Tel Aviv University and ‘The Len Effect’

Amos Elad, Vice President for Resource Development at Tel Aviv University (TAU), updates on how they’re using Len Blavatnik’s financial contribution, and the impact it has not just for the university, but for Israel.

Upon arriving at Tel Aviv University (TAU) 8 years ago, Amos Elad quickly became aware of Len Blavatnik’s involvement with the university. At that time Len was supporting scholarships and the Blavatnik School of Computer Science. “It was clear to us that he had a deep commitment both to Israel and to science,” explained Elad. “Len’s investment in the Blavatnik School of Computer Science helped to make TAU one of the top schools in the world in algorithms and theoretical computer science.”

Building on this, Len Blavatnik proceeded to make an additional pledge and established the Blavatnik Initiative at TAU. This enabled the school to expand its fields of expertise into Cyber, Computer Science, Drug Development, Film and TV studies, and Young Faculty Recruitment.

This has led to significant successes for the university, for example:

  • TAU has become the leader in Israel for interdisciplinary cyber research, and its annual Cyberweek, attracting 12,000 participants, has become the second largest and most influential in the world
  • The Blavatnik Centre for Drug Discovery has established capabilities for drug research, synthesis and testing that hadn’t been available beforehand at any Israeli university, as well as services that promote academic-industrial collaboration
  • The Student Production Fund set up with Blavatnik support provided a substantial boost to our cinema students’ being able to create high-quality final projects that have gone on to win top prizes at international film festivals
  • Furthermore, all the areas supported by the Blavatnik Initiative have had a ripple effect on others at the university ranging from Artificial Intelligence to the current battle against the coronavirus. “At TAU we call it the ‘Len Effect’” says Elad.

“Through this work, enabled by Len’s support, we’re able to open doors to emerging fields of knowledge that will improve the lives of everyone. We’re helping our country by strengthening Israel’s scientific and technological contributions. We’re enabling talent to flourish by improving access to education for all groups, and so directly benefiting the economy and society,” explains Elad.

He adds, “I always say you must never be afraid to dream big. Len gets that, and his vision and spirit are motivating. His philanthropy also serves as a model for others to follow and donate in a meaningful way.”