The University of Haifa and the East China New University (ECNU) of Shanghai inaugurated their joint Shanghai-Haifa research center in a festive ceremony. This is the first center of its kind in Shanghai for Israeli and Chinese academia, and it will enable researchers from both countries to submit research proposals to Chinese research funds. The Chinese government, who finances these funds, invests an estimated 40 billion dollars in grants each year. "It was very exciting to see the University of Haifa's logo on the signs of the magnificent Chinese campus. We are joining the world's leading universities, such as NYU, Cornell and others who are already collaborating with ECNU. This attests to our world-renowned academic excellence and excellent reputation in many fields, "said University of Haifa President, Amos Shapira.
The ceremony was immediately followed by a first joint research seminar, attended by 11 neuroscience researchers from the University of Haifa and by local researchers from the field. According to the agreement, brain research is only one of many fields in which the two universities will be collaborating. Other fields include technology of teaching mathematics, computing and data management, and environmental management. A student exchange agreement was also signed between the universities.
In recent years ties between Chinese and Israeli academia have been growing stronger, and founding this joint center is another step in strengthening this academic tie. As mentioned, according to estimates, the Chinese government invested some 40 billion dollars in 2013 in academic research funds, which indicates the importance it gives to the field. ECNU is known for its prestigious international ties: NYU has an academic branch there (NYU Shanghai). Joint research centers, similar to the center opened with the University of Haifa, already exist with Cornell University, the University of California, the University of Manchester, the University of London (King's College) , École Normale Supérieure in Paris, the University of Tokyo and more.
"The University of Haifa is proud to be the first university in Israel to open an academic research center in Shanghai. This is an important step for the institution. It represents the importance of international collaboration with the world's leading academic institutions, and the high regard that China has for Israeli research and academia. This is another step in the University of Haifa's international activity, opening up new horizons for the university's researchers, both in terms of the developing academic knowledge and ability of the Chinese academia, and in terms of research infrastructures and resources", said the University of Haifa Rector Prof.