The idea of an Institute for Advanced Studies at Tel Aviv University was born in the mid-1970's, in a conversation between Prof. Yuval Ne'eman, TAU's president at the time, and Raymond and Beverly Sackler.
As Prof. Ne'eman recalled at the Institute inauguration, "It was barely a year since Raymond, Mortimer and Arthur Sackler had made their donation to the Medical School, thus starting their work in this University. Now Raymond asked me whether an institute for advanced study would be a useful addition some day."
Over time, the concept of the Institute emerged as a University-wide body, which would select candidates from those recommended by faculty members, and host them at the University as Institute Fellows. The Institute would provide Fellows with maximum flexibility to carry out their research without any formal responsibilities and they would be free to participate in academic activities as they saw fit. The proposal was enthusiastically approved by Senate members, following which the Mortimer and Raymond Sackler Institute of Advanced Studies was inaugurated in 1979.