(photo credit: Thinkstock/Imagebank)
The government is opening four special research centers next week as part of a
NIS 1.35 billion project meant to fight Israel’s “brain drain” and boost the
country’s status as a center of research.
The government said in a press
release Wednesday that the Israeli Centers of Research Excellence (I-CORE)
project was devised because of the need to maintain and boost Israel’s global
standing at the forefront of research breakthroughs and keep top researchers in
They added that they expect a total of 20 such institutions
to open across the country in the next five years, including centers focusing on
life sciences, humanities, social sciences, medicine, education and law, exact
sciences and engineering.
On Tuesday, the first four of these
institutions will open, and each will be centered at different universities.
These include the Advanced Topics in Computer Science Center at Tel Aviv
University, the Advanced Approaches in Cognitive Sciences Center at the Weizmann
Institute of Science, the Renewable, Sustainable, and Alternative Sources of
Energy Center at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, and a center
devoted to the study of the molecular medicine at the Hebrew University of
One-third of the project’s funding is coming from the
government, one-third from participating research institutions and one-third
from philanthropic funds, the government said on Thursday.
beginning of the 2010 school year, Education Minister Gideon Sa’ar and Prof.
Manuel Trajtenberg, chairman of the ICORE Planning and Budgeting Committee,
unveiled the plan to build the research centers, as part of the ministry’s
multiyear plan for higher education reform.
Ahead of the launch of the
first four research institutions, Trajtenberg said the program will “boost
Israel’s research capabilities and enable our researchers to continue leading
the way to discoveries that will impact the lives of people
The government has stated that one of the central goals of
the program is to encourage Israeli academics that have left the country to work
or study abroad to return to Israeli research institutions. The directors of the
centers will be given a green light to recruit Israeli academics abroad, in
order to build up their research teams.
When the project was first
announced, Sa’ar called reversing Israel’s “brain-drain” “a national priority
that will strengthen Israeli academia.”