Life & Culture

Aliyah helped me to new career heights


Young people in the UK are not given the same opportunities in science and entrepreneurship as Israelis, according to Martine Bernstein, a scientist in Tel Aviv.

The former JFS student, who made aliyah in 2011 from Radlett in Hertfordshire, said the UK market does little to encourage the fusion of academia and business. Instead, many are pushed into mainstream education and streamlined employment.

“I don’t think I would have had the same opportunities if I’d stayed in the UK,” she said.

“I felt this amazing motivation, energy and vibe in Tel Aviv. Everyone I spoke to was trying to be their own innovator and push their ideas through. I found that entrepreneurial spirit infectious. I just didn’t get that in England.

“London is more focused on larger corporate businesses. Of course there are start-ups, but they are more easily accessible in Israel.”

The 26-year-old graduated from Birmingham University and Imperial College and now works at biotech start-up Genome Compiler. She said: “Working in a start-up was the perfect way of applying my scientific knowledge to a business context.

“I want to be a driver of innovation and feel that is what we are achieving here. Maybe it’s because of the army, but everyone is so driven in Israel.

“I love the freeness of communication and the willingness of people in the company to hear my ideas and take me seriously.

“It’s easier to learn different skills. Company heads listen to my ideas; what are the chances of that happening anywhere else?”

With the billion-pound biochemical industry attracting top foreign investment, she added: “Synthetic biology can only progress if venture capitalists continue to invest money in these industries.”

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