The University of Haifa and the East China Normal University (ECNU) in Shanghai signed a memorandum of cooperation on the construction of the Shanghai-Haifa International Research Center, the first of its kind in Shanghai for Israeli and Chinese academia.The joint fields of research already agreed upon include neuroscience, mathematics, education, technology, computing and data management, and environmental management. The collaboration between the universities will enable Israeli and Chinese researchers to submit research proposals to Chinese research funds.
“This is another step in the University of Haifa’s international activity, and it will open up new horizons for the university’s researchers, in terms of the growing academic knowledge and capabilities of the Chinese academia, in terms of research infrastructures, and in terms of resources,” said Prof. David Faraggi, the University of Haifa Rector, who signed the agreement with his Chinese counterpart, the President of ECNU. .
Collaborations started with officials from ECNU and NYU Shanghai (a branch of NYU that operates within ECNU) visiting the University of Haifa three months ago. During their visit they were introduced to some of the University’s outstanding research centers, which led to the idea of founding a joint research center. It was finally agreed that during the first stage, the center would focus on the fields in which both the University of Haifa and ECNU are strong.
Prof. Faraggi and his Chinese counterpart Prof. Chen Qun signed the memorandum in the presence of the Israeli Deputy Consul General in Shanghai. “The University of Haifa is proud to be Israel’s first university to open an academic research center in Shanghai,” said Prof. David Faraggi. “This is an important step for the university that represents the importance of international collaboration with the world’s leading academic institutions and the high regard China has for Israeli research and academia.”
During the tour, ECNU officials announced that the building currently occupied by NYU Shanghai would be designated to the center, giving the new center “large shoes” to fill. The first delegation will be going to Shanghai in April and will include 20 researchers from the University of Haifa, among them the Dean of the Faculty of Natural Sciences and the Dean of the Faculty of Management, to agree in practice on the first studies to be done by the joint center.
As stated, the collaboration will enable researchers to submit research proposals for Chinese funds, and because the Chinese government invests generously in these funds, receiving these grants means receiving high funding (according to estimates, the Chinese government spent 40 billion dollars in grants for Chinese Academic research in 2013).
ECNU (East China Normal University) was founded in 1951, and is the first university in the Republic of China to train schoolteachers. ECNU’s research collaboration with the University of Haifa is being added to their list of existing collaborations with some leading international institutions — Cornell University, the University of California, the University of Manchester, King’s College London, Ecole Normale Supérieure in Paris, the University of Tokyo, and more.