Since its inception 15 years ago, the Azrieli Fellows Program has fostered academic excellence by providing generous fellowships to exceptional scholars. The quarterly Azrieli Fellows Forums give these researchers the opportunity to connect with one another and expand their perspectives.
The Fellows Program has three tracks for academics at different stages of their research careers: the Graduate Studies Fellowship, the International Postdoctoral Fellowship and the Early Career Faculty Fellowship. Fields of study include education, exact sciences, life sciences, architecture, social sciences and humanities.
Nearly 60 new Fellows join the Fellows Program every year. Of those, 25 are Graduate Studies Fellows from one of eight academic institutions in Israel. The Program hosts a range of career-focused and social activities, including four annual meetings — known as Fellows Forums — where the Graduate Studies members present their research to the Fellows community. The Forums give them the opportunity to network, enhance their professional and social lives and learn about the research projects of their peers. Ultimately, the Forums promote multidisciplinary research and help broaden participants’ horizons beyond their specific area of study.
Fellows Program staff work with a steering committee of current Fellows to offer engaging day-long programming at the Forums. New Fellows are given the opportunity to present their research, get feedback and participate in a variety of activities such as academic “speed dating” and roundtables.
The Azrieli Fellows Program makes significant efforts to support Fellows’ professional and soft skills development. Before each Forum, participating speakers are trained to improve their presentation skills through a workshop and one-on-one sessions with a communications and storytelling professional. Each presentation is filmed, enabling speakers to receive feedback from the trainer. Speakers are also paired with professionals in their field (both within and outside of the Azrieli Fellows community), who view their presentations and provide academic input.
At the height of the pandemic, all forums took place over Zoom. However, during the past academic year, half of the Forums took place in person.
The feedback from the Fellows community about one of their latest forums has been extremely positive.
“I found it intellectually and psychologically invigorating,” says one participant, who described the forum as “a special, enriching experience.”
Another Fellow couldn’t choose just one favourite part of the day, noting: “I super enjoyed Kahoot and speed dating, and of course, the research presentations.”