Technion to Head Israeli Center of Excellence for Alternative Energy
The Technion-Israel Institute of Technology will lead the Israeli Center of Research Excellence (I-CORE) in Alternative Energies. The selection of the Technion was made by Israel's Council for Higher Education as part of their multi-year reform plan for the Israeli higher education system.
The nationwide, multi-university center is slated to begin operations in August, along with three other I-COREs (led by other Israeli universities) in computer sciences, cognitive science, and the molecular basis for human diseases.
The Alternative Energies I-CORE – to be led by Grand Technion Energy Program head Prof. Gideon Grader – will include research on solar generated fuels, such as solar hydrogen (H2) and carbon monoxide (CO) generation by water and CO2 splitting; plant genetic engineering and biomass bio-processing; and catalytic processes to produce fuels out of the biomass.
"This center is an extraordinary opportunity to promote the issue of energy through a very productive collaboration between institutions, and to leverage the issue with Israel,” said Prof. Grader. “If we can help find solutions to reduce the world’s dependence on oil, it will reflect very positively on Israel."
Research will be conducted by 27 researchers from the Technion, the Weizmann Institute, and Ben Gurion University. Each university will receive the same allocation of funds and have an equal number of participants.
The Technion was selected following the recommendations of an international committee of experts for the establishment of this center. The budget of the Alternative Energies I-CORE is approximately $17 million. The I-CORE program will bring together a critical mass of leading researchers in each designated field, including existing staff members at universities, colleges, hospitals and research institutes, as well as new Israeli researchers in the field (some of them returning from abroad). The Israeli government plans to build upwards of 30 centers of excellence in universities over the next five years, at a cost of $391 billion.
All of the I-COREs share common objectives, including: strengthening scientific research in Israel; establishing Israel as a recognized world leader in scientific research; bringing excellent researchers to Israel; improving and upgrading research infrastructure; encouraging academic innovation; and integration among different research disciplines. The centers will also promote comprehensive, groundbreaking and innovative research, and encourage effective collaboration of leading researchers from different institutions.