Public Release: 

$30 million gift to Hebrew University's Edmond and Lily Safra Center for Brain Sciences

Grant launches second stage of the center's development

The Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Five years after its initial donation of $20 Million for the establishment of the Edmond and Lily Safra Center for Brain Sciences (ELSC) at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, the Edmond J. Safra Philanthropic Foundation has confirmed a further gift of $30 Million, for a total of $50 Million of the Center's $150 Million initial budget.

The Edmond J. Safra Foundation had pledged a lead donation of $50 Million for the creation of ELSC, an innovative center where diverse approaches to neuroscience would flourish by bringing together the world's leading researchers in their particular fields.

The new donation follows a progress report by a group of international neuroscience experts which concluded that "ELSC has a strong base and great potential."

President of the Hebrew University Prof. Menahem Ben-Sasson said, "We are deeply grateful to Mrs. Lily Safra and the Edmond J. Safra Philanthropic Foundation for continuing to support the next stage of pioneering brain research at the Hebrew University. Their leadership in making this historic initiative a reality will ensure that the Edmond and Lily Safra Center for Brain Sciences benefits humanity for generations to come."

Since 2009, ELSC has continued to grow and interest neuroscience researchers from around the world. ELSC began with twenty researchers from the Hebrew University, and has since grown with the recruitment of seven additional neuroscientists. Over the next five years, another eight world-class researchers will be hired to lead new labs to work at the cutting edge of the relationship between mathematical modeling and experimental science. In 2016, ELSC will move into its new 14,500 m2 home, a building designed by Sir Norman Foster.

Mrs. Lily Safra, Chairwoman of the Edmond J. Safra Foundation, and supporter of neuroscience research projects around the world said: "Unlocking the mysteries of the brain depends on supporting the world's best researchers in a premier setting that encourages effective collaboration. I am proud to be able to support such a noble cause, one that will improve the treatment and quality of life of so many patients suffering from illnesses of the brain."

ELSC Director Prof. Eilon Vaadia said: "The Edmond and Lily Safra Center for Brain Sciences was born five years ago, and has become known worldwide as a center of excellence. ELSC's mission is to develop a thriving interface between theoretical and experimental neuroscience across levels (cognition, behavior, neuronal circuits, cellular, and genetics-molecular), paving the way to innovative brain repair and augmentation. This mission has been materializing during the last five years, with new recruits, an innovative brain-research agenda and the consolidation of leading higher education and scientific achievements at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem."


About the Edmond and Lily Safra Center for Brain Sciences:

ELSC focuses on synergistic interactive studies, using theoretical, computational approaches intertwined with experimental studies at four levels. The first focus is on genes, molecules and nerve cells in the brain. The second, on research of structure and function of local neuronal circuits. The third focus is on researching information processing and communication between brain areas. And the fourth pursues how all these aspects work together to create human behavior and cognitive functions, including perception and action, emotions and creativity. ELSC is recruiting 15 new scientists, who will join established Hebrew University professors in undertaking this challenge.

About the Edmond J. Safra Philanthropic Foundation:

Edmond J. Safra, one of the 20th century's most accomplished bankers and a devoted philanthropist, established a major philanthropic foundation to ensure that individuals and organizations would continue to receive his assistance and encouragement for many years to come. Under the chairmanship of his beloved wife Lily, the Edmond J. Safra Philanthropic Foundation draws continuing inspiration from its founder's life and values, and supports hundreds of organizations in more than 40 countries around the world. Its work encompasses four areas: Education; Science and Medicine; Religion; and Humanitarian Assistance, Culture, and Social Welfare.

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