Two new Minerva Centers in Israel

Schavan and Minerva Managing Director Stratmann announce winners of call for applications in Tel Aviv

October 17, 2012
There will be two new Minerva Research Centers in Israel in future. Federal Minister Annette Schavan and Martin Stratmann, Managing Director of the Minerva Foundation, today announced the winners of the call for applications for the new Centers at the Minerva German-Israeli Science Festival in Jerusalem.

Annette Schavan said: “I have every confidence that the Centers programme will continue to make a longstanding contribution to the successful collaboration between German and Israeli academics and institutions, and augment the diversity of our cooperation in science and research in our mutual interests. It will also enhance the standing of Germany and Israel as high-tech nations in global competition for innovation.”

Martin Stratmann explained:There are good reasons for continuing a successful programme even after 50 years. One key criterion is obviously demonstrating the desire to meet changing requirements. I regard the Minerva Foundation as a platform and vehicle for the continual exchange of ideas and scientists between Germany and Israel. Assuming responsibility for that is an enthralling prospect.”

The competition theme was “Living Under Extreme Conditions.” Professor Oded Aharonson of the Weizmann Institute of Science and his team were selected with their topic “The emergence and evolution of early life under extreme planetary conditions.” The new Minerva Center in Rehovot will conduct research into the geological conditions of life on earth and the geochemical processes required for the emergence of life. It will examine to what extent the conditions under which life once emerged differ from current life conditions. These findings may provide answers as to the possible existence of life on other planets.

The other successful topic is the “Study of the rule of law under extreme conditions.” The research activities of the new Minerva Center will focus on fundamental democratic values and will investigate how resilient the law is under extreme conditions. Maintaining the rule of law in times of crisis presents a challenge for all democratically constituted states. Professor Eli Salzberger of the University of Haifa and his team, together with researchers from the University of Hamburg, will conduct research into the provisions stipulated by codified law in the event of crisis situations based on international comparison. Empirical analysis will also be carried out into the form of actual implementation in crisis situations and times of upheaval.

The Minerva Foundation GmbH is a subsidiary of the Max Planck Society and promotes scientific collaboration between Germany and Israel. It has set up 30 Minerva Centers at Israeli universities and at the Weizmann Institute, where German and Israeli scientists cooperate in all academic disciplines. The Minerva Foundation also supports academic symposia and projects at the Weizmann Institute and awards fellowships to scientists from both countries.

The announcement was made today at the Minerva German-Israeli Science Festival at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Schavan also met with Gideon Sa'ar, the Israeli Education Minister, and Daniel Herschkowitz, the Minister for Science and Technology, on her visit to Israel.


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