October 21, 2015 — The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel’s premier university and leading research institution, and the Fraunhofer Institute for Secure Information Technology SIT, the leading institute for applied cybersecurity research in Germany, agreed to jointly create a Fraunhofer Project Center for Cybersecurity in Jerusalem. The planned center is meant to become the leading institution for applied cybersecurity research in Israel, as well as worldwide.

A Memorandum of Understanding was signed today in Jerusalem, during a visit of the President of the Bundesrat and Minister-President of the State of Hessen, Volker Bouffier, to Hebrew University’s Mount Scopus campus. The project center, which initially will use the name Fraunhofer SIT/IL, will focus on researching innovative cybersecurity solutions. According to the memorandum, Fraunhofer SIT and HUJI will conduct targeted research projects, build joint experimentation platforms and research labs and create a strong network of partners from industry, governments and other research organizations.

iStock_000054035772_MediumThe memorandum specifies a number of target areas for the joint research, among them Internet security, security of critical infrastructures, industrial security (Industrie 4.0), cloud security and privacy. To intensify the collaboration, the two parties will exchange knowledge and personnel, and have appointed Dr. Haya Shulman from Fraunhofer SIT and Dr. Michael Schapira from Hebrew University as chief coordinators for the establishment of the new research cooperation.

The President of the Bundesrat and Minister-President of the State of Hessen, Volker Bouffier, in his welcoming address at the signing ceremony in Jerusalem today, said:  “This new partnership strengthens the research cooperation between Israel and Germany, which both have a strong expertise in cybersecurity research and development. Cybersecurity is becoming more and more important for both countries to master the security challenges that are caused by the digital transformation of our society. As the Prime Minister of the State of Hessen I am very happy to say that Hessen has supported this cybersecurity research for a long time and will do so in the future. In today’s complex world the answers to important questions can rarely be found alone and international cooperation is a must for successful innovation. The two parties who join forces in this endeavor are formidable research entities in and of themselves. Together they will become a shining lighthouse in the cybersecurity world and beyond. The cooperation opens the way to new systems and products that protect freedom and democracy and benefit both societies and their economies.”

Prof. Menahem Ben-Sasson, President of The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, said: “It is fitting that in this fiftieth year of diplomatic relations between Israel and Germany, researchers from both countries will begin working together to develop cybersecurity solutions to enhance global security and strengthen our democratic societies. With the ever-increasing importance of data security, we are very pleased to collaborate with Fraunhofer SIT, whose cyber skills are well known, to create a world-class research and development center for computer and network security.”

Prof. Reimund Neugebauer, the President of the Fraunhofer Society, said: “Israel is one of the leading innovation countries and an exciting cooperation partner. With its activities Fraunhofer will connect the two research systems more strongly. Cybersecurity is a central topic for both countries and is a good example of how cooperation may work.”

Prof. Danny Dolev, the head of the National Cyber Security Research Center at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, said:  “We are very happy to form this partnership between The Hebrew University and Fraunhofer SIT, both of which are top research institutions in our two countries. Fraunhofer SIT has an impressive track record, proving its status as the leading institution for applied cybersecurity research in Germany and likely throughout Europe. Both the Hebrew University and Fraunhofer SIT share the vision of creating the world’s leading cybersecurity research institution. The applied approach and expertise of Fraunhofer SIT complement perfectly our academic excellence. Our joint center will be operational immediately. Fraunhofer SIT has proven that it can quickly turn research ideas into solutions, and that means great benefit for our joint projects and our partners.”

Prof. Michael Waidner, Institute Director of Fraunhofer SIT, said: “Jerusalem is the perfect location for the establishment of a project center for cybersecurity of Fraunhofer SIT. Israel is considered the cyber nation, with world-class cybersecurity research and development done across the country. The School for Computer Science and Engineering at The Hebrew University is among the world’s leading research institutions, and is home to one of Israel’s best cybersecurity research teams. Already today we are closely collaborating with our colleagues in Jerusalem on a number of cybersecurity research activities. This gives me strong confidence that what we announce today will soon be one of the most productive and innovative places for applied cybersecurity worldwide. Jerusalem does not only offer a vibrant research and innovation environment, but it is also one of the most attractive cities in the world, located right in the geographic and political center of the country. This will make it easy to establish close working links also with other research centers in Israel, and ultimately to let our collaboration grow into being the leading research institution for cybersecurity research in Israel.”