The University of Haifa today 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 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 frontlines of the country’s quest to pioneer innovative solutions to the public-health challenges presented by COVID-19.

One of seven research universities in Israel, it received more than 20 percent of the government’s coronavirus research grants.

The 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.

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.

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,” explained University of Haifa president Professor Ron Robin. “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.”

Said Rubin: “Our society will be changed forever; it is our role to make sure it is changed for the better.”

© 2020 American Jewish Congress.