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GIF Board of Governors



Anja Karliczek Karliczek.jpg

Federal Minister of Education and Research, Germany

Born in Ibbenbüren on 29 April 1971
Roman Catholic, married, three children  
Goethe-Gymnasium school Ibbenbüren
Abitur school leaving certificate
Training as bank clerk 
Training in hotel management 
since 1994
Managerial work in Hotel Teutoburger Wald
2003 – 2008
Studies in business management at Fernuniversität Hagen, 
Diplom-Kauffrau degree
since 1998
Member of the CDU
since January 2011
Chair of the Tecklenburg CDU Association
2004 – 2014
Member of Tecklenburg Town Council
2009 – 2011
Deputy chair of the CDU political group on the Town Council 
2011 – 2014
Chair of the CDU political group on the Town Council 
since 2013
Member of the German Bundestag
Regular member of the Finance Committee  Substitute member of the Budget Committee
2017 – 2018
Secretary of the CDU/CSU parliamentary group in the Bundestag
since March 2018
Federal Minister of Education and Research 

Orit Farkash-HacohenFarkach.jpg
Minister of Innovation, Science and Technology, Israel

Former Minister of Tourism, Minister of Strategic’s affairs and a member of the National Security Cabinet of Israel. 

Minister Farkash-Hacohen is a graduate  of  the  Faculty  of  Law  at  the  Hebrew  University  of Jerusalem, and clerked for Supreme Court Justice Dalia Dorner. She began working for a leading law  firm  in  the  private  sector,  and  then  moved  to  the  public  sector  as  the head  of  litigation  at Israel's Antitrust Authority. 

In  2003,  Minister  Farkash-Hacohen  served  as  the  legal  advisor  to  the  Israel  Public  Utility Authority for Electricity and later was appointed as the first woman to serve as its chairperson and director-general, a position she held for five years (2011-2016). 

During her tenure as chairperson, she pushed for opening up Israel's energy production market to competition and encouraged the creation of a renewable energy industry. 

Until being elected as a Member of Knesset in 2019, Minister Farkash-Hacohen was a partner at a leading law firm in Israel, where she directed its energy and infrastructure practice. 

In 2006-2007, Minister Farkash-Hacohen attended Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government, earning her Master's Degree in public administration. She is  a  visiting  fellow  at  both  the  Consortium  for  Energy  Policy  Research  at  Harvard  and  at  the Harvard Electricity Policy Group (HEPG).

Acting Co-ChairpersonsThomas Rachel

Thomas Rachel

State Secretary, Federal Ministry of Education and Research

17 May 1962 Born in Düren; Protestant; married, one daughter
1982 Abitur at Städtisches Gymnasium am Wirteltor in Düren
1985 Fellowship from the Konrad Adenauer Foundation
1986 - 1987 Assistant to Matthias Wissmann, Member of the German Bundestag
1992 Magister Artium (M. A.) in Political Science, History and Public Law at the University of Bonn
1992 - 2004 Member of staff at the Steel Trade Association, Düsseldorf
since 1994 Member of the German Bundestag
Since 2000 Member of the Land Synod of the Protestant Church of the Rhineland
1998 - 2005 Spokesman on Education and Research Policy of the CDU/CSU Parliamentary Group
2003 - 2005 Spokesman for the CDU/CSU Parliamentary Group in the Bundestag's Study Commission on "Law and Ethics of Modern Medicine"

Shai-Lee Spigelman Shai-Lee Spigelman.jpg

Director General, Ministry of Innovation, Science and Technology, Israel 

After years in key positions in the Israeli High-Tech industry, Shai-Lee has chosen to use the experience and knowledge she had gained for the advancement of the Government and the public sector in Israel.

Shai-Lee currently serves as Director General of the Ministry of Science and Technology. As part of her role, she leads the formulation of the Government's national long-term strategy in science, technology and innovation and its implementation. This is achieved through investments in groundbreaking research and technologies, management of an extensive system of international scientific collaborations, integration underprivileged communities in STEM research activities and studies, and the creation of an interface between the Government and the Israeli innovation industry.

In her previous role as Head of the Israeli National Digital initiative, Shai-Lee led the formulation of the Government's National Digital Plan, and its implementation in collaboration with various government Ministries, in the areas of digital education, digital health, smart cities, data, digital inclusion and many other fields.

Shai-Lee has extensive experience in the High-Tech world, and has served in her last position before entering the Government as VP of Marketing at Microsoft's R&D Center in Israel and was jointly responsible for building relations with the start-up industry in Israel. She has also previously served as Director of Regulation and Corporate Affairs in Microsoft Israel.

Shai-Lee has a Bachelor's degree in Law from Tel Aviv University, and a Master's degree in Public Policy from Harvard University in the United States.

