Archive For The “Israeli Tech” Category
Israel’s Amos-17 satellite by Ramat Gan-based company Spacecom was successfully launched into space overnight Wednesday in Cape Canaveral, Florida. The launch, aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, came almost three years after a spectacular launchpad explosion destroyed Spacecom’s Amos-6 satellite and the SpaceX rocket it was on in September 2016.
This article originally appeared in NoCamels.com
AMOS-6 was then touted as Israel’s most advanced satellite, operated by Spacecom and developed with its partner, the Israel Aerospace Industries. Its goal was to beam free internet across sub-Saharan Africa as part of a project with Facebook. The tech giant had in 2015 launched Internet.org, a non-profit initiative that would bring together technology leaders, nonprofit organizations and local communities to provide Internet access to the most remote regions of the world.
The Amos-17, built by Boeing, will have much the same objective: to provide satellite communication services including broadband and high-speed data services to Africa as well as the Middle East and Europe.
The satellite was originally scheduled to be launched on Saturday but was delayed to fix a suspected faulty valve during tests.
Once operational, Amos-17 will be the most technologically advanced satellite over Africa, providing extensive C-Band HTS capabilities, Ka-Band and Ku-Band to a range of markets, and combining broad regional beams and high throughput spot beams to maximize throughput and spectral efficiency, Spacecom says.
Amos-17 will operate from 17° East to expand and strengthen Spacecom’s coverage of the growing satellite service markets in the continent which suffers from snail-pace internet speeds and inadequate infrastructure. According to a 2018 joint report by the World Wide Web Foundation, the Alliance for Affordable Internet, and UN Women, internet penetration across the continent stands at 22 percent.
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To get connectivity via Amos-17, a simple solar-powered terminal is required, the Times of Israel reported citing remarks at a press conference last month by Eran Shapiro, director of business and technology ventures at Spacecom.
Spacecom says the Amos-17 “will be a state-of-the-art multi-band high-throughput satellite, utilizing Boeing’s advanced digital processor platform, that will provide reliable and flexible satellite solutions and offer a significant competitive advantage for our customers.”
The satellite’s “inherent flexibility of the digital platform with a mix of fixed and steerable beams ensures a fast response to changing customers’ needs.”
The $250 million Amos-17 is expected to operate for at least 20 years.
This article was originally posted by NoCamels.com
No matter how hard we try, living a sustainable life is a constant uphill battle. We carry around metal straws and reusable bags to cut down on plastic consumption, turn off the water while brushing our teeth to conserve, try to buy organic produce to support sustainable agriculture. And yet, we all have a carbon footprint – some negative environmental impact that is just unavoidable.
Our planet’s resources – clean water, soil, clean air – are not infinite and Earth Overshoot Day, when humankind will have used up its allowance of resources for the year (according to calculations by the Global Footprint Network, a sustainability-focused think tank), was marked earlier this week. Five months early.
Israeli entrepreneurs Jonathan Haran and Victor Hajaj want to see drastic transformation in how we think about resources and consumption rates. And they’re aiming to effect this change on the societal and communal level.
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“All the resources we need for living are part of the food-water-energy-nexus,” Haran tells NoCamels in a phone interview. “That’s all we need.”
Societies, he says, have just not understood this well enough yet, and so many municipalities, regions, and countries are managing the three realms independently of each other. “That’s inefficient because, on a macro level, food, water and energy really cannot be separated from each other. They are inseparably intertwined,” he explains.
The leapfrog in sustainability can therefore only come from an approach that sees this nexus as a whole, and enables innovation in all three sectors, he says.
Haran and Hajaj founded The Sustainable Group in 2017, an initiative that seeks to establish sustainable neighborhoods, with a focus on developing countries, while integrating technological systems “to provide for residents’ basic human needs without being dependent upon state infrastructures,” the group says. At a later stage, the systems may provide resources for the wider infrastructure network.
These technological systems include energy production systems (sun, steam, solar, hydrogen, turbines, wind, etc), food production systems (hydroponic greenhouses, aquaponics, permaculture and organics), water production and desalination systems, infrastructure and innovative sewage systems, computing systems that manage resources and report malfunctions, and construction and development systems, the group says.
