Haaretz reports that the initiative for Centers for Research Excellence, known as I-Core, part of a multi-year program of the institutions of higher learning which will eventually include 30 research centers operating for five year stretches, is expected to lure back leading Israeli researchers from universities abroad. The overall budget for the centers stands at NIS 1.34 billion, which is on average NIS 45 million per research team. The funding is provided in equal shares by the Committee for Planning and Budgeting, the leading academic institutions, and contributions from various other bodies.
The Chairman for the Committee of Planning and Budgeting, Prof. Manuel Trajtenberg and Education Minister Gideon Sa'ar, who chairs the Council for Higher Education, announced the winners of the first three tenders, and said that the next round of winners would be announced in the coming weeks.
A group, led by Prof. Chaim Cedar of the Hebrew University, comprising 19 researchers from Hebrew U., Tel Aviv University, Bar Ilan University, Sheba Medical Center and the Hadassah Medical Center, were awarded an I-CORE entitled Systems-Level Analysis of the Molecular Basis for Human Diseases: From Genomics to Personalized Therapy.
Another I-CORE was awarded to a team headed by Prof. Yadin Dudai of the Weizmann Institute of Science, for Advanced Approaches in Cognitive Science. The team comprises 24 researchers from the Weizmann Institute, Tel Aviv and Bar Ilan universities, the Jezreel Valley College and the Sourasky Medical Center.
In the field of Advanced Topics in Computer Sciences, the I-CORE was awarded to a team led by Prof. Yishay Mansour of Tel Aviv University, made up of 24 researchers from Tel Aviv and Hebrew universities, and the Weizmann Institute.
As a result of the I-Core program, it is expected that some 300 leading Israeli researchers from the best universities in the world will return to the country.