Centre of Excellence for Research on Environment, Health and Aging

Concept and Objectives

Concept and Objectives

CEREHA - Centre of Excellence for Research on Environment, Health and Aging is structured to be an inter- and multi-disciplinary centre led by MIGAL. This project is the most important research initiative of the Galilee region in Northern Israel. The main objective of CEREHA is to become internationally known research institute, which is capable of initiating and performing excellent interrelated studies in environment, health and aging.

Activities

CEREHA will study the aging phenomena employing biological, medical, environmental, epidemiological and social perspectives. Such research requires the creation of a unifying umbrella that will bridge across the inherent fragmentation in science and aggregate the research efforts, especially in human potential across the whole Mediterranean region. The project is encompasses of 6 research institutions, including public and private sectors from Denmark, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway and USA. The work-plan is divided into 8 WPs, including Management and Ex Post Evaluation. The other WPs are constructed to pave the way
to excellence and include secondments from and to partners, upgrade of existing experimental and research facilities, cycles of seminars and international contacts with other research and business organizations, and finally activities geared towards a regional dimension, in view of sparking competitiveness dynamic in the Galilee. The dissemination activities are also directed to raise complementary funds by the Israeli government.

The main objectives of CEREHA are:

  • To facilitate collaborative scientific research in the field of aging and the collection and the dissemination of clinical and scientific evidence regarding environmental and nutritional influence on healthy aging and longevity;
  • To establish and operate an independent physical base for the core administration and facilitation of the activities of the Centre;
  • To become financially self-sufficient in respect of the core operations of the Centre;
  • To acquire additional resources to fund and facilitate research and education in collaboration with approved institutions, educational establishments, organizations & individuals pursuing the same objectives as CEREHA;
  • To contribute to both social and economic regional development by promoting healthy aging and longevity throughout the Galilee region and at the same time facilitating the uptake of research results by local industry or innovative SMEs, possibly located within the region of Galilee.

General aim of the project:

The overall goal of this project is to establish a Centre of Excellence for Research on Environment, Health and Aging in the Galilee, Israel (“CEREHA”), within the Galilee Technology Centre (MIGAL).
Currently the leading research organization in the region. We propose the CEREHA because we have identified the need and the potential, at MIGAL to efficiently organize and enhance research resources for the study of aging. Progress in this field requires research to be organized and carried out from a multidisciplinary approach. To do so, MIGAL plans to bring together competences from highly complementary, but often not interconnected research fields. The need to focus on aging as a cross cutting theme and the subsequent intention to systematize research efforts around it, was the most significant outcome of the SWOT analysis carried out before we conceived the theme of CEREHA. It is also important that the initiative is taken in a convergence region, where the results of a survey showed health services are below the national standards and that people live, on average, two years less than in the centre of Israel. The project approach is therefore holistic as it looks at aging as the convergence fields of scientific advances that related to biology, biotechnology, nutrition, cognitive sciences as well as to social sciences and the overall place of the elderly in today’s society. Breakthroughs in stem cell research and pharmacogenetics have opened interesting prospective in biology and biotechnology in which MIGAL is deeply involved. At the same time aging phenomena can be contrasted by the comprehensive repair of the molecular and cellular damage that underlies it, by correct nutrition and by keeping the environment clean of compounds affecting people. Such advances are hindered by the lack of mutual cooperation among fields of research that have so far progressed in parallel with limited interaction and lacking a holistic vision. This is the main bottleneck that the constitution of the CEREHA centre intends to address, at the same time enabling MIGAL to reinforce its ranking in the international community. Within the CEREHA initiative, MIGAL has also the support from the regional hospitals and elderly-housing as well as industries. As concluded by the SWOT analysis these research fields have the potential to enhance MIGAL’s ability to successfully exploit its knowledge and deliver services to industry.

The objectives of the project will be accomplished by a coherent set of complementary actions

  • Twinning collaboration with partners from the previous projects (long-term cooperation) and excellent research entities in the EU in order to strengthen the exchange of know-how and methods used, or to setup strategic partnerships.
  • Recruitment of first-rate researchers to upgrade research levels and strengthen the departments in the fields chosen.
  • Organization of workshops and an international conference, to facilitate transfer of knowledge at international and national levels.
  • Participation of the staff of the Centre in international events (conferences, scientific meetings) as well as EU committees, and networking program such as COST.
  • Substantial upgrading of the existing research equipment.
  • Increasing cooperation with regional enterprises coupled with our partners' secondments (including SMEs and large pharmaceutical industry), for the 3rd age and hospitals in the Galilee region.
  • Dissemination and promotional activities.
  • Reducing the process of "brain drain" from the Galilee to Israel's huge urban centre (Tel-Aviv area). In order to answer the objectives and as a result of the SWOT analysis it is therefore proposed to generate a comprehensive and integrated structure