Working with a team of top-notch scientists from different professional backgrounds, The Sustainable Group has developed two core products.
First is the “Village in a Box,” a complete, shippable construction set to build a fully integrated village with an infrastructure solution that supplies communities with housing, energy, food, and water.
“Especially in remote areas that have weak infrastructure, taking this decentralized approach can have a huge impact,” Haran tells NoCamels. By giving communities their own, independent water, energy and food supplies, residents can use renewable energy and tap into the synergy of systems to their full extent, growing food locally through vertical farming, putting the village’s waste to good use and recycling water, he says. It can be an incredibly efficient approach to resource management which directly translates into as much as a 35 percent decrease in costs of living, Haran adds.
“The questions we looked at were: What will the future of community and housing look like? What challenges will humanity face? Should our homes be flexible and smart and know how to work for us, to create economic and existential security for us? Yes! How do we do that?” Haran wrote in a Facebook post earlier this year.
The challenge, he wrote, is “how to deliver more infrastructure solutions that will keep up with the fast growth of population and know how to adapt to changes. Village-in-a-box is the future of communities. A community that is sustainable and resilient; productive and self-sufficient. It can be built anywhere on the globe,” he said.
And the model is not just for villages. After all, big population centers around the world are where most resources are squandered, and where fundamental change could have the greatest impact.
The Sustainable Group is offering its resource-distribution software as a separate service. The AI mechanism is designed to learn the behavior of both humans and the environment, to understand how everything works together, after which it will be able to tell the integrated food-water-energy-system how to use its current resources in the most sustainable way.
“With that, we can save 30 percent of wasted energy, which leads to an impressive cost reduction,” says Haran.
The software is still in development and “should be done by the end of the year,” Haran tells NoCamels. “This ‘software-only’ solution would be great for cities or for industry, basically for everyone who wants to apply real-time resource management.”
The Sustainable Group recently participated in the Chivas Venture Competition, a no-strings-attached $1 million contest first founded in 2014 for social entrepreneurs with big ideas for solving the world’s biggest social and environmental issues. The Israeli group made to the finals, but the top spot went to a project from Mexico that proposes to convert agricultural waste into a natural sugar substitute.
The Sustainable Group is now focused on a joint venture with the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies to build a neighborhood based on its proposed model as a sort of proof-of-concept. Construction is set to begin next year in a kibbutz close to Mizpe Ramon. The village has been dubbed “Qayma” for now and registration for the first carbon-negative village in Israel is open.
“That’s a great place to start,” explains Haran “since Mizpe Ramon is the most remote city in Israel. If it works here, in the middle of the desert, that’s great proof that it can work anywhere in the world.” And especially in developing countries where many people are at “the mercy of nature,” the group says. Humankind, they write, has already severely impacted natural systems through “air pollution, mining and as a result of the quick development of unsustainable energy based on fossil fuels, the destruction of the oceans of fish stocks, pollution of streams and deep aquifers, deforestation, harm to the food chain and natural ecology that plants and animals depend on.” This is especially felt in these countries.
Haran and Hajaj also want to show that living sustainably has nothing to do with being a “tree hugger,” as Haran emphasizes. “Sustainability is for everyone, and The Sustainable Group aims to give back control over resource consumption to the communities themselves. That is not just a selfless social endeavor, but also highly economical.”
The project is garnering interest in neighboring countries and communities in Israel, Haran says. Resource scarcity is especially pronounced in the Middle East. Haran tells NoCamels that The Sustainable Group is “already working with some Bedouin and Arab communities in Israel,” and would like to see more such cooperation in the future.
For now, the pilot project in Mizpe Ramon will be the next big step on the way to sustainable community living.
Startup Genome’s 2019 Global Startup Ecosystem Report (GSER), one of the world’s most comprehensive reports on startup ecosystems and subsector trends, firmly states that there will be no “next Silicon Valley.”
Instead, there will be 30 “next” hubs throughout the world that don’t quite achieve the density of the Bay Area, but do go beyond “critical mass” driven by regional or sub-sector leadership, the report explains.
Among them are New York City, London, Beijing, Boston, and Shanghai, five cities the report claims to have as much VC funding in startups as Silicon Valley had in 1998. But also on the list – in sixth place overall – is Tel Aviv, Israel’s finance and tech capital, which has helped earn the country’s reputation as the “Startup Nation” with more startups per capita than anywhere in the world.
