Technion Hosts Prime Minister’s Prize Ceremony
November 23, 2010
By: Kevin Hattori
In a ceremony held Thursday, November 18th at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu awarded the first Prime Minister’s Prize for Initiatives and Innovation, under the umbrella of Global Entrepreneurship Week. The prize, which includes more than $20,000 for each recipient, is designed to encourage initiatives, innovative thinking, imagination and creativity and to foster changes in the areas of the environment, society, science, technology and others.
“Israel is ranked sixth out of 160 countries in terms of innovation,” said Technion President Prof. Peretz Lavie, who spoke at the ceremony. “We are performing modern alchemy … we take ideas and make them into products.”
Prize candidates were considered in three categories: “Young people,” “Women” and “Periphery.” The winners were:
Pnina Furst, the winner of the “Young People” category, set up a network that allows employers to find temporary workers immediately using text messages. The text messages are sent to appropriate workers after they confirm their availability, and their details are sent to employers within minutes. The
In the “Women” category, Maya Efrati developed a process that uses a unique, environmentally friendly glue to convert used polyethylene bags into strong, multi-layered sheets that can be made into a variety of products, including purses and wallets.
Ronnie Palmer, in the “Periphery” category, is the founder of the Or Movement, which encourages settlement in the Galilee and the Negev.
“Israel is among the world leaders in initiatives thanks to its human capital,” said Prime Minister Netanyahu. “We have many entrepreneurs who are active in our universities, hi-tech business, and so on, and I welcome this activity … we need to be leaders. The government will advance concrete proposals in the economic sphere in order to ensure that we will continue to maintain our qualitative advantage in innovation and initiatives. These, in the end, are the key to the State of Israel’s economic advantage.”
The Technion-Israel Institute of Technology is Israel’s leading science and technology university. Home to the country’s first winners of the Nobel Prize in science, it commands a worldwide reputation for its pioneering work in nanotechnology, computer science, biotechnology, water-resource management, materials engineering, aerospace and medicine. The majority of the founders and managers of Israel’s high-tech companies are alumni. Based in New York City, the American Technion Society (ATS) is the leading American organization supporting higher education in Israel, with offices around the country.