Centre of Excellence for Research on Environment, Health and Aging

Associate Partners

Israel

MIGAL - Galilee Research Institute

MIGAL - Galilee Research Institute is an applied research institute working in the fields of biotechnology, environmental sciences and agriculture. The instituteis located in Kiryat Shmona, at the Northern periphery of Israel.
MIGAL was established in 1979 and employs 52 scientists with doctorates, among a total staff of more than 150 researchers, engineers, and students for advanced degrees, all residents of the Galilee. MIGAL's vision is to develop in the Galilee a knowledge based economy in life and environmental sciences. Such development is made possible through implementation of the research conducted at the institute in business applications, as well as commercialization of intellectual property.

MIGAL serves as a focus for the development of relations between science and community in the Galilee, and its researchers serve as members of the Faculty of Sciences at Tel Hai College.
The project constitutes a continuation and advancement of activities initiated in FP6's RIS project GALEDGE (Regional Innovation Strategy) at MIGAL (project No. 014648) in collaboration with the Galilee Development Authority. All employees of MIGAL - the MEGA-Regional R&D Institute (as defined by the Israeli Ministry of Science and Technology) live in the Galilee.

MIGAL is the largest R&D institute in Galilee (employing 154 staff members, among them 52 Ph.D.s and Professors) and the largest research centre in agricultural sciences in northern
Israel. This plan is aimed at establishing CEREHA at MIGAL which has been a leader in the sciences of environment and health, excelling in the areas of agriculture, biotechnology, microbiology, nutrition and environmental research.

Aging is a crucial challenge for our society. With the fast advances in medicine, the average age expectancy increases fast. However, this important scientific achievement is not without a cost – aging involves a variety of physical and mental problems which have a high impact on society. Aging involves many aspects, several of which are tightly connected with health and environment. These include the age-related neurological diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease, and the age-related weakening of the immune system which results in susceptibility to frailty syndrome. All these aspects of aging are also tightly connected and affected by the environment in a multifaceted manner.
Currently MIGAL consists of a large number of experts in biology, genetics, infectious diseases,
biotechnology, environmental studies, nutrition, sociology and economy. Our plan represents a significant change from the way we have operated in the past. Opening up the boundaries among individual labs, enhancing collaboration within our facility, with partnering organisations in the EU and in other regions in the world, across the nation and globally, is fundamental to operate more efficiently in the future. We have close collaboration with local hospitals (Ziv, Naharia and Poria) as well as with national and regional authorities, thus resulting in a privileged position to carry out research or clinical tests or other complementary activities in real life or near to real life conditions. Representatives from the Israeli ministries visited the Galilee in the last year. The Minister of Health, Mr. Litzman and his staff are very supportive of the newly established School of Medicine in the Galilee and in improving the health services of the region.

Support by the national government is also expected to match financing from the European Commission.
The proposed CEREHA would regularly rely on collaboration with European institutes. Within the project this will translate in active participation in the project steering committee and in a programme of mutual visits of scientists and students with the objective to keep or enhance the excellence of research groups operating on aging at MIGAL.

The centre will also enable the development of new laboratories and will admit new faculty members in relevant areas, where the SWOT analysis has indicated knowledge and management gaps that have to be met with the contribution of new experienced researchers. These activities will also be complemented by broadening the teaching programs in the local colleges and universities. Part of the research capacity reinforcement operation envisaged through the CEREHA project will also go through an upgrade of facilities, including the enlargement of an animal house for experimental activities.