On Wednesday evening November 3, the fourth annual Eric and Sheila Samson Prime Minister's Prize for Innovation in Alternative Fuels for Transportation was awarded to two prominent American scientists for their innovative contributions to the field of science and technology. Hundreds of the world’s leading decision-makers and business leaders in the field of alternative fuels and smart mobility were gathered at the gala dinner in Tel Aviv, which took place as part of the two-day Fuel Choices Summit, sponsored by the Prime Minister’s Office, Keren Hayesod-United Israel Appeal, the Office of Science and Technology, the Israel Export Institute and the Ministry of Economy and Industry.
This initiative designed to encourage global innovation and scientific breakthroughs in the field of alternative transportation seeks to reduce global dependence on oil and the politics of oil.
R.to L. Dorothy and Leonard Sank, daughter and son-in-law of Eric and Sheila Samson; Eliezer (Moodi) Sandberg, World Chairman of Keren Hayesod UIA; Gadi Dror, Director of the East Region, Keren Hayesod-UIA.
The prestigious prize in the sum of one million dollars was shared by Prof. Mercouri Kanatzidis from Northwestern University and Argonne National Laboratories in Illinois and Prof. Gregory Stephanopoulos from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
The award was initiated in 2013 by major Keren Hayesod donors, legendary international philanthropists Eric and Sheila Samson from Tel Aviv and South Africa, together with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, as part of a NIS 1.5 billion Fuel Choices Initiative program that seeks to promote alternative fuels and means of transportation in Israel and abroad. This annual prize has become the most prominent award in the field alternative energy innovation.
Prof. Mercouri Kanatzidis from Northwestern University in Illinois.
Prof. Gregory Stephanopoulos from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Eric, World Keren Hayesod Life Campaign President and recipient of the Nadiv Award, and Sheila, the recipient of Keren Hayesod’s Eshet Chayil Woman of Valor Award and the Tiferet Lion of Judah, have launched major charitable undertakings to advance important national and international initiatives.
Eliezer (Moodi) Sandberg, World Chairman of Keren Hayesod UIA.
The Samsons, who were out of the country and unable to be at the event, were represented their daughter and son-in-law, Dorothy and Leonard Sank.
Dorothy and Leonard Sank, daughter and son-in-law of Eric and Sheila Samson.
Prime Minister Netanyahu, in a special message, thanked the Samsons and congratulated the award recipients, noting the pivotal role that Israel is playing in creating a safer, cleaner and more secure world. Through this ten-year program, we can change the world and change history, he said.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
"This is yet another dimension of our mission to be a 'light unto the nations', said Eliezer (Moodi) Sandberg, World Chairman of Keren Hayesod-UIA, which administers the prize together with the Prime Minister's Office.
L. to R.: Greg Masel, Director General Keren Hayesod UIA; Leonard Sank son-in-law of Eric and Sheila Samson.
Prof. Kanatzidis, received the award for his revolutionary discoveries in converting waste heat to electricity. Harvesting waste heat makes it possible to save energy in many thermal processes, including in automobiles, increasing significantly vehicle mileage and reducing carbon dioxide emissions, thereby increasing efficiency by 100%. In his acceptance remarks, he noted that Israel’s leadership in the field of sustainable energy and its support for science is an inspiration to so many other countries.
L. to R.: Leonard and Dorothy Sank, daughter and son-in-law of Eric and Sheila Samson; Eliezer (Moodi) Sandberg, World Chairman of Keren Hayesod UIA; Einat Sandberg.
Prof. Stephanopoulos, a pioneer in the field of metabolic engineering, has made seminal contributions to the engineering of microbes for biofuels production. He thanked the Prime Minister for his vision and the Samsons for their generosity in turning it into reality and for taking the world a step forward to better times.