. Safra Philanthropic Foundation has made a lead donation of $50 million  – the largest donation ever given to establish a research center in Israel – to Hebrew University for the establishment of an institute for brain research.

The new $130 million Edmond and Lily Safra Center for Brain Sciences will be dedicated next week during the meeting of Hebrew University’s Board of Governors.

The decision to invest in a center for brain sciences is based on the findings of an international monitoring committee, whose members include two Nobel laureates, Prof. Bert Sakmann and Prof. Richard Axel. The committee determined that the level of research in this field [at Hebrew University] is among the highest in the world and that a newly equipped center will enable the university to be ranked among the top five in the world.

According to the acting director of the Center, Prof. Eilon Vaadia, “With an increasing aging population and a rise in the prevalence of neurological disorders in old age, brain research should be a key issue in modern society. In another 15 years or so, we as a society won’t have the financial capacity to support all the health problems for the growing aging population, and so we must quickly find solutions.”

Mrs. Lily Safra, president of the Edmond J. Safra Foundation, said, “Understanding the brain is the premier challenge of our time, I am confident that the Hebrew University’s investigators and students will make a profound impact. My husband Edmond would have been so proud that his name is linked to an initiative that brings new hope to families around the world suffering from Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and other devastating brain diseases.”

The Israel Museum also recently announced a $12-million gift from the Edmond J. Safra Philanthropic Foundation for the renovation, reinstallation, and endowment of its newly renamed Edmond and Lily Safra Fine Arts Wing.