The report, released in May this year and published annually since 2012, is a joint effort between Startup Genome, a management consulting firm that advises startups, and the Global Entrepreneurship Network (GEN), a producer of projects and platforms for entrepreneurs in 170 different countries. Startup Genome has collaborated with more than 300 partner organizations for over a decade and has collected data on over a million companies across 150 cities.
The 2019 rankings included a total of nine “success factors” that were used to evaluate the ecosystems: performance, funding, market reach, talent, experience, connectedness, knowledge, infrastructure, and policy. After being evaluated by these factors, the startup ecosystems are classified into four general types: leaders, major hubs, momentum, and challengers.
The report dubs Tel Aviv and other cities in the top seven as “leaders,” noting they have “strong performance across many ecosystem success factors, each of them creating at least $30 billion in ecosystem value, with a median of $56 billion.”
Tel Aviv came in sixth behind Silicon Valley, New York City, London, Beijing, and Boston. Los Angeles is on its tail in seventh place followed by Shanghai, Paris, and Berlin, all classified as “major hub startup ecosystems.”
“Tel Aviv’s startup ecosystem is one of the most highly developed in the world. Israel has more startups per capita than any other country and its startups collectively raised $6.47 billion in 2018,” the report quoted Uzi Scheffer, CEO of Israeli-founded global innovation platform SOSA, as saying.
The city received top marks for a number of “success factors,” ranking in the top tier for connectedness, referred to in the report in terms of links the city has to other top global ecosystems, and knowledge, as a result of “a culture of founders helping founders, frequent events, and entrepreneurs getting meaningful help from local experts and investors.”
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Tel Aviv’s abundance in tangible IP, in the form of patents, research, and favorable policy environments leads to its strong performance in the knowledge category, according to the survey. In the IP commercialization sub-factor, Tel Aviv scored 10 (out of 10).
The city also ranked in the second tier for performance, talent, experience, funding and market reach. Since Tel Aviv operates within a small local market, the ecosystem sells to global customers at high rates – over 50 percent of Tel Aviv’s startups’ customers are foreigners, the report says. A small local market facilitates an ecosystem’s globality and scale.
Imagine an entirely flat and modular platform in which the motor, steering, suspension, drivetrain, sensing, brakes, thermal systems, and electronics are all integrated into the vehicle’s wheels. All components previously found under the hood of the car would now be incorporated into the vehicle base, and the inner wheel space would contain electric motors and a miniature gearbox, with this revolutionary design.
Cars have come a long way since they first emerged at the dawn of the 20th century. The first “modern motorcar” was the 1901 Mercedes, which could reach a peak speed of 53 miles (85 km/h) per hour. In 1908, American automaker Ford introduced the Ford Model T, the first affordable automobile credited with revolutionizing modern transportation.
The automobile granted individuals greater independence and mobility and spurred the growth of outdoor recreation, tourism, and construction. Although car ownership is virtually universal in the developed world today, the automotive industry is anything but static – autonomous vehicles, electric and hybrid cars, electrification of infrastructure, connected cars, and shared transport are all megatrends now remaking the auto industry.
Israel is a leading player in the transforming auto industry, with some 500 startups and companies in the auto tech arena. These companies’ efforts range from detecting sleepy drivers to creating digital cockpits, developing electrified infrastructure that can charge electric vehicles while in full motion over smart roads, intelligent transport systems, vehicle cybersecurity, and satellite navigation technologies.
Tel Aviv-based company REE has emerged from stealth mode this month after six years of development to introduce its unprecedented approach to vehicle design and functions, specifically for the electric vehicle (EV) market. This market, which includes both hybrid and electric battery-operated vehicles, is especially promising but still relatively small with just over two million units sold in 2018. The two main challenges it faces are cost and logistics. Battery packs are cumbersome and expensive, even as costs are falling, and charging infrastructure requires major investment.
REE sought to flip the script on these gaps and developed an entirely flat and modular platform in which the motor, steering, suspension, drivetrain, sensing, brakes, thermal systems, and electronics are all integrated into the vehicle’s wheels. All components previously found under the hood of the car would now be incorporated into the vehicle base, and the inner wheel space would contain electric motors and a miniature gearbox, with REE’s design.
