New national research center for applied systems analysis to be established at TAU

Institution is a collaboration between Israel and Austria

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Tel Aviv University (TAU) has announced the establishment of a new national research center, The Israeli Applied Systems Analysis Center of Excellence (IASACE). It will focus on issues of sustainability and cooperate with organizations from around the world to connect research teams from different institutions, foster research innovation, and serve as a hub for science-based policy making at the national and local government levels.

The IASACE is a collaboration between the Israel Ministry of Innovation, Science, and Technology (MOST), Austria’s International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), and TAU. MOST will fund the institute at three million NIS (about $850,000) for its first five years, with additional three million shekels matched by TAU and other external resources over this period, after which the center will become an independent national research center.

Israel recently renewed its IIASA membership for the next five years, and the institute will use IIASA’s existing integrated assessment models and research framework to localize it for the unique conditions of the Israeli economy.

A multi-disciplinary team of TAU researchers will be leading the four main study topics of the center, which will include a variety of disciplines such as water, energy, climate change, circular economy, transportation systems, agriculture and food systems, health, bio-diversity, economics, demography, and policymaking. The prioritized research areas of IASACE will be aligned, where appropriate, to the strategic research areas of IIASA, which include Economic Frontiers; Biodiversity and Natural Resources; Advancing Systems Analysis; Energy, Climate and Environment; Population and Just Societies; and Strategic Initiatives.

“The aim of the IASACE is to serve as focal point for applied systems analysis to serve Israeli academia, government, and industry in developing and applying integrated models into decision making,” says Professor Itai Sened, the head of the new center and Dean of TAU’s Gordon Faculty of Social Sciences. “Applied systems analysis is a new research theme in Israel and we hope to make Israel a world leader in the field by fostering international collaboration with the next generation of researchers.”

“If Israel is to meet its goals for preparing for climate change risks, reducing greenhouse emissions and air pollution, while maximizing the efficiency of natural resources use and their associated environmental impacts, it will need to adopt mid- to long-term planning and policy practices, taking a systems analysis approach amongst other innovative planning methodologies,” says Dr. Vered Blass of TAU’s Porter School of the Environment and Earth Sciences, who led the proposal team. “The center will bring together the academic, governmental, and private sectors to work on the most pressing challenges facing humanity at this point. Our goal is to find the most sustainable and innovative ways to reduce our ecological footprint while strengthening our natural, economic, and social ecosystems.”

“The establishment of the IASACE is of major significance to Israel,” notes Hilla Haddad Chmelnik, Director General of MOST. “We are honored to fund the center, driving Israeli research forward and maintaining its long-held status as the ‘startup nation’ and as an ideal ecosystem for scientific endeavors. IIASA is a world-renowned organization whose trust in our brilliant researchers is evident in their decision to invest in TAU researchers and Israel at large. Furthermore, this decision reaffirms Israel’s potential for leadership in some of the most pressing fields of science today. The center will be a force multiplier for Israeli research in terms of its funding, the extent of its research, and its subsequent contribution. That is a huge step in bringing Israeli research to the fore and strengthening international collaborations, all at the same time.”

"IIASA is a world-renowned organization whose trust in our brilliant researchers is evident in their decision to invest in TAU researchers and Israel at large."