While Israel is considered by many to be enjoying a golden era of technology, analysts see cause for alarm and have begun to worry that the nation may find itself lagging behind other emerging countries due to a shortage of trained personnel in the rapidly growing high-tech sector — particularly in the internet and software fields. Given the sector’s centrality to the country’s economy and security, this shortage is cause for considerable concern.
The Israel Innovation Authority now is projecting a deficit of qualified tech workers in the coming decade. In response, Israel’s Council for Higher Education has directed the State’s educational institutions to expand its computer science expertise and the number of graduates — and the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology has taken up the challenge.
The Technion has launched a major expansion plan to help Israel maintain its advantage in computer science engineering and deliver invaluable innovations to the world. In its current form, the Faculty of Computer Science has reached a saturation point and cannot increase the number of graduates without adding physical space. Since its founding 50 years ago, the Technion’s computer science faculty has produced graduates who have become leaders powering Israel’s tech industry. The faculty’s achievements have consistently earned it a coveted place in the global rankings.
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The Technion will design and construct a 75,000-square foot building adjacent to the Henry and Marilyn Taub and Family Science and Technology Center. This additional space will allow the Technion to attract and retain the best faculty members, and expand research activities in established and emerging fields.
The student population cannot be increased without simultaneously increasing the number of faculty members. The current student-to-faculty ratio is significantly higher than at leading U.S. universities. The aim is to increase the staffing from its current level of 54 to 65 faculty members and to expand the student population from 230 to 280 full-time graduate students, mostly Ph.D. candidates, and from 1,880 to 2,000 undergraduate students.
Recruiting and retaining graduate students and faculty members depends on being able to provide them with state-of-the-art facilities in an attractive physical space, particularly given the competition from industry and other leading international universities. The new building will house classrooms, seminar and meeting rooms, auditoriums, laboratories, faculty and researcher offices, study rooms, and underground parking.
The building expansion is projected for completion in 2024. An estimated two-year Planning Phase, which will entail developing plans, securing permits and issuing bids, will be followed by the Construction Phase, also estimated to take two years.