2021 Blavatnik Awards for Young Scientists in Israel

On Sunday, August 1, 2021, the Blavatnik Awards for Young Scientists in Israel were conferred as part of a gala evening held at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, attended by over 100 guests. The Awards, a collaboration between the Blavatnik Family Foundation, the New York Academy of Sciences, and the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities, are one of the most significant awards granted to scientists at the early stages of their careers in Israel. This year’s Awards Ceremony jointly honored the 2020 and 2021 Blavatnik Awards in Israel Laureates.

The honorees, listed below, were each awarded US$100,000:

Physical Sciences & Engineering

Prof. Ido Kaminer, Technion – Israel Institute of Technology, 2021 Laureate

Prof. Guy Rothblum, Weizmann Institute of Science, 2020 Laureate (in absentia)


Prof. Rafal Klajn, Weizmann Institute of Science, 2021 Laureate

Prof. Emmanuel Levy, Weizmann Institute of Science, 2020 Laureate

Life Sciences

Prof. Yossi Yovel, Tel Aviv University, 2021 Laureate

Prof. Igor Ulitsky, Weizmann Institute of Science, 2020 Laureate (in absentia).

Israel’s newly-appointed President, Isaac Herzog, graced the ceremony with an appearance and a short speech. Herzog thanked Len Blavatnik for his philanthropy and support of scientific research, and praised scientists and their role in fighting COVID-19 in Israel, saying “Just as Pasteur’s experiments 150 years ago were the torch that illuminated the path to modern vaccines, the young scientists receiving the Blavatnik Awards tonight are illuminating the path to the future.”

Anchor of Israel TV’s Reshet 13, Dr. Hila Korach, served as Emcee. The President of the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities, Prof. Nili Cohen, gave opening remarks and introduced President Herzog. Afterward, New York Academy of Sciences President and CEO, Prof. Nicholas B. Dirks, spoke about the importance of science to help humanity tackle the challenges ahead, and congratulated the Laureates.

Kfir Damari, Co-Founder of SpaceIL, was the keynote speaker and inspired the audience by sharing the story behind the inception of the Beresheet spacecraft and the creation of SpaceIL. Equally inspirational were Israeli Singer Marina Maximillian, youth performer Lia Schapira, and dancer Liron Ozery, who gave notable performances during the evening.

VIP Guests at the event included:

  • Peter Thorén, Executive Vice President, Access Industries; Member of the Board of Governors, New York Academy of Sciences
  • Avi Fischer, Chairman & CEO of Clal Industries
  • Uri Sivan, President of Technion – Israel Institute of Technology
  • Alon Chen, President of Weizmann Institute of Science
  • Ariel Porat, President of Tel Aviv University
  • Robert John Aumann, 2005 Nobel Laureate in Economics
  • Roger Kornberg, 2006 Nobel Laureate in Chemistry
  • Ambassador Neil Wigan, United Kingdom Ambassador to Israel
  • Ami Appelbaum, Chairman of Israel Innovation Authority;
  • Yulia Berkovich Shamalov, former Israeli politician
  • Ron Levkowitz, Chairman of First International Bank of Israel
  • From right: Emmanuel Levy, Rafal Klajn, President Isaac Herzog, Ido Kaminer and Yossi Yovel
  • Israel President Isaac Herzog
  • Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities President Prof. Nili Cohen
  • Israeli Singer and Songwriter, Marina Maximillian and youth performer Lia Schapira
  • 2020 and 2021 Laureates of the Blavatnik Awards in Israel. (L to R) Ido Kaminer, Rafal Klajn, Emmanuel Levy and Yossi Yovel
  • The 2021 Toast to Science (L to R) Kfir Damari of SpaceIL, Hila Korach Emcee, Nili Cohen (IASH), Peter Thorén (BFF), Nick Dirks (NYAS)
  • Full-scale model of the Beresheet Spacecraft built by SpaceIL, on display at the Ceremony reception.
  • New York Academy of Sciences President, Prof. Nicholas B. Dirks
  • “Science of Tomorrow” Panel Discussion. (L to R) Moti Segev, Oded Rechavi, Erez Berg, Tamar Ziegler