Governors (in alphabetical order)   ​

Prof. Yael Amitai Amitai
(Ben Gurion University) 

Born in Israel.
Board Certified Neurologist since 1985.
Education and Training
1971-1978      MD, Tel-Aviv University, Israel.
1979-1985      Neurology residency, Meir Hospital and Sheba Medical 
1986-1989      Postdoctoral research fellowship, Stanford University, CA
Professional Career
1990 -              Faculty member, Dept. of Physiology and Cell Biology, Ben-Gurion University.
                        Rank - Full Professor since 2010. 
2002-2006      Head, Dept. of Physiology, Ben-Gurion University.
2006                Visiting Professor, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT.
2007                Visiting Scientist, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA.
2008-2010       Chair, Zlotowski Center for Neurosciences, Ben-Gurion University.
2015-2018      Head, The Inter-Faculty Brain Sciences School, Ben-Gurion University.
Health-Care Services
1988-1999       Neurologist, Clalit Health Services.
2009-2010      Neurologist, Soroka Medical Center, Beer-Sheva.
2013-2015      Medical Advisor, Special Education Schools.
Amitai has served as a member and chaired numerous granting committees for agencies such as the Israel Science Foundation, the Bi-National Science Foundation (Israel – USA), the National Science Foundation (USA), the German Research Foundation, the international Human Brain Project and more.
Her research explores the cellular organization of the mammalian neocortex in health and disease. Her studies were published in top journals, and are cited by thousands of other researchers.

Prof. Noam Eliaz (Tel Aviv University)Noam Eliaz 2_cropped.jpg

Noam Eliaz is an 8th generation Israeli (born 1970). He is a full professor and the founder of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering (DMSE) at Tel Aviv University (TAU). He earned a B.Sc. degree in Materials Engineering, an M.B.A degree, and a Ph.D. degree (direct track) in Materials Engineering, all cum laude from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. Being in the Academic Reserve, he served as a Metallurgical Laboratory officer at the Israel Air Force. Prior to joining TAU in 2001, he was a Fulbright and Rothschild Fellow at MIT.


Eliaz’s research interests include corrosion, electrodeposition, additive manufacturing, coatings for dental and orthopedic implants, failure analysis, and novel applications of Bio-Ferrography. He has published approximately 470 scientific publications, including a textbook, three edited books, and over 130 journal articles. He is on the Editorial Boards of 6 international journals. His group members have garnered prestigious accolades such as the Israel Defense Prize, the Chief of Staff Medal of Appreciation, Fulbright post-doctoral scholarship, best presentations at international conferences, etc., and three of his past postdocs currently hold faculty positions in Israel, India, and China. The products of his research are being used in defense organizations and implant companies.
Prof. Eliaz founded the DMSE and its academic programs at TAU and served as its first Chairman. He also founded the four-faculty MSc program in Materials and Nanotechnologies, and served as Chairman of the 14th Israel Materials Engineering Conference. He was appointed as a member of the Academic Council of the Azrieli College of Engineering Jerusalem, as a member of the international evaluation committee for the accreditation of the academic programs in Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering at the University of Cyprus, as a member of the international committee that prepared ISO/ASTM standard 52922:2019 on additive manufacturing, and as Chairman of a Central Committee at The Standards Institution of Israel. He is currently an Adjunct Professor at Vellore Institute of Technology (VIT) in India, and the Chief Scientist of SGS Dental Implant. He served as Israel’s national delegate at both The International Society of Electrochemistry (ISE) and the International Corrosion Council (ICC).


His educational, scientific, and technological achievements have been recognized by numerous awards and honors, e.g. his election to The Israel Young Academy (2015), appointment to two “State of Science in Israel” committees of The Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities, Eshbach Visiting Professor at Northwestern University, Fellow of The Japanese Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS), an invitation to contribute an article to the 2017 edition of ASM Handbook, NACE International’s Herbert H. Uhlig, Technical Achievements, and Fellow awards, the T.P. Hoar Award for the best paper published in the journal Corrosion Science during 2001, and the Dan David scholarship for young researchers, etc. 

