One foot in two different worlds
Being a Milken Fellow is having one foot in two different worlds, in a very good sense. The fellowship sits on a unique sweet spot between the worlds of theory and practice. It is a rare opportunity to be engaged in high-level policy research, but to do so within the confines of the public service itself. This position is a win-win situation for both sides (a concept whose importance one learns a lot about during the fellowship). On the one hand, our research is informed by real-life insights gained as an insider in the public sector, while on the other hand, the research enriches actual decision-making with data and theory (which often times the day-to day busy reality in the Ministry unfortunately does not leave much room for).
This is the abstract importance of the existence of the Milken fellowship.
Personally, being a fellow allowed me to broaden my horizons from the university and think-tank spheres, where I spent the years prior to my fellowship. Just as an example, as a fellow with the Israeli Tax Authority, I had the chance to actually try to implement a policy paper I wrote during my graduate studies regarding innovative methods to tackle the shadow economy. Of course, I learned a lot about the intricacies of the process of moving from paper to policy. Another nice example from my own experience that exemplifies the benefits of the fellow position, came from my research project regarding tradable tax credits. When I started it seemed like a nice thought-experiment, interesting but not really on the current agenda. However, the plot got a twist, and towards the end of my fellowship, interest in the model by the leadership of the Ministry of Finance led to me presenting my research to the Director of the Tax Authority for consideration as a new policy initiative.
Finally, if one wants to have his feet in more than one place, he needs a strong base. So, last but not least, I would like to mention the support from my peers in the program and the Milken Innovation Center’s team. This support, both professional and personal, contributed much added-value (and fun :)) to the experience.
All in all, I feel that the Milken fellowship was for me the right thing at the right time. I learned a great deal about the government, about innovation in public policy, and also about myself. I also hope I contributed to the broad effort to create a more informed policy in Israel.
Gilad Be’ery Fellow of class 2015, Currently works at the Ministry of Economy