I-CORE - Israeli Centers Of Research Excellence I-CORE - Israeli Centers Of Research Excellence I-CORE - Israeli Centers Of Research Excellence Israeli Centers Of Research Excellence

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I-CORE second wave to be launched: Steering Committee decides to establish 11 additional Centers of Excellence

I-CORE second wave to be launched: Steering Committee decides to establish 11 additional Centers of Excellence

I-CORE second wave to be launched: Steering Committee decides to establish 11 additional Centers of Excellence

January 30, 2013

I-CORE second wave to be launched:
Steering Committee decides to establish 11 additional Centers of Excellence

 

 

Minister of Education and Chairman of the Council for Higher Education, Gideon Sa'ar, and Chairman of the Planning and Budgeting Committee (PBC), Prof. Manuel Trajtenberg announced, today the groups that were selected to establish 11 Centers of Excellence (I-COREs) in the second wave of the program. An additional number of requests for the establishment of Centers of Excellence are still in discussion and will be decided in the near future.
 

Of the 11 new Centers, 4 will engage in research in the Social Sciences and Humanities and 7 in Exact Sciences, Engineering, Life Sciences and Medicine. The centers will be established during this year (2013), and the inauguration date of each center will be determined shortly. In addition, the establishment of additional centers, whose proposals are still under assessment, may be announced later this year.
 

The second wave represents another major step in the Centers of Excellence program and is a main pillar in the Multi-Year Reform Plan in Higher Education - a program 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 (Government Resolution No. 1503, 03.14.2010). The first four I-COREs began operating in October 2011 (first wave) in the fields of: Cognitive Science, Algorithms, Solar Energy and the Genetic Basis of Human Disease.
 

26 full proposals were submitted as part of the second wave in 17 fields of research, and evaluated by international assessment committees, a process run by the Israel Science Foundation. The high quality of all the proposals, particularly of the winning proposals, as reflected in the reports and testimony of the assessment committees, is a certificate of honor for research and researchers in Israel.
 

The 15 Centers of Excellence that were selected until now – those established in the first wave and those that will be established in the second one – promote innovative and groundbreaking research in a range of fields, promote national and international research collaborations, assist in the recruitment of new excellent researchers and pave the way for nurturing the future generation of outstanding researchers in the country by establishing inter-institutional Joint Graduate Schools.
 

The following 11 groups and their research fields were selected by the Steering Committee at this stage:
 

1. Study of Modern Jewish Culture – a group under the scientific management of Prof. Richard Cohen of the Hebrew University, consisting of researchers from the Hebrew University, Bar-Ilan University, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev and Tel-Aviv University.
 

2. Education and the New Information Society – a group under the scientific management of Prof. Yael Kali of the University of Haifa, consisting of researchers from the University of Haifa, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Technion and the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya.
 

3. Empirical Legal Studies – a group under the scientific management of Prof. Ilana Ritov of the Hebrew University, consisting of researchers from the Hebrew University and the Technion.
 

4. Mass Trauma Research - a group under the scientific management of Prof. Zahava Solomon of the Tel-Aviv University, consisting of researchers from the Tel-Aviv University, Bar-Ilan University, the Hebrew University, the Weizmann Institute of Science and the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya.
 

5. The Quantum Universe: Particles and Astro-particles - a group under the scientific management of Prof. Yosef Nir of the Weizmann Institute of Science, consisting of researchers from the Weizmann Institute of Sceience, the Hebrew University, Tel-Aviv University and the Technion.
 

6. Light and Matter - a group under the scientific management of Prof. Mordechai Segev of the Technion, consisting of researchers from the Technion and the Weizmann Institute of Science.
 

7. Astrophysics: from the Big Bang to the Stars - a group under the scientific management of Prof. Tsvi Piran of the Hebrew University consisting of researchers from the Hebrew University, Tel-Aviv University, the Technion and the Weizmann Institute of Science.
 

8. Chromatin and RNA Gene Regulation - a group under the scientific management group of Prof. Nir Friedman of the Hebrew University consisting of researchers from the Hebrew University, Bar-Ilan University, the Technion, the Weizmann Institute and Sheba Medical Center.
 

9. Structural Biology of the Cell - Biophysics and medical technology - a group under the scientific management of Prof. Gideon Schreiber of the Weizmann Institute of Science consisting of researchers from the Weizmann Institute of Science, Tel-Aviv University and the Technion.
 

10. Plant Adaptation to Changing Environment - a group under the scientific management group of Prof. Hillel Fromm of the Tel-Aviv University consisting of researchers from the Tel-Aviv University, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, the Hebrew University and the Weizmann Institute of Science.
 

11. Physical Approaches to Dynamic Processes in Living Systems - a group under the scientific management of Prof. Amit Meller of the Technion consisting of researchers from the Technion, Bar-Ilan University, the Hebrew University, Tel-Aviv University and the Weizmann Institute of Science.
 

The Call for proposals for the establishment of Centers of Excellence in the second wave of the program was published by the Steering Committee, chaired by PBC member Prof. Shimon Yankielowicz, in September 2011, and was disseminated to groups of researchers in Israel and abroad. The Call for proposals enabled researchers to submit proposals in 18 selected research fields in the Humanities, Social Sciences, Education, Law, Exact Sciences, Engineering, Life Sciences and Medicine. The list of research fields was composed by the Steering Committee of the program, after examining all suggestions submitted by more than 1,200 Israeli researchers from Israel and abroad.
 

The assessment and evaluation processes were carried out by the Israel Science Foundation via international evaluation committees, which examined the proposals on a competitive basis. Assessment and evaluation processes were carried out in two stages – in the first stage 67 competing preliminary proposals were submitted, of which 26 were asked to submit full proposals in the second stage.
 

The assessment process, as well as communication with the Chairman of the assessment committees and its members, the transfer of information necessary for the committee's work and the working procedures of the assessment committees and steering committee, was carried out by the Israel Science Foundation, while maintaining the standard procedures of the Foundation.
 

The reports received by the assessment committees were presented to the steering committee by members of the coordinating committee. The steering committee discussed their recommendations, studied the rules of the assessment process's procedure and the various aspects raised in the reports, strengths and weaknesses of each preliminary proposal and its accordance to the policy of the Centers of Excellence program. Following the discussions of the Steering Committee, 11 groups out of the 26 full proposals, were invited to establish the next centers.
 

The Governmental budget dedicated to the program, allocated by the PBC, is 450 million NIS over the years of operation, according to the government's decision from March 2010 (Government Resolution No. 1503) The PBC strives to recruit strategic partners for the program, and partner institutions must also fund an amount equal to half of the total budget contributed by the PBC and the strategic partners.

 

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