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For the first time: cooperation in research infrastructures between all research institutions in academia and the high-tech industry throughout the country

The Ministry of Innovation, Science and Technology established a national knowledge center for research infrastructures that will connect all researchers with research equipment and relevant experts throughout the country. The aim of the center is to strengthen the cooperation between them and to make the best use of the infrastructures, and to respond to the findings of the State Comptroller

The launch conference of the Knowledge Center for Research Infrastructures. Photo: Sion Black
The launch conference of the Knowledge Center for Research Infrastructures. Photography: Sivan Black; to the

The Ministry of Innovation, Science and Technology launched today at a conference held at the Weizmann Institute, a national knowledge center that will be accessible to all researchers in the ecosystem in Israel (academia, industry, research institutes, health organizations, security), all the infrastructures that support research in Israel, with the aim of promoting collaborations and making the most of their potential For the benefit of the entire Israeli ecosystem.

The National Knowledge Center for Accessing Research Infrastructures (IRCF - Israel Research Core Facilities) is a national database, which any researcher can access through a new website: The database makes the information on the research supporting infrastructures in Israel accessible in a clear and efficient manner to all potential users, in order to maximize the use of the existing infrastructures. At the same time, professional networks are established that connect all the service provider experts in the various research infrastructure centers according to fields.

The State Comptroller insisted on the need to regulate the research infrastructure issue in a report published in May 2021, from which it emerged that expensive infrastructures are not being utilized to their full extent. Through the sharing of knowledge, the database responds to the need of researchers in the various research institutions for access to research infrastructures and experts who will operate the dedicated equipment, located in other institutions, and would not otherwise know about them. The availability of information about research infrastructures will allow institutions to make maximum use of expensive equipment, and for researchers to use equipment that they otherwise would not have access to.

This is in relation to the existing situation, in which each research institution in academia, hospitals or government institutions has its own research support unit, whose information is not accessible to other institutions. In order to leverage and strengthen the contribution of these centers to the advancement of research in Israel, the Ministry of Innovation, Science and Technology established a national knowledge center for making research infrastructures accessible, designed to connect the institutional centers at the national level.

The database already includes a mapping of 800 scientific services in 62 different infrastructure facilities, and about 300 scientific staff members, from about 20 partner institutions, in 33 fields of knowledge. The mapping now focuses on the fields of biomedicine, and in the next two years the infrastructure centers in the other research fields (chemistry, physics, engineering, etc.) will be mapped, as well as the existing capabilities of the Israeli industry in these fields.

Hila Hadad Hamelnik, Director General of the Ministry of Innovation, Science and Technology: "The State of Israel must be very efficient in its investments in research and development, this is the only way we can lead the global ecosystem of applied science, with our limited resources. The future of Israeli high-tech is research and development in fields that require advanced research infrastructures; The pooling of resources that the knowledge center will enable will be a growth engine and will give Israeli industry the tools to realize its potential and a competitive advantage in relation to the world. I call on all research institutes throughout the country to make use of the research infrastructures accessible through IRCF, and the entire Israeli industry will benefit from this."

Prof. Avi Domb, Director of the Forum of Chief Scientists and Chief Scientist at the Ministry of Innovation, Science and Technology: "Establishing a research infrastructure center serves and will serve research in all its aspects, from basic research in academia to open research in industry. These infrastructures will allow Israeli scientists access to the latest and most advanced equipment in the world and to be part of a fruitful and challenging scientific community. In addition, it will allow policymakers to understand where it is necessary to invest resources for new equipment that will prevent duplication and bring necessary means for research.'

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