New York and Israel build a high-tech future

New York, well known as a financial center, wants also to become a center of high-tech innovation, and it is turning to Israel for help.

At first glance, Israel may seem a surprising choice for a partner able to help New York reach its goal. With only 8.4 million people, Israel is about the size of New York City. However, the country fosters technological innovation and exports high-tech products and services to the world. Israel has more startups per capita than anywhere outside of Silicon Valley. It leads the world in research and development as a share of gross domestic product.

By partnering with New York, Israel expands its business opportunities.

The seeds of the partnership are already bearing fruit. This spring the new Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute in New York graduated its first class, awarding master’s degrees in health care and computer science. The institute’s goal is to revolutionize how health care is delivered through high-tech innovation.

The institute is a collaboration between the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa, Israel, and New York’s Cornell University. It soon will move its base to the new Cornell Tech campus on Roosevelt Island in New York. (The campus, under construction, will be finished in September 2017.)

Gloved hands working with small electronics (© Technion-Israel Institute of Technology)
The Technion Photovoltaics Laboratory researches the use of nanotechnology to turn light into electricity. (© Technion-Israel Institute of Technology)

The Technion-Cornell program gives students skills in industries historically wedded to New York, such as health care and media, that are seeing technological advances. It also offers a startup program that helps students with doctorates to launch businesses.

Professors from both Cornell and Technion teach the courses, and students have the opportunity to spend a semester studying at Technion’s campus in Haifa. The institute expands Technion’s already extensive international reach.

“I feel this is one of the greatest experiments in academic education in modern times.”

~Peretz Lavie, president, Technion-Israel Institute of Technology

Since 2013, an agreement between the Israeli government and New York’s Colleges of Nanoscale Science and Engineering in Albany (150 miles north of New York City) has fostered cooperation in nanotechnology ventures. The agreement gives Israeli universities and research institutions access to the colleges’ nanoscale technology, resources and expertise.

Peretz Lavie, president of the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, says New York is becoming an “ecosystem of technology, entrepreneurship and innovation.”

Recently, New York and Israel agreed to collaborate on biomedical research as part of a 2017 deal between Technion and the New York Genome Center, an independent, nonprofit research organization. “By bringing together these two industry titans, we are positioning New York at the forefront of the next generation of medical research and discovery,” said New York Governor Andrew Cuomo.

“New York and Israel share an unbreakable bond,” he said.