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Posts Tagged ‘Center of excellence’

Reporter: Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN

The Hebrew University Leads in I-CORE Participation in Israel

 

Hebrew University faculty lead five I-CORE centers, and hold scientific management positions in five

Hebrew University leads a new generation of scientific and academic excellence. I-CORE – the Israeli Center for Research Excellence is a new initiative designed by the government of Israel to establish leading research centers specializing in crucial scientific and medical pursuits as well as studies of the humanities. I-CORE will strengthen Israel’s academic and research output in the long-term and sustain Israel’s stature worldwide.

 

The Israeli government has chosen The Hebrew University of Jerusalem to establish and lead five of the 16 Centers of Excellence in the innovative I-CORE program. Hebrew University faculty also hold scientific management positions in five additional I-CORE centers. The Technion, Weizmann Institute of Science, and Tel Aviv University each lead three centers, while the University of Haifa and Ben Gurion University each lead one.

 

Molecular Basis of Human Diseases

Director: Professor Howard Cedar, Molecular Biology, The Hebrew University.

Engage in the study of genetic regulation of common complex human diseases. By understanding these diseases better, this I-CORE hopes to find better approaches to prevent and treat them.

 

“Da’at Hamakom”: Center for the Study of Cultures of Place in the Modern Jewish World.

Director: Professor Richard Cohen, Jewish History and Contemporary Jewry, The Hebrew University.

This I-CORE seeks to address notions of Jewish identity, creativity, tradition, and forms of attachment and belonging in the modern era.

 

The Center for Empirical Studies of Decision Making and the Law

Director: Professor Ilana Ritov, School of Education, The Hebrew University

The I-CORE’s goals are to conduct studies that examine fundamental issues of the basic-science of law and decision-making, and to address important implications for concrete policy debates.

 

Astrophysics: from the Big Bang to Planets

Director: Professor Piran Tsvi, Racah Institute for Physics, The Hebrew University

 

The role of chromatin, RNA modifications and non-coding RNAs in regulation of gene expression in development and disease

Director: Professor Friedman Nir, School of Computer Science and Engineering, The Hebrew University

 

Israel Multidisciplinary Center for Mass Trauma Research: From Basic Research to Real Life Application

Scientific Management Member: Professor Hermona Soreq, Biological Chemistry, The Hebrew University

 

Center for the Study of Conversion and Inter-Religious Encounters

Scientific Management Member: Dr. Ram Ben-Shalom, Jewish History, The Hebrew University

 

The Quantum Universe

Scientific Management Member: Professor Rabinovici Eliezer, Racah Institute of Physics, The Hebrew University

The anticipated data from particle physics, gravity, cosmology, astrophysics and strings, is the basis of research of this center, and may well lead to major breakthroughs in the study of fundamental physics at all length scales.

 

Comprehensive understanding and modeling of plant responses to multiple abrupt abiotic stresses and to prolonged climatic changes

Scientific Management Member: Professor Weiss David, Robert H. Smith Institute for Plant Sciences and Genetics in Agriculture, The Hebrew University

The I-CORE will contribute to a more holistic view of a plant in a changing environment, will boost research of fundamental scientific questions, and will impact on the local Ag-Biotech industries towards improved plant robustness under changing climate.

Center of Excellence in Algorithms

Scientific Management Member: Professor Danny Dolev, School of Computer Science and Engineering, The Hebrew University

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The I-CORE Program in Israel

http://www.icoregroup.com/

The Israeli Centers for Research Excellence (I-CORE) is an initiative designed by the Planning and Budgeting Committee (PBC) and the Government of Israel. The initiative is part of the Higher Education multi-year Reform Plan, which gradually establishes leading research centers specializing in a range of disciplines. The Centers of Excellence and the program’s vision are aimed at fundamentally strengthening the long term positioning of Israel’s academic research and its stature among leading researchers in Israel and abroad.

 

I-CORE was endorsed by the Government of Israel and adopted by Israel’s Council of Higher Education in March 2010 (see The government decision here).

 

The program is jointly run by the PBC and the Israeli Science Foundation (ISF).

 

The I-CORE Steering Committee is in charge of designing and approving the program’s principles and modus operandi, the selection of research topics, the reviewing of the evaluation committees’ reports and declaration of the groups selected to establish the I-COREs.
The International Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC) of the program advises to the Steering Committee on the various issues, supplying it with an external professional perspective, and assists the ISF with managing the evaluation process.

The Program’s objectives are:

  • Strengthening scientific research in Israel and establishing Israel’s standing as a world leader in scientific research;
  • “Brain Return”: returning excellent researchers to Israel, as a central means of fortifying the research capabilities and the academic staffs of the institutions of higher education;
  • Creating a critical mass and intensifying the relative advantages in select fields in the different institutions;
  • Improving and upgrading the research infrastructure in the universities;
  • Encouraging academic innovation, including integration between different fields of knowledge (multi-disciplinarity);
  • Maintaining and promoting advanced programs of instruction and training in select fields;
  • Encouraging research collaboration between institutions of higher education, both universities and colleges;
  • Strengthening the scientific research in Israel in disciplines of system-wide and national importance
  • Promoting collaboration with leading researchers and research institutions worldwide.

 

A “Center of excellence” is an association of outstanding researchers in a specific research field, who are current staff members of different higher education institutions, for the purpose of promoting groundbreaking and innovative research. The center serves as an anchor for shared research infrastructure and research groups in this field, and allows optimal utilization of the scientific potential of Israel.

 

Apart from the research infrastructure that is being established and upgraded in the framework of the I-CORE, the members of the center benefit from a significant budget for the center’s activities, including international activities, scholarships for research students and postdoctoral fellows, usage of equipment and materials, technical HR etc.

 

In addition to the members of the I-CORE who are current staff members of Israeli institutions of higher education, new outstanding researchers also join the center during the first three years of activity. The new researchers join the various higher education institutions where they get a regular tenure-track academic appointment, and also receive annual research grants for a period of five years and equipment grants.

 

In order to encourage research collaborations between the various researchers in the center which come from various institutions, the program encourages joint mentoring of graduate students by researchers who are members of the center, regardless of their institutional affiliation. In addition, the program assists the I-CORE members in organizing workshops and unique programs of advanced teaching, including International Graduate programs, in developing partnerships with industry, and in contributing to the community by holding public lectures or programs for high school students.
The research topics selected for the Centers were selected in a wide bottom-up process of consultation with the Israeli academic community, such that they reflect the genuine priorities and scientific interest of researchers in Israel. Out of the large number of suggestions received by researchers, specific topics were chosen by designated committees. Once the topics were announced, a call for proposal was issued inviting groups of researchers to submit proposals for the establishment of I-COREs in these topics.
The evaluation and assessment processes of the proposals are carried out by the Israeli Science Foundation via international evaluation committees, which examine the proposals on a competitive basis. The evaluation and assessment processes are carried out in two stages – preliminary proposals and full proposals.
The first wave of I-COREs started operating in October 2011. 
The second wave 12 I-COREs, are expected to be established during 2013. The new Centers will span a wide array of topics in exact sciences, life sciences, engineering and medicine, as well as in social sciences, humanities, education and law.

 

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