With an expected opening in February, Texas A&M University is launching a $6 million marine research center in Israel in collaboration with the University of Haifa. The center will contribute to projects Israel already has underway along the Mediterranean Sea.
Large natural gas deposits have been discovered in the eastern Mediterranean and Sharp [A&M System Chancellor John Sharp] said part of the appeal for the research center in the northern city of Haifa was tapping into the "oil and gas segment in Israel." Work at the center will include monitoring ocean flow and is expected to help mitigate risks associated with offshore exploration.
"We're starting with a $6 million project there but I don't have any doubt that it'll grow exponentially over the years," said Sharp, explaining that research in Israel often leads to startups and new commercial ventures.
"They don't call it 'startup nation' for nothing," he said.
The A&M System has achieved a primary goal of expanding into Israel to take advantage of the country's growing reputation as a high-tech hub.
"There really is a remarkable amount of research and innovation occurring in Israel," said James Hallmark, vice chancellor for academic affairs at A&M. "There's just so much going on there and we wanted to be a part of that."