Research

The United States-Israel Binational Science Foundation (BSF) utilizes a distinctive approach to enrich scientific cooperation between the United States and Israel. An advisory panel of leading Israeli and American scientists selects the projects. All projects must be innovative and demonstrate real cooperation, promote peaceful purposes, and reflect only cutting-edge science of the highest quality.

Review Process
Research proposals are only funded after a thorough peer review process as rigorous as those of the National Institutes of Health or the National Science Foundation. Review Panels are established, each headed by a chair (a scientist who is recognized as an authority in his/her field) and several members – at least one of which is from the United States.  Panel members are selected jointly by the BSF professional staff and panel chair, are internationally recognized and must specialize in the specific field covered by the panel. Each panel is assigned 25-40 proposals, handled by 5-8 science advisors from that field.  For each application the potential reviewers are scrutinized for possible conflict of interest.  All the reviews are also read by either the Assistant Executive Director or the Executive Director of the BSF.  Generally, four external reviews are sought, unless three praised the application while one was very critical, in which case a fifth review is sought.

As the external review process concludes, science advisors write summaries and recommendations for the proposals that were assigned to them.  In preparation for the final panel meeting, all the applications and reviews are made accessible to all members.  Also researched is the joint publication record of applicants to learn their past BSF grant history.  Decisions are made in the final panel meetings, which are held in Israel and in which the American advisors also participate.

Research Priorities
The BSF is much more than a foundation. It could be considered a virtual university featuring collaboration between the finest minds and producing important outcomes that advance scientific knowledge worldwide. Read more about our research priorities.