The goal, REE said in a statement this month, was to “fundamentally change[s] the way electric vehicles are built to power widespread vehicle electrification.”
This design is a crucial addition to the electric and autonomous vehicle revolution and can be adapted to the use of SUVs, trucks and personal and shared vehicle models.
REE says the design’s low center of gravity maximizes efficiency and supports agility and stability and the integrated wheel offers manufacturers freedom for body configurations. The flat platform would reduce the weight of the vehicle by 33 percent, allowing for a higher load per ride while also freeing up space by 67 percent, reducing costs and increasing efficiency, according to the company.
REE co-founder and CEO Daniel Barel told Interesting Engineering in an exclusive interview this month ahead of the launch that “the single biggest expenditure for an OEM [original equipment manufacturer] auto manufacturer is the platform…it costs billions, it takes years, and each OEM has between two and six platforms at any given moment, and two or three in development. We went in and said ‘what if you might need only one? That might be worth something.”
Israel’s Magen David Adom (MDA), an emergency medical care and disaster response provider, announced that it inaugurated its new ‘Sea-Bulance’ service to assist people in need of critical medical treatment and rescue while at sea.
The Sea-Bulance currently operates in the Sea of Galilee, a freshwater lake in northern Israel known in Hebrew as the Kinneret. MDA said the boat, a whale r500 professional, can reach speeds of up to 35 knots (more than 60 km / h) and can travel from one side of the Sea of Galilee to the other in just 10 minutes.
It is equipped with advanced medical tools including a defibrillator, ventilation equipment, and a stretcher, and can carry up to six people, MDA said.
The Sea-Bulance enables the paramedics to arrive “with advanced medical equipment to patients while they are still in the waters of Lake Kinneret, thus saving critical minutes, versus cases where the injured person receives medical treatment only when he reaches the shore.”
MDA said that last summer, its medics treated over 160 people rescued from the waters around the country, including seven who drowned on the shores of the Sea of Galilee.
“MDA did not wait for the next event and launched the Sea-Bulance in order to save lives,” the organization said in a statement.
“The boat is designed to provide medical assistance to all those who need us on the beach and especially in the water, including people who drowned, who are on a boat and feel bad, or those who were injured in a vessel accident,” explained the head of MDA Immediate Response Force, Yossi Halabi in the statement. “The bow of the boat opens and allows a quick and easy bringing the victim to the boat, within the water area.”
MDA said the Sea-Bulance has already been used in a number of occasions over the past week to treat a man who suffered a severe allergic reaction, a man who felt unwell while in the waters, a windsurfer who was in distress, and a young woman who was injured during a cruise. The boat also helped in the rescue of a man and his grandchildren who were stuck miles from shore due to their boat’s technical malfunction, and in the search of a man who was feared to be drowning in the waters, the organization added.
Magen David Adom Director-General Eli Bin said in the statement that the organization was “constantly thinking about saving lives, and with the Sea-Bulance we can provide medical treatment in water, in cases where every minute is critical.”
The boat was purchased with a donation. Note: This article originally appeared on NoCamels.com
Israel will not attempt a second mission to the moon after all, Israeli non-profit SpaceIL, the organization behind Israel’s historic initiative to land a spacecraft on the moon, said this week. This despite a previous and much-publicized announcement that it would launch a second spacecraft, just days after its first one, Beresheet, crash-landed on the lunar surface.
The crash on April 11 dashed Israel’s hopes of becoming the fourth country in the world (after Russia, China, and the US) to complete a controlled lunar landing.
Instead of another moon mission, SpaceIL said it would seek out “another, significant objective for Beresheet 2.0.” The details of the endeavor were not yet known.
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“Beresheet’s journey to the moon, despite its difficult landing, is etched into our consciousness in Israel and the world as successful, ground-breaking and significant to the nature of future mission by humans to the moon,” SpaceIL said (Hebrew) on its social media channels.
SpaceIL said the feedback received over the past months from global space experts point to the mission being perceived as a “resounding success that broke many world records” including that it was the smallest spacecraft built on a shoestring budget (estimated $100 million) in the world to have made it to the moon, traveling the largest distance there. It was also the only moon mission to have been largely privately funded.
