Making Connections UK
L-R: Dr. Sarah Teichmann (Wellcome Sanger Institute; University of Cambridge), Dr. Itay Tirosh (Weizmann Institute), Dr. Jasmin Fisher (Microsoft Research Cambridge; University of Cambridge), Dr. Robert Endres (Imperial College London), Prof. Bela Novak (University of Oxford), Prof. Uri Alon (Weizmann Institute), Dr. Mark van Rossum (University of Nottingham), Prof. Benny Chain (University College London), Prof. Elad Schneidman (Weizmann Institute).
In September, Weizmann UK hosted a two-day symposium on the Making Connections Programme, followed by a spectacular gala dinner attended by nearly 300 guests at the Science Museum in London. The event marked the tenth anniversary of the Programme, which funds scientific collaboration between Weizmann Institute scientists and their UK counterparts. Making Connections has been the major fundraising focus for Weizmann UK for 2018, with nearly $2 million raised to date.
The Making Connections initiative began in the United Kingdom in 2008, under the chairmanship of Lord Mitchell and thanks to the scientific vision of Prof. Benny Chain. It came about as a positive response to the increasing threat of academic boycotts of Israel. Thanks to the generosity of Weizmann UK supporters, Making Connections has enabled more than 100 researchers from the UK and Israel to pursue joint research. Grants of $100,000 over two years are awarded for each project, with the aim of stimulating substantial longer-term collaborations.
“Making Connections began life as the spark of an idea,” says Sheridan Gould, Weizmann UK Executive Director. “It is with enormous pride that we celebrate this milestone of what has grown into a flourishing program of collaboration between the Weizmann Institute and UK universities.”
Making sense of complexity
A systems biology symposium attended by about 150 scientists was hosted at University College London. The program was jointly organized by Prof. Benny Chain of the Institute for Immunity and Transplantation at University College London, Prof. Charles Swanton, head of the Cancer Evolution and Genome Instability Laboratory at the Francis Crick Institute, and Prof. Uri Alon of the Weizmann Institute's Department of Molecular Cell Biology.
Exploring the great unknowns
In the spirit of collaboration, the keynote speakers, Prof. Alon (pictured below at left) and Prof. Marcus du Sautoy of the University of Oxford (below at right), delivered a highly entertaining scientific and musical exploration of how scientists push the boundaries of knowledge.
A special tribute
After nearly 10 years as Chairman of Weizmann UK, Martin Paisner CBE is stepping down this year. Dr. Arabella Duffield will take on the role of Chair. Mr. Paisner was offered heartfelt thanks for his extraordinary commitment to the Weizmann Institute, which has spanned more than 40 years.
Martin Paisner CBE and Arabella Duffield