From computer mice to Kalahari meerkats

Dr Shay Rotics was awarded a two-year Blavatnik Postdoctoral Fellowship, given to distinguished Israeli PhD students working in science, technology, engineering and mathematics to study at the University of Cambridge.

Dr Rotics told us about his experience and how the Fellowship has helped his career:

“After studying a BA in computer science and working in the industry, I decided to pursue my passion for zoology and completed a PhD in animal behaviour at Tel Aviv University.

“The Blavatnik Fellowship enabled me to join the team of Professor Tim Clutton-Brock, a world leading expert in behavioural ecology of mammals, to study the behaviour of meerkats and mole rats in their natural habitat in the Kalahari. I introduced new research methods from my experience in computer science, using transmitters that check animal body-acceleration to study mole-rat behaviour in the wild for the first time.

“The Fellowship has also given me access to the University’s state-of-the-art Kalahari Desert research station for collecting data on my research field trips. This fellowship helped me learn to acclimatise to a new environment and gain new perspectives on different working methods and ways of thinking. My scientific career greatly benefitted from this experience, especially sharing expertise with my team members.

“I hope to bring my research back to Israel once I finish with my postdoctoral studies here at Cambridge. I believe that the contacts I have made and the expertise I gained will be invaluable to starting my own research group in animal cooperative breeding in Israel.”


The Blavatnik Postdoctoral Fellowship Programme is designed to further strengthen British-Israeli scientific relations. It enables Israel’s most outstanding young scientists to study with world-leading research groups in one of the world’s best universities.

Find out more about how you can apply and submit your application by 11 October 2020, by visiting our website.