“Embarking on a similar journey would not set the bar required for ground-breaking missions. Therefore, it’s been decided to seek another significant challenge,” SpaceIL said.
Details of the new mission will follow, the organization said.
Last month, NASA released a photo of the crash site of Israel’s Beresheet lunar lander. The photo was taken by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera (LROC) 11 days after the spacecraft crashed into the moon’s surface. NASA has partnered with SpaceIL on key aspects of the mission.
Left: Beresheet crash site, M1310536929R. Right: Ratio of after/before images enhancing subtle changes to brightness of the surface, M1310536929R/M1098722768L, scale bar is 100 meters, north is up, both panels are 490 meters wide. (NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University)
The mission was launched on February 22 (Israel time), riding piggyback on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. Beresheet had orbited the Earth and then the moon, traveling 6.5 million km before attempting its landing.
Initial data gathered by the engineering teams of SpaceIL and IAI suggested that at just mere meters from the lunar surface, a technical glitch triggered a chain of events that caused the main engine of the spacecraft to malfunction, making it impossible to stop Beresheet’s velocity. Beresheet overcame the issue by restarting the engine, but it was too late and the spacecraft crashed.
National Geographic recently added Beresheet to its moon map exploring 50 years of lunar visits. Its first such map was created in 1969 as the Apollo 11 mission closed in on its goal.
The new version of the map “uses a mosaic of some 15,000 images and detailed height measurements from NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, which has surveyed the entire surface,” National Geographic wrote.
Israeli insurance startup Voom now offers insurance for drones, small private planes, small boats, motorcycles or e-scooters, and on an individual per-use basis.
In 2018, more than 1,500 people were injured in e-scooter related accidents across the US, according to a recent study. In Israel alone, the number of deaths that involved personal electric vehicles rose from seven in 2017 to 19 in the following year, just when e-scooters pioneered the local market.
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Despite the risk, adequate insurance coverage for e-scooters and other personal transportation devices is missing. Enter Voom, an Israeli insurance platform for specialized mobility, that is developing an on-demand, telematics-based solution for “everything you can ride, fly or sail”.
“In all of these markets that are considered a ‘niche’, although they are accounting for billions of dollars in premiums, insurance is really lagging behind,” CEO Tomer Kashi tells NoCamels. Insurance companies currently do not differentiate between customer’s individual risk profiles. “It is like going to the supermarket and everyone pays the same for their shopping cart, no matter what they are buying – it’s not a great idea,” Kashi points out.
To solve this problem, Voom’s solution will include two pillars: an on-demand and per-use basis combined with an individual AI-risk analysis.
“For many modes of mobility the insurance product already exists. However, the entire underwriting and risk profiling is very primitive,” Kashi explains. “Let’s say I have a jetski. One person is using it almost every day, and another one uses it only twice a year. There is no reason that they should pay the same.”
Bill Ford, executive chairman of US automaker Ford Motor Company, officially opened the Ford Research Center in Tel Aviv on Wednesday to tap into Israel’s vast wealth of innovative mobility startups.
The new center, located in southern Tel Aviv, will serve as a research incubator that will “work with Ford’s research and development teams around the world to enhance the capabilities of Ford’s products by identifying technologies and startups in connectivity, sensors, vehicle interior monitoring and cyber protection,” the company said.S
The center will include a vehicle lab that will support programming tests and be available to Ford’s Israeli subsidiary SAIPS to continue its work in the automotive field.
Portions of this article were originally published in NoCamels.comS
“Opening the center is really important for us because young companies, young entrepreneurs don’t know how to access a company like Ford,” Ford told the crowd of industry insiders and startups in the research center located at the Adgar 360 tower. “By opening the center, we hope to alleviate those positions and make it easier for Israeli entrepreneurs not only to find us, but also to get to know us.”
Ford noted that it was the Israeli tech community’s ability to adapt to the rapidly changing automotive industry that really sold him on Israel.
“The ecosystem of startups I’ve seen here is just remarkable,” he added.
“No company can do it alone. No company should try to do it alone. We need partnerships,” he continued.
“We recognize the importance of being in one of the world’s leading innovation communities and ecosystems,” said Ford in a statement prior to the event. “This new center is not only an expansion of our existing Research and Innovation centers but provides an opportunity to join a growing innovation community in Israel.”
