THE TECHNION, ISRAEL INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY, IS A PUBLIC RESEARCH UNIVERSITY IN HAIFA ESTABLISHED IN 1912. IT IS THE OLDEST UNIVERSITY IN ISRAEL, OFFERING DEGREES IN SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING, ARCHITECTURE, MEDICINE, INDUSTRIAL MANAGEMENT AND EDUCATION. TECHNION GRADUATES HAVE BEEN CRUCIAL IN PROVIDING THE SKILLS AND EDUCATION/PREPARATION NEEDED FOR THE GROWTH AND PROTECTION OF THE STATE OF ISRAEL.
By Jason Rayman
The Technion-Israel Institute of Technology’s dramatic impact on the Jewish State—and the entire world—cannot be overstated. Technion students, graduates, and professors are the foundation of Israel’s innovation-based, “Startup Nation” economy, which has earned international acclaim and three Nobel Prizes for the Haifa-based university. Intel, IBM, Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, Apple, and other tech giants have established headquarters in Israel, specifically to draw upon Technion intellect and creativity. Noteworthy innovations such as the ReWalk (an exoskeleton which allows mobility to paraplegics), the Parkinson’s drug Rasagiline, and the Iron Dome missile defense system all emanated from the Technion, as well as everyday technologies such as flash drives, drip irrigation, and instant messaging.
From humble beginnings to Nobel Prizes
Founded in 1912—36 years before Israeli statehood—the Technion was established to educate the engineers who laid the fundamental infrastructure for a modern state. Over the next century, the university evolved at an extraordinary pace, quickly becoming a global leader in biotechnology, medicine, satellite research, computer science, nanotechnology and energy. Along the way, the Technion was also instrumental in developing Israel’s aerospace and defense capabilities. Throughout the upheaval and change, the Technion remained at the forefront of the nation’s activities, from producing technologies for guaranteeing Israel’s future security, to planning cooperative regional research projects.
Today, Technion graduates are pioneers of Israel’s remarkable entrepreneurial revolution. Their numbers and impact are staggering, comprising 70% of the founders and managers in the Israeli high-tech industry, launching over 2,000 companies, developing more than 100,000 jobs, and generating $28 billion through mergers and acquisitions.
The Technion’s crowning achievements are the three Nobel Prizes earned by sitting professors since 2008. Distinguished Professors Aaron Ciechanover and Avram Hershko earned their Nobel Prizes in 2004 for the discovery of ubiquitin-mediated protein degradation, and Distinguished Professor Dan Shechtman earned his in 2011, for the discovery of quasicrystals.
Impressive legacy of support from the U.S.A and especially Florida
Based in New York City, the American Technion Society (ATS) provides critical support to the Technion. Celebrating its 75th Anniversary in 2015, the ATS and its generous donors have provided the Technion with more than $2 billion in scholarships, fellowships, faculty recruitment and chairs, research, buildings, laboratories, classrooms, dormitories, and more.
The ATS Southern Region, headquartered in Boca Raton, is a major source of Technion backing. With activities in Miami, South Palm Beach, and Palm Beach, as well as Naples and Sarasota, Technion supporters in Florida have established a long and powerful legacy, changing the face of the Technion campus with their collective generosity. Florida-based Technion philanthropy has provided major research and teaching facilities, as well as modern on-campus housing.
Each year, ATS invites a diverse and exciting slate of Technion speakers to Florida, sharing the latest discoveries and breakthroughs with interested local audiences. These speakers/lecturers include cutting edge professors and researchers on medicine, green and alternative energies, water desalinization, computer science, and more. Rotating groups of Technion students also visit Florida annually, sharing their impressive experiences from life at Israel’s premier science and technology university.
In recent years, unique events and partnerships have further expanded the Technion’s presence in Florida. Innovations from Technion graduates were at the forefront of a spirited May 2014 “Imagination Israel” presentation at Boca Raton’s Lynn University, co-sponsored by AIPAC and the Jewish Federation of South Palm Beach County, which showcased the latest technologies from the Jewish State. Later that year, the Technion Faculty of Medicine announced a partnership with Florida Atlantic University’s Medical School. In March 2015, ATS hosted a board of directors meeting in Miami, and Technion president, Professor Peretz Lavie, was the focus of a Miami Herald article, highlighting the lessons that Miami’s fledgling technology sector can learn from Israel and the Technion.
Global expansion – New York and China
Technion’s success and know-how is now being expanded on a global scale. In 2011, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg awarded the Technion and its partner, Cornell University, the opportunity to build an applied science and technology campus on New York City’s Roosevelt Island. With The Joan & Irwin Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute at its core, the campus is destined to remake the Big Apple into a hub of innovation and technology, much like the Technion has done in Israel. The institute recently broke ground on the new campus, and announced an extraordinary $100 million gift from Mayor Bloomberg.
On the other side of the globe, the Technion announced in 2013 a joint venture with Shantou University (STU) to build a new academic facility in China’s Guangdong Province. The Technion Guangdong Institute of Technology (TGIT) is sponsored by the Li Ka Shing Foundation with a $130 million grant. TGIT is due to open to students in 2017, with an initial focus on environmental studies.