Prof. Ingrid Mertig (Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg)

MinDirig a.D. Maximilian MetzgerMetzger.jpg

Professional Career    
Since 01/2015                Retirement; Consultancy Activities 


08/2010 - 12/12014        Federal Ministry of Education and   
                                       Research  (BMBF), Deputy Director
                                       General for International Cooperation in
                                       Education and Research 


08/2009 - 07/2010          Deputy Director General for Information and Communication
                                       Technologies; New Services at the BMBF

06/2009 - 07/2009          Head of Division; Policy Issues of International Cooperation at the BMBF

2004 – 2008                   Secretary-General at CERN 

2001 – 2004                   Head of Division for European Research Organisations (CERN, ESO,
                                       ESRF, ILL. ETIN, DNW) at the BMBF
1996 – 2001                   Head of Division for Education, Science, Research, Technology and
                                       Nuclear Affairs at the Permanent Representation of Germany to the EU
                                       in Brussels

1980 – 1996                   Administrator and Head of Division in various divisions at the BMBF

1978 – 1980                   Judge at the Administration Court in Munich​

1977                              2nd State Examination in Law

1974 - 1975                   Research Assistant in History of Law at the Universities of Munich and Augsburg

1974                              1st State Examination in Law

1969 - 1974                   Studies in Law and Philosophy at the University of Munich



Prof. Dr. Miriam Rürup (Moses Mendelssohn Center for European Jewish Studies, University of Potsdam)Rürup_Miriam.JPG

Miriam Rürup is director of the Moses Mendelssohn Center for European Jewish Studies in Potsdam as of December 2020. From 2012 - 2020, Miriam was director of the Institute for the History of the German Jews in Hamburg. Before moving to Hamburg, she worked as a research fellow at the German Historical Institute in Washington, DC. Between 2006 and 2010 she was a postdoctoral fellow / assistant professor at the history department of Göttingen University, working on her still ongoing research project, a history of statelessness in Europe after WWI and WWII and the interaction between the supranational discourse on how to deal with statelessness and the every-day experience of statelessness itself. In 2007 she published her doctorate on the history of German-Jewish Student Fraternities in Imperial and Weimar Germany (title: "Ehrensache" with Wallstein-Verlag, Göttingen). Miriam studied history, sociology and cultural anthropology at the universities of Göttingen, Tel Aviv and Berlin. Formerly she worked for the Foundation "Topography of Terror" in Berlin, the Rosenzweig Center in Jerusalem, the Simon Dubnow Institute in Leipzig. 

Prof. Yehuda Skornick (Tel Aviv University )Prof. Brigitte Röder 5805_1.jpg

Born in Israel
Board certified surgeon since 1978.

Served in IDF as chief surgeon of The Army Frontline Field Hospital.

Basic Research at the Membrane department of the Weitzman Institute of Science (1978-1980).

Visiting Scientist at the Surgery Branch, National Cancer Institute, the National Institute of Health (NIH) Bethesda Maryland, USA 1980-1982, 1988. 

Full Professor of Surgery at the Faculty of Medicine, Tel Aviv University.
Served as the head of Surgery Department at the Tel Aviv Medical Center (Ichilov Hospital).

Former President of Magen David Adom (MDA), the Israel Pre-hospital emergency services. Currently, board member of the friend organization of MDA.
Active in the “Advanced Surgery Group”, Assuta Medical Center, Tel Aviv.
Served as the Chairman of the Committee for the Early Cancer Detection at the Israel Cancer Association.

Served as member in the Research committee of the Israel Cancer Association and at the Research committee of the Israel Ministry of Health.

Member of the American Society of Surgical Oncology.

Member of the Board of Trustees, The Bar-Ilan University Ramat Gan.

Board member of the Israel Opera.

Board member of the Israel Culture and Art Council and chairman of its Music Section committee.

Publications: More than 150 original articles published in international professional journals and as chapters in books.

Active participation  in more than 400 international scientific conferences.


GIF DirectorEric Zimmerman.jpg

Dr. Eric Zimmerman

Prior to his appointment as GIF Director, Eric spent 27 years in university research management: 13 years at the Interdisciplinary Center (IDC), Herzliya and nearly 14 years at Bar-Ilan University, Ramat Gan.


Working together with the President and Provost of IDC Herzliya, Dr Zimmerman established and directed the Academic Affairs, International Engagement and Research Support Offices. His portfolio included responsibility for all competitive research and program grants and the protection of the institutional intellectual property; developing global partnerships and managing all institutional internationalization agreements, including student exchange, summer and study abroad programs; managing the development of double degree MA-level programs; and the development of joint doctoral programs.


Dr Zimmerman has been a member of several national and international committees, most recently a Higher Education Reform Expert (HERE) of the European Commission, and was a past leader of a task group within the largest European professional association of research administrators (EARMA), a founding board member of a European-based association on research information management (euroCRIS), the force behind the development of the Israel National Database of Academic Research and Development (INDARD), and party to other national and global initiatives. He regularly writes and lectures on internationalization, entrepreneurship education, research management, academic productivity and Israel, and advises organizations on information management and work flow practices as they effect academics and administrators at institutions of higher education. Finally, Dr Zimmerman is an experienced grants proposal reviewer.


Eric, born in New York City in 1962, is married to Sharon (an economist and European projects manager), has five grown children and five grandchildren.



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