IAM has occasionally reported on the low standing of social sciences in Israel. To recall, they have trended well below Western averages. The reasons for this state of affairs is clear: cutting edge approaches such as rational choice theory and advanced quantitative methods are hardly the norm. Indeed, the International Committee on Evolution of Political Science departments under Professor Thomas Risse came to the same conclusion. Though its findings were interpreted as a political witch hunt against the Department of Politics and Government at BGU, the Committee had a broader point to make. In a separate evaluation of political science at Hebrew University, the Committee noted the meager offerings in quantitative methods, prompting the hiring of additional (suitable) faculty.
The latest starting grants by the European Research Council (ERC) tell the same story. Out of the 34 grants given to Israeli academics, only two went to social scientists - an economist at the HUJ and the political scientist at the IDC, Eran Halperin, who specializes in conflict resolution. Halperin has used advanced methodology, publishing in the premier Journal of Conflict Resolution, the "bible" of quantitative research on conflict. Halperin's research is a far cry from the usual Israel-bashing "findings" of neo-Marxist, critical scholars.
The Israeli taxpayer has the right to expect excellence in higher education, as measured by globally recognized indices. As long as the social sciences harbor numerous self-described neo-Marxist, critical scholars, the taxpayers are subsidizing a political agenda masquerading as academics.
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: David Levi-Faur <email@example.com>
Date: Fri, Jul 19, 2013 at 7:04 PM
Subject: [SocSci-IL] ERC Results: Starting Grants
I am delighted to share the news about ERC starting grants results. Amazing success to Israel with 34 Israelis on the list, 32 of them working in Israeli institutions. In term of number for winners per capita Israelis are now far ahead of all other countries in the scheme. This is especially encouraging because it is a starting stage competition.
Two grants for the Social Sciences and the Humanities. The two colleagues are from the Hebrew University and the Interdisciplinary Center in Hertzelia. Namely, Moshe Shayo (Economics, Hebrew University and Eran Halperin (Poli-Sci, Hertzelia).
Congratulations to Moshe and Eran.
As in the past I'll publish cumulative statistics for all years and types of grants when data for the senior grants will be published.
See statistics and news below.