The Minerva-Weizmann-Programme was the first scientific programme between Germany and Israel. For its implementation, the Minerva Stiftung was founded to maintain and cultivate the scientific exchange between the two countries.
Thanks to the financial support provided by the German Federal Ministry for Education and Research, the first scientific contacts between Germany and Israel have developed into a comprehensive programme that finances excellent individual and group projects at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot.
Initiated by Gerhard Schmidt, Amos de Shalit (both from the Weizmann Institute) and Otto Hahn (the then President of the Max Planck Society) in 1959, the first programme agreement between the Minerva Stiftung and the Weizmann Institute was signed in 1964 and provided funding for more than nineteen projects and a total of fifty-two scientists and researchers. Since then, the agreement has been renewed every year and secured funding for roughly 2,000 projects in chemistry, physics, mathematics, and the biosciences. Today approximately eighty projects are supported with a total of € 3,580,000 annually. Many of these undertakings are based on close cooperation with German scientists and serve frequently as springboards for new projects and partnerships.
Professor Marina Rodnina from the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry chairs the Minerva Weizmann Committee which meets once a year for selecting the projects to be funded.