Mediterranean Sea Research Center of Israel (MERCI) Leading the Study of the Mediterranean in Israel

The accelerated development in the waters within Israel’s Exclusive Economic Zone has increased the importance of addressing the needs of Israeli academic and research communities studying the Mediterranean. The activities currently taking place in this field present many future opportunities for Israel. They also pose unprecedented challenges that require, first and foremost, the development of local expertise equipped to deal with the wide range of scientific, economic, social, environmental, and security implications of marine development.

MERCI was established in 2012. The organization is led by the University of Haifa and unites all the research universities in Israel, one college, and two national research institutes. The center received initial funding from the Planning and Budgeting Committee ( to be used towards infrastructure establishment. This budget was primarily invested in establishing the necessary infrastructure for advanced scientific research of the Mediterranean. The scientific community needs additional resources to enable ongoing, long-term research.

Unprecedented development off Israel’s coast in the Mediterranean Sea, especially the development of gas reservoirs and related infrastructure, presents both major challenges and enormous potential. Rational and sustainable development and leveraging of technological and scientific opportunities require highly developed infrastructures for monitoring and conducting marine research, alongside educating a workforce with the appropriate expertise and skills.

The Mediterranean Sea Research Center of Israel (MERCI) is a consortium of ten research universities, one college, and two government research institutes led by the University of Haifa:

  • University of Haifa
  • Technion – Israel Institute of Technology
  • The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
  • Ben-Gurion University of the Negev
  • Bar-Ilan University
  • Tel Aviv University
  • Weizmann Institute of Science
  • Ruppin Academic Center
  • Reichman University (IDC Herzliya)
  • Israel Oceanographic and Limnological Research (IOLR) 
  • Geological Survey of Israel
  • The Open University of Israel
  • Ariel University

The center’s goal is to pool resources at the national level in order to address the variety of scientific, technological, economic, security, and environmental challenges and opportunities presented in the Mediterranean.

The center’s activities focus on:

  • Developing the modern, scientific infrastructure needed to study the coastal and offshore Eastern Mediterranean
  • Establishing and improving the advanced and innovative research infrastructures necessary in order to conduct marine research
  • Promoting scientific expertise and national databases in the field of marine sciences
  • Ensuring the sustainable development of Israel’s natural resources in the eastern basin of the Mediterranean Sea
  • Leveraging local opportunities for leadership in international marine sciences and technology development

The Mediterranean Sea Research Center of Israel is leading the nation forward through research and collaborations