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Students in a laboratory. (Credit: Ilan Besor)
Students in a laboratory. (Credit: Ilan Besor)

Join Israeli higher education institutions in the fight for a greener future

The country’s universities and colleges are busy harnessing their knowledge and culture of innovation to help ensure a more sustainable tomorrow for all.

Convenience has evolved exponentially in the past few decades, and our life expectancies are far greater than those of our ancestors. But at what cost has all of this been to the wider environmental picture?

Worrying events paint a bleak prognosis. The climate has irreversibly changed on a global scale, and the human population keeps growing just as the world’s natural resources are being depleted at an alarming and unsustainable rate.

Yet there’s reason for hope. We’re living in an age of unprecedented technological and scientific advances aimed at revolutionizing the way we live, often spearheaded by the ever-vibrant entrepreneurial world.

Israel remains at the forefront of this inventive, global race. Across the country, creative minds and dynamic teams of researchers are at work addressing burning questions related to the fields of renewable energies, biotechnology, agriculture and more.

And for their part, the nation’s higher-education institutions are flourishing with a range of exciting, sustainability-related research and study programs.

Starting from the north of the country, the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology’s partnership with a venture firm will allow it to widen the scope of its research in the fields of renewable energy and climate studies.

Nearby, the University of Haifa is equally committed to having a positive impact, investigating matters related to sustainable development and ensuring this knowledge is both integrated into the institution’s operations and extended beyond the bounds of the campus to meet the needs of the wider community.

Moving to the center of the country, the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot is committed to developing technologies to better manage our carbon footprint, through a multidisciplinary effort in mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology and other science subjects.

Students in a greenhouse. Credit Yoav Alon

Turning to students, Tel Aviv University’s Porter School of Environmental Studies is Israel’s first graduate-level school to focus on fostering environmental knowledge, with the aim of training the next generation of green innovators.

The commitment to rising to the challenge also starts inside the classroom at Herzliya’s Reichman University. The institution’s Raphael Recanati International School offers an English-language sustainability and government double major focusing on key issues in the fields of economics, politics and the environment.

Keen young minds have the opportunity to take their interest in positive-impact ventures a step further at Ariel University’s Center for Entrepreneurship, too, which develops and supports student and faculty proposals on various sustainability-related matters.

Bar-Ilan University, located in the city of Ramat Gan, is home to an outstanding group of scientists specializing in renewable energy conversion, working – among other projects – on new materials for electric vehicles and renewable battery applications.

At the Hebrew University of Jerusalem’s newly opened Center for Sustainability, projects range from improving agricultural output in the world’s developing countries to increasing community engagement on climate change.

Down south, Ben-Gurion University is home to the Negev Center for Sustainability. Part of the Department of Geography and Environmental Development and the Faculty for Humanities and Social Sciences, the hub promotes research related to the field of sustainability, focusing in particular on the various interactions between society, culture and the economy.

And these are only a few examples of the various and varied initiatives, courses and centers being set up by higher education institutions across the country. In line with the global shift toward prioritizing sustainability, Israeli academia is positioning itself at the forefront of scientific and technological efforts to meet the demands of today and tomorrow’s generations.

The Council for Higher Education of Israel continues to ascribe great importance to internationalization and international collaboration. The institutions welcome curious, creative and critical-thinking international students and researchers. Anyone who passes through the gates of these world-class institutions will benefit from the dynamic, entrepreneurial and innovative spirit that makes Israel unique.

Students with a drive to excel and tackle real-world problems should look no further. For more information on the country’s academic system, its higher education institutions and the sustainability-related projects they’re implementing, visit israelacademia.che.org.il or read the Israeli Academia eZine.

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