U. Haifa, Texas A&M team up on Mediterranean observatory

Julie Wiener

(JTA) — Texas A&M University and the University of Haifa announced joint plans to establish a major Mediterranean observatory to study oceanography and the atmosphere.

The planned observatory, announced in a statement on Monday, will cost more than $5.5 million and will be called the Texas A&M — University of Haifa Eastern Mediterranean Observatory.

The observatory will draw on the expertise of Texas A&M faculty conducting similar research efforts in the Gulf of Mexico. The Mediterranean and Gulf of Mexico “are viewed as similar bodies of water and thus provide unique opportunities for comparative analysis of their related impacts on the environment, industry and people of their regions,” according to the statement issued by Texas A&M.

“This teaching and research partnership is a critical step for Texas A&M University on its way to becoming a $1 billion-a-year research giant,” John Sharp, chancellor of the Texas A&M University System, said. “Who wouldn’t want to work with Israel — literally the subject of the book “Start-up Nation”— where innovation is not only necessary, it is valued?”

READ: Texas A&M to build branch campus in Israel

Amos Shapira, president of the University of Haifa, said: “This collaboration with one of the biggest and best universities in the United States strengthens the role of the University of Haifa as the leading university in Israel in the field of marine sciences. Our understanding on what is happening in the deep water around Israel’s shores is one of strategic importance because the sea is the future of the state of Israel and all of humanity.”

The Haifa observatory will, according to the statement, “receive and transmit data from two moorings in the Levant Basin of the eastern Mediterranean Sea.”

READ: University of Haifa signs agreement with Cleveland State University

The joint project also will bring faculty from both universities together for symposiums, joint research projects and other programming.

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