Technion Launches New Entrepreneurship and Innovation Center

November 12, 2018
Kevin Hattori

The Technion recently won a $2.7 million grant from Israel’s Council for Higher Education for the advancement of entrepreneurship and innovation as part of a “New Campus Vision” competition. Winners were announced by Israeli Education Minister Naftali Bennett and Chair of the CHE’s Planning and Budgeting Committee Prof. Yaffa Zilbershats.

The grant will be used to establish t-hub – The Technion Entrepreneurship and Innovation Center, based on the strategic plan for entrepreneurship and innovation formulated by the university during the past two years. The Technion was the only academic institution to win the competition individually.

“The grant from the Council for Higher Education comes at a perfect time,” said Technion President Prof. Peretz Lavie. “Two years ago we initiated a comprehensive initiative aimed at developing and promoting entrepreneurship and innovation activities on the Haifa campus connecting them to the new branches of Technion in New York and China.  The grant will enable the Technion to make a significant change in the scope of its entrepreneurial activities and to realize the establishment of the Technion Entrepreneurship and Innovation Center, t-hub, which will take the entrepreneurial culture on campus to new heights.”

Since its establishment, the Technion has championed the integration of basic science and applied research, striving to advance scientific knowledge while cultivating the desire to exploit it for the benefit of humanity. The University has long nurtured entrepreneurial thinking, and has pioneered the development of curricula for all students. The first entrepreneurship course was founded 30 years ago on campus, initiated by Distinguished Prof. Dan Shechtman, a Nobel Laureate in chemistry.

Technion alumni are largely responsible for the creation of the “Start-Up Nation.” Since 1995, Technion alumni have established more than 1,600 companies that have generated more than $30 billion and created nearly 100,000 jobs. The university is also regarded worldwide as an incubator that fosters entrepreneurship, and was recently ranked 39th in the world in the number of patents registered in the United States in 2017.

Innovation and entrepreneurship are embedded in Technion’s DNA and much of the research conducted by faculty members has led to applications benefitting Israel and the world. A recent example is Mazor Robotics, which started out in the robotics laboratory of Prof. Moshe Shoham of the Technion Faculty of Mechanical Engineering. The company was recently sold to Medtronic for $1.6 billion.

“Technion goals in entrepreneurship and innovation are to develop and promote technological and scientific excellence among its students, teachers and researchers while providing tools for creative and entrepreneurial thinking,” said Prof. Adam Shwartz, Technion Senior Executive Vice President and Chair of the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Center.  “These tools are designed to solve engineering, technological and scientific challenges over the course of a professional career – whether in start-up companies, in industrial, civilian, or security companies, in companies that benefit the public or in academia. Technion will integrate such thinking and activity in all its components and will establish the Entrepreneurship Center to concentrate, promote, and empower the entrepreneurial culture throughout the campus.”

t-hub will serve as a focal point for all entrepreneurial activities of Technion faculties; will encourage entrepreneurial thinking through teaching, research, and practical experience; and enable each student, faculty member, and others to experience entrepreneurial activities through centralized activities as well as by encouraging local initiatives.

The Center will integrate values of entrepreneurship and creativity into campus culture, in study programs and in applying and commercializing research results with the aim of training engineers and scientists to lead technological innovation in Israel. It will lead in harnessing the scientific activity on campus for the benefit of the Israeli economy and the world.

t-hub will also turn Technion into a leading center for scientific-technological initiatives that will serve the university and its surrounding environment.  The Center will train Israel’s next technology leaders and strengthen its economy out of a national responsibility for promoting Israel through research, development and technology.  The Center will be headed by Prof. Eyal Zussman, the Center’s academic director and Dr. Dana Sheffer.

The Center has many partners among Israel’s leading industrial and hi-tech companies including Teva, Rafael, and Alpha Omega.

“The establishment of an entrepreneurship center at the Technion is a necessary step for the northern region which will lead to a change in the socio-economic situation in the area,” said Technion alumnus Imad Younis, President of Alpha Omega. “In light of the high level of technological education at Technion, and in view of the entrepreneurship gap between Israel’s center and its periphery, Technion is the academic body best suited to connect the various populations in the periphery and lead a significant change in the field of entrepreneurship making it accessible to all.”

“Rafael is proud to be a partner with the Technion, and is happy that it won,” said Technion alumnus Dr. Irit Idan, executive vice president of research development at Rafael. “The two entities have been intertwined for seventy years of partnership. The Entrepreneurship Center at Technion and the Entrepreneurship Center at Rafael in Teradion will work synergistically as a hub for incubation and innovation.”

“Teva is proud to create a new and unique framework of academic-industrial cooperation with Technion, which will support the mutual needs and objectives of both sides to promote Israeli innovation, the development of a talent pool, and to train the next generation of industrial leadership in Israel, especially in bio-pharma,” said Iris Beck-Codner, Executive Vice President of Global Brand & Communications at Teva. “This cooperation represents another tier of Teva’s commitment to the State of Israel – as outlined by the President and CEO Kåre Schultz – while strengthening the company’s global management headquarters in Israel, research and development, and production activities in Israel.”

For more than a century, the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology has pioneered in science and technology education and delivered world-changing impact. Proudly a global university, the Technion has long leveraged boundary-crossing collaborations to advance breakthrough research and technologies. Now with a presence in three countries, the Technion will prepare the next generation of global innovators. Technion people, ideas and inventions make immeasurable contributions to the world, innovating in fields from cancer research and sustainable energy to quantum computing and computer science to do good around the world.

The American Technion Society supports visionary education and world-changing impact through the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology. Based in New York City, we represent thousands of US donors, alumni and stakeholders who invest in the Technion’s growth and innovation to advance critical research and technologies that serve the State of Israel and the global good. Over more than 75 years, our nationwide supporter network has funded new Technion scholarships, research, labs and facilities that have helped deliver world-changing contributions and extend Technion education to campuses in three countries.