The center will work closely with SAIPS, the Israel-based computerized computing and vision imaging company, led by CEO and founder Udi Danino, who will also serve as the technical director of the new center. Ford acquired the company in 2016.
“The new research center in Israel will strengthen Ford’s effort to leverage the automotive expertise and technology accumulated in the company to develop solutions to present and future mobility challenges,” Danino said in a statement marking the launch. “Expanding Ford’s presence in Israel will enable us to identify quality technologies and collaborate with leading companies more quickly.”
The research center joins Ford’s other global research centers in Aachen, Germany, Nanjing, capital of China’s eastern Jiangsu province, and Dearborn, Michigan.
Tel-Aviv based startup Orca Security received $6.5 million in seed funding from American-Israeli venture capital firm YL Ventures.
Founded by former Check Point executives Avi Shua and Gil Geron, Orca Security developed a cybersecurity solution that provides full-stack visibility into all organizational assets, including cloud infrastructure, operating systems, applications, and data.
Portions of this article were original published on NoCamels.com
Orca Security said in a statement that the funding will help the company in “its mission to provide organizations with seamless full-stack visibility into their complete cloud infrastructure footprint, all without complex and costly per-asset integration.
The company says its patent-pending SideScanning technology delivers comprehensive visibility into the security posture of an organization’s complete cloud footprint “in a matter of minutes.”
The acceleration of cloud infrastructures as a way to hold data storage and sensitive information has caused security teams to fall short, “struggling with last generation tools to achieve the visibility they need to manage risk,” the company said.
“When Avi and Gil introduced us to Orca’s unique approach and innovative solution, we knew it did something new and exceptional that traditional vulnerability managers and existing cloud security posture managers simply can’t; deliver true, deep and near instantaneous full stack visibility at a forensic level of detail,” said Yoav Leitersdorf, managing partner at YL Ventures.
“Organizations shouldn’t be forced to choose between slowing down innovation and accepting unseen and unmanaged risks,” Avi Shua, Orca CEO and co-founder said. “With Orca, IT and security operations teams gain unprecedented visibility over their entire cloud footprint allowing them…to be partners in innovation rather than putting the brakes on it.”
The Orca Cloud Visibility Platform is currently available in limited quantities to qualified customers. General availability will be in late 2019.
Coral reefs around the world have been slowly dying due to the effects of climate change and rising sea temperatures, as well as growing local pressures such as pollution, fishing practices, and physical harm.
However, the northern Red Sea between Africa and Asia has acted as a “thermal refugia” that protect marine life from this imminent destruction, showing resistance to rising temperatures and stress induced by global warming, according to scientists. The phenomenon has piqued the interest of regional researchers – led by Israel – who are partnering for a unique trans-national collaboration on the study, monitoring, and protection of the Red Sea coral reef ecosystems.
The research partnership is the brainchild of Professor Maoz Fine, a marine biologist from the Mina and Everard Goodman Faculty of Life Sciences at Bar-Ilan University. Dubbed the Red Sea Transnational Research Center, it will include partners from Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, Eritrea, Sudan, Yemen, and Djibouti. Since Israel does not have formal ties with a majority of these countries – save Jordan and Egypt with which it has peace treaties – the center will be led by Switzerland’s Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), Bar-Ilan University said in a statement.
[This article was originally published by NoCamels.com]
In March, the Swiss foreign minister inaugurated the center in Bern surrounded by diplomats and researchers from throughout the region. Prof. Fine believes that the idea of collaboration between these historically adverse nations through science is what motivated the Swiss government to participate, highlighting the idea of “diplomacy for science, and science for diplomacy,” he tells NoCamels.
“Reefs recognize no borders and are affected by any neighboring country. So, we have to take action and coordinate in order to solve the complex geopolitical situation in the region,” he says in a phone interview.
The center will unite scientists from a wide range of disciplines including oceanography, biology, genetics, ecology, geology, nature conservancy, civil and environmental engineering, the university said, and will make direct use of already existing research platforms such as the Inter-University Institute for Marine Sciences in Eilat and the Jordanian Marine Station in the Gulf of Aqaba. New monitoring stations will also be created.