Field of dreams
Haifa University is well-placed to make a powerful contribution to Israel’s future
HAIFA UNIVERSITY has been chosen by the Israeli government to lead a national research centre, to provide scientific leadership and stewardship of Israel’s precious marine assets. With the university’s School of Marine Sciences as its academic anchor, the new Israel National Mediterranean Sea Research Centre will play a critical role in shaping Israel’s security, future prosperity and environmental agenda.
Discoveries of major offshore gas reserves have catapulted the Mediterranean Sea into the international spotlight and on to Israel’s national agenda. Scientific sources estimate that there are significant untapped global natural gas and oil reserves in the eastern Mediterranean basin, so the stakes are high. Israel is now faced with significant economic, security, environmental and scientific challenges and opportunities, yet there is an acute shortage of qualified local experts to address this demanding new landscape.
For the first time in Israel’s history, six of its universities and two governmental research institutes have come together to form a national consortium, committed to securing and preserving Israel’s precious marine assets.
The Council for Higher Education chose the University of Haifa to lead the centre as a joint initiative with the Weizmann Institute; the Technion — Israel Institute of Technology; Bar-Ilan University; Ben-Gurion University of the Negev; the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, the Geological Survey of Israel and the Israel Oceanographic and Limnological Research Institute.
STRENGTHENING ISRAEL’S ECONOMY
“The Mediterranean Sea is a strategic asset for Israel,” says Professor Aaron Ben-Ze’ev, outgoing president of the University, “and by developing it, the country will improve its 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, contribute to closing social gaps, and ultimately increase Israel’s political strength at home and abroad.”
Haifa University, the largest research university in northern Israel, stands on the Carmel Mountain and merges Haifa’s southern border with the Carmel National Park. Numbering 18,000, its student body is the most diverse in Israel. Jews and Arabs, Druze, IDF officers and new immigrants from the former Soviet Union, Ethiopia and South America, come together to learn, research, socialise and share knowledge in an atmosphere of coexistence, tolerance and mutual respect.
Haifa University: an academic anchor for marine research