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Israel to set up National Center for Mediterranean Sea Research, headed by U of Haifa

Israel's Planning and Budgeting Committee (PBC; a sub-committee of the Council for Higher Education) adopted the recommendation of a special Israel Academy of Sciences committee and announced that a consortium headed by the University of Haifa has won a tender to establish Israel's national Center for Mediterranean Sea Research. The consortium consists of eight research institutions (six of which are universities): The University of Haifa; the Technion; the Hebrew University of Jerusalem; Bar-Ilan University; Ben-Gurion University of the Negev; the Weizmann Institute of Science; the Geological Survey of Israel; and the Israel Oceanographic and Limnological Research center. The cost of establishing the new Center for Mediterranean Sea Research is estimated at over 60 million shekels, or $15 million, for its first three years of activity, and it will focus on areas such as gas extraction, marine infrastructure, desalination, and more.

Heading the center will be Prof. Zvi Ben-Avraham, Founding Director of the University of Haifa's Leon H. Charney School of Marine Sciences, which was founded at the University five years ago, recognizing that Israel's primary field of research over the coming years will be focused on the sea. Recently discovered gas and other resources in the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Haifa and Hadera reinforced the fact that Israel's academia requires skillfully trained researchers and scientists in the field to understand and guide the implications of such developments.

The initiative for a national Center for Mediterranean Sea Research was conceived in response to a special report presented by the Israel Academy of Sciences that revealed a worrying academic standard in terms of marine research in Israel. The PBC took action and drew up the tender that the University of Haifa-led consortium has now won.

President of the University of Haifa, Prof. Aaron Ben-Ze'ev: "I am proud of the PBC's choice. We already recognized the Mediterranean Sea's potential years earlier and invested extensive resources to establish our Leon H. Charney School of Marine Sciences. The new national Center for Mediterranean Sea Research will introduce the University of Haifa and Israel as a key partner and contributor to the international marine research arena. The Mediterranean Sea," Prof. Ben-Ze'ev added, "is a strategic asset for Israel and by developing it the country will achieve economic independence. Forming Israel's coastline to the west, the Mediterranean possesses magnificent resources, a developed infrastructure, economic promise, and international trade potential. The resources hidden beneath the surface can significantly strengthen Israel's energy economy, can contribute to closing social gaps, and can ultimately increase Israel's political strength at home and abroad."


Contact: Rachel Feldman
University of Haifa

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Israel to set up National Center for Mediterranean Sea Research, headed by U of Haifa
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