Haifa University
Haifa UniversityFlash 90

The University of Haifa on Monday announced that its faculty members have been awarded funding from the Israeli Ministry of Science and Technology for 18 of the 84 coronavirus-related research proposals that the government is partially subsidizing amid the pandemic. A total of NIS 10 million ($2,849,905) will be spread across the 84 research proposals.

The Ministry of Science and Technology is distributing more than half of University of Haifa’s grants to medical researchers, cementing the northern Israeli academic institution’s role on the front lines of the country’s quest to pioneer innovative solutions to the public health challenges presented by COVID-19. The University of Haifa — one of Israel’s seven research universities — received over 20 percent of the government’s coronavirus research grants.

All of the research projects will last between two and six months, and most of the researchers receiving the funding are affiliated with University of Haifa’s Faculty of Social Welfare and Health Sciences as well as its Faculty of Social Sciences. The University’s coronavirus-related research will cover topics including public resilience and trust, the tourism industry, virus contamination among lower-income individuals, crowdsourcing and crisis management, a cost-benefit analysis of shutdown measures for the economy, human characteristics and daily functions that promote health, the impact of traditional and social media, tele-rehabilitation, post-traumatic stress disorder, homeschooling, the education system, family routines, anxiety, government communication policy, poverty, and exit strategies for the pandemic era.

“We are pleased that the Ministry of Science and Technology’s grants are supporting University of Haifa research that will help Israel — and the world — understand and address myriad societal challenges that are emerging as a result of the new coronavirus and the extended quarantine,” said University of Haifa President Prof. Ron Robin. “These research projects will address an array of issues from public health and breast cancer recovery to education, isolation, and loneliness. I am incredibly proud of how quickly our faculty responded to the government’s request for proposals and honored that we can play a critical role in the country’s recovery.”

A significant research project at University of Haifa sees around NIS 220,000 fund the work of Prof. Deborah Shmueli, Principal Investigator of the University’s Minerva Center for Law and Extreme Conditions, which will focus on plans for a gradual return to routine and economic recovery, while minimizing the damage to society and the economy.

University of Haifa’s response to COVID-19 has been multi-pronged and multi-dimensional. The institution’s first steps were to move classes and operations online, with the goal of ensuring the health of its community as well as the continuity of classes and research. Once that infrastructure was in place, the University immediately began to focus its responsibilities on generating innovative solutions to virus-related problems for Israel and the global community.

“Knowing we have depth and breadth of expertise in various crucial fields, I convened a cross-discipline team from University of Haifa’s pillars of excellence, including public health; nursing; education; aging, specifically among Holocaust survivors; social welfare; psychiatry; and cancer research,” Robin explained. “We were reassured that our partners at the Rambam Health Care Campus, the Ministry of Science and Technology, and other institutions were taking care of Israelis’ immediate medical needs, so I challenged our faculty to focus on the future — how we will ensure Israel moves beyond this crisis not only to survive, but to become stronger. Our society will be changed forever; it is our role to make sure it is changed for the better.”