German and Israeli Research Leaders Join Forces to Launch Global Cybersecurity Center

Jerusalem, 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, have 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 the 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.

The 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.”

About The Hebrew University of Jerusalem

The Hebrew University of Jerusalem is Israel’s premier university as well as its leading research institution. The university is ranked internationally among the leading universities in the world and as first among Israeli universities. The recognition the Hebrew University has attained confirms its reputation for excellence and its leading role in the scientific community. The university encourages multi-disciplinary activities in Israel and overseas and serves as a bridge between academic research and its social and industrial applications. Its outstanding scholars have achieved impressive breakthroughs in a variety of disciplines, publish frequently in the most prestigious scientific journals, and their research has garnered prestigious awards in Israel and worldwide, including the Nobel Prize, the Fields Medal and the Israel Prize. The University is among the very top winners of the European Research Council's competitive grants. One-third of all competitive research grants awarded in Israel are won by Hebrew University scholars. Most PhD holders in Israel earned their degrees at the Hebrew University, and its alumni hold key positions in academia, public service and the business sector.

The School of Computer Science and Engineering at Hebrew University is among the top research institutions in the world in these areas. Research in the School spans a broad variety of fields, including theory of computer science, data science (machine learning, data mining, statistics), computer vision and graphics, distributed and networked systems, cybersecurity, and more. The School is home to the newly founded National Cyber Security Research Center. The research topics of interest in this center include security and cryptography, secure network protocols, robustness of large scale distributed systems and system recovery, faulty identification and zero day attacks, machine learning techniques for identifying threats and suspicious behaviors, and embedded threats in various types of seemingly naive files, secure accessibility of cyber interactions and more. Almost half of the researchers at the School are currently involved in various cybersecurity research aspects.

About Fraunhofer SIT

Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft is an internationally reputed German and Europe’s largest non-profit organization undertaking applied research, with 66 institutes and 24,000 staff in Germany and 7 subsidiaries abroad. Their research activities are aimed at promoting the economic development of today's industrial society with particular regard for social welfare and environmental compatibility and the wider benefit of society, thus reinforcing the competitive strength of the economy throughout Germany and in Europe. The key objective of Fraunhofer is to transform scientific expertise into applications of practical utility. As a link between research and business practice, Fraunhofer contributes considerably to technology transfer towards industry. Of its 2 billion EUR annual research budget, Fraunhofer generates 1.7 billion EUR through contract research with industry and from publicly financed research projects.

The Fraunhofer Institute for Secure Information Technology SIT is at the forefront of research in cybersecurity. More than 170 employees in Darmstadt and Birlinghoven analyze and improve the state of cybersecurity in real-world networks and systems. The team is focused on Internet security, security of critical infrastructures, industrial security (industrial control systems, Industrie 4.0), secure business software, secure hardware and cyberphysical systems, secure software engineering, secure mobile networks and systems, secure cloud computing, privacy, cryptography, media security, and forensics.

Press picture 1: from left: Danny Dolev, Michael Schapira, Haya Shulman, Michael Waidner, Volker Bouffier, Asher Cohen, Isaiah (Shy) Arkin

Press picture 2: from left: Michael Waidner, Volker Bouffier, Asher Cohen

Fraunhofer SIT:

Oliver Küch
+49 6151 869-213

Hebrew University of Jerusalem:

Dov Smith
+972-2-5882844 / +972-54-8820860


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