Sydney doctoral student awarded JNF Victoria Finkel scholarship

July 31, 2016 by J-Wire Staff
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University of Technology Sydney’s doctoral candidate Gavin Bonsen, is the first-ever recipient of JNF Australia’s Arava-Finkel Scholarship.

Gavin Bonsen

Gavin Bonsen

The inaugural scholarship was established by Chief Scientist of Australia Alan Finkel and his wife Elizabeth Finkel, Editor of Cosmos magazine, to further scientific knowledge in the new discipline of Compassionate Conservation, for which Australia and Israel are playing a vital role.

Alan and Elizabeth Finkel, are major supporters of JNF Australia, with a particular leaning toward environmental science and research projects. They have made significant contributions to JNF projects in Israel dealing with rehabilitation of aquatic plants in the Hula Valley, development of new varieties of Eucalypts, and urban stormwater harvesting and bio-filtration for aquifer recharge. They have a passion for developing the future of science and recognise the benefits that accrue to both countries of Israel and Australia working together.

Earlier this year,  Alan,  and Elizabeth, collaborated with JNF Victoria to establish the Arava-Finkel Scholarship. They wanted to create an opportunity for a deserving Australian post-graduate student to contribute to important conservation research in the Arava region.

Professor Alan Finkel

Professor Alan Finkel

As the successful candidate for JNF’s Finkel Scholarship, Gavin Bonsen, together with the Centre for Compassionate Conservation at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) will undertake doctoral research this September, on the International Wolf Project. This major initiative is set to develop strong connections between Israel, Australia and the USA, with much of that focus centred on the Arava Desert. Bonsen will be based in the Central Arava region and work with esteemed scientist Dr Oded Keynan, a leader in the field of compassionate conservation. The Scholarship covers lab costs, accommodation in Israel for the year, and publication of his research project.

Dr Elizabeth Finkel

Dr Elizabeth Finkel

“I would like to extend my gratitude to the JNF for awarding me with the Finkel Scholarship to the Arava Research and Development Centre. This funding will allow me to pursue my dreams in carrying out a PhD in a relatively new, but a personally very special field; compassionate conservation. I have always been very passionate about both conservation and animal welfare, and to be a part of a research collaboration like the International Wolf Project, is a dream come true to say the least. I also feel privileged to be part of a research team in Hazeva and to contribute to the establishment of an ecological research station in the Arava region. For years I have wanted to visit Israel, and am now extremely excited as I have the chance to live in the Arava, studying wolves and the importance of apex predators in ecosystems,” says Gavin Bonsen, Finkel Scholar.

“JNF is proud of its longstanding association with environmental research in general and the newly-established Finkel Scholarship in particular, encouraging the interchange of knowledge and ideas between Australia and Israel. While the scientific breakthroughs and applications are ever evolving, they are underpinned by the ancient Jewish concept of Tikkun Olam (“repairing the world”) to which JNF is committed, as well as the maintenance of strong academic ties between our two countries,” says Dan Springer CEO JNF Australia.

JNF has a number of opportunities for donors wishing to fund scientific research in Israel.


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