Israel is taking a step to reverse the trend of academic professionals leaving the country to work abroad: the government just announced a $350 million plan to attract scientists through the creation of 30 academic excellence centers. The centers, which Education Minister Gideon Sa'ar calls "a shot in the arm to the higher education system," will be established over the next five years. From the newspaper Haaretz:
[Prof. Manuel Trajtenberg, with the Council for Higher Education] said: "We didn't want to just stem a leak, but to propose a plan that could raise the bar of scientific research and at the same time bring back Israeli scientists - not individually but collectively - to be integrated at these centers and consequently to universities.
"If we can bring 300 Israeli scientists to the centers, this will be considered a great success," Trajtenberg said, noting that between 1,000 and 3,000 Israeli researchers currently live abroad.
Israel's concern over "brain drain" is nothing new, and JTA ran an excellent story on the issue in 2008. It highlighted how young, top-tier professionals in numerous disciplines, including medicine, were leaving the country in growing numbers, and it noted how Israel's rate of academic "brain drain" was the highest in the world.