The Israel Ministry of Innovation, Science, and Technology (MOST), the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) in Austria and Tel Aviv University (TAU) have announced the establishment of a new National Research Center for Applied Systems Analysis, to be known as the Israeli Applied Systems Analysis Center of Excellence or IASACE for short. IASACE will focus on the topic of sustainability and will cooperate with research institutes worldwide, especially with IIASA, aiming to connect research teams from different institutions, foster research innovation, and serve as a hub for science-based policymaking at the national and local government levels. Israel has recently renewed its IIASA membership for the next five years, and the institute will use IIASA’s existing integrated assessment models and research framework to localize it for the unique conditions of the Israeli economy.
Israel’s Ministry of Innovation, Science and Technology will fund the institute at NIS 3 million for its first five years, with an additional NIS 3 million matched by TAU and other external resources over this period, after which the center will become an independent national research center.
A multi-disciplinary team of researchers will be leading the four main themes of the center, including Prof. Asher Tishler (energy and climate), Prof. Hadas Mamane (Technology and Innovation), Prof. Itzik Sasson (Demography and Resiliency) and Dr. Vered Blass (Resource Management). The research topics will include a variety of disciplines such as water, energy, climate change, circular economy, transportation systems, agriculture and food systems, health, bio-diversity, economics, demography, and policymaking. The prioritized research areas of IASACE will be aligned, where appropriate, to the strategic research areas of IIASA. Research areas at IIASA include the following programs: (i) Economic Frontiers; (ii) Biodiversity and Natural Resources; (iii) Advancing Systems Analysis; (iv) Energy, Climate and Environment; (v) Population and Just Societies; and (vi) Strategic Initiatives.
Hilla Haddad Chmelnik, Director General of the Ministry of Innovation, Science and Technology, said: “The establishment of the Israeli Applied Systems Analysis Center of Excellence is of major significance to Israel. We are honored to fund the center, thereby driving Israeli research forward and maintaining its long-held status as a ‘startup nation’ and as an ideal ecosystem for scientific endeavors. IIASA is a world-renowned organization whose trust in our brilliant researchers is evident in their decision to invest in Tel Aviv University researchers and Israel at large. Furthermore, this decision reaffirms Israel’s potential for leadership in some of the most pressing fields of science today. The center will be a force multiplier to Israeli research in terms of its funding, the extent of its research and its subsequent contribution. That is a huge step in bringing Israeli research to the fore and strengthening international collaborations, all at the same time.”
Prof. Itai Sened, the head of the new center, added: “The aim of the Israeli Applied Systems Analysis Center of Excellence is to be a focal point for applied systems analysis to serve the Israeli academia, government and industry in developing and applying integrated models into decision making. Applied systems analysis is a new research theme in Israel, and we hope to make Israel a world leader in the field by fostering international collaboration with the next generation of researchers.”
Dr. Vered Blass, who led the proposal team, added: “If Israel is to meet its goals for preparing for climate change risks, reducing greenhouse emissions and air pollution while maximizing the efficiency of natural resources use and their associated environmental impacts, it will need to adopt mid to long term planning and policy practices, taking amongst other innovative planning methodologies, a systems analysis approach. The center will bring together the academic, governmental and private sectors to work on the most pressing challenges facing humanity at this point. Our goal is to find the most sustainable and innovative ways to reduce our ecological footprint while strengthening our natural, economic and social ecosystems.”