University of Illinois Signs Research Accord with Technion

November 3, 2017
By: Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity

The University of Illinois System has reached an accord with the Technion, Israel’s most prominent technology university, to participate in joint research projects — the third such alliance announced on Gov. Bruce Rauner’s trade mission to the Middle East country.

(L to R) Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner; Technion Executive Vice President for Research Prof. Wayne Kaplan; and University of Illinois System President Tim Killeen

The Technion-Israel Institute of Technology is among the top 10 technology universities in the world. “By joining forces with this prestigious innovation school, U of I has landed a formidable partner for the Illinois Innovation Network and the Discovery Partners Institute,” Rauner said following the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the two schools.

The Technion is Israel’s oldest university. A premiere center for students interested in science and engineering, it boasts 60 research centers and 12 affiliated teaching hospitals. The school has 14,000 students.

“Technion University has been instrumental in Israel’s rise as a leader in high-tech innovation, and is renowned for research in critical fields such as biotechnology, stem cell science, nanotechnology and energy,” U of I System President Tim Killeen said. “This MOU pairs two giants of discovery, fostering collaborations with world-class researchers in Illinois and Israel to solve global challenges and drive progress and economic growth.”

Technion Executive Vice President for Research Wayne Kaplan said he, too, expects great things, including the furtherance of public-private collaboration.

“We are associated with the concept of technology transfer. And that’s always appealing to the politicians, in Israel especially. Mostly because it’s easy to understand, and its impact on society is almost immediate,” Kaplan said. “What’s harder to convey is that without fundamental research today, you have no new technology in 10 to 15 years.

The governor is on a trade and education mission this week in the State of Israel, traveling with Deputy Gov. Leslie Munger and several top University of Illinois System officials, including Killeen. The visit builds on the announcement of the planned $1.2 billion Discovery Partners Institute in Chicago and the statewide Illinois Innovation Network, a U of I-led enterprise intent on making Illinois the next U.S. innovation hub.

Later in the day, Governor Rauner met with business executives for a roundtable luncheon and then visited with Illinois-based Motorola Solutions Israel. The company demonstrated some of its technological advances including artificial intelligence software, an earthquake warning system and body-worn smart cameras.

Motorola operates an advanced innovation center in Israel, where the global tech giant manufactures public safety radio communications and electronic equipment and is on the cutting edge of defense information systems development and even computerized agricultural applications.

“With our headquarters in Chicago and more than 50 years in Israel, Motorola Solutions is proud to share our story with Gov. Rauner and his delegation,” Dick said. “As we add new public safety software and services to our strong portfolio of mission-critical communications solutions, we’re creating new ways to improve safety and efficiency for our customers.”

“This has been a fruitful trip,” Rauner said, adding that he has met not only with university officials, but also with Israeli business groups, fund managers and government leaders, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

“The academic partnerships we are forging and the technological innovation network we are building will pay dividends for the taxpayers of Illinois, the people of Israel and potentially the world,” he said.