Chinese Minister at Zhigang Technion

The Chinese Minister of Science and Technology Wang Zhigang recently visited the Technion, meeting with Technion leadership and exploring the tremendous possibilities of future cooperation in research and innovation between Technion and China.

During his visit, Minister Zhigang  met with Nobel Laureate in Chemistry Prof. Dan Shechtman; Technion Senior Executive Vice President Prof. Adam Shwartz; Dean of Undergraduate Studies of the Guangdong Technion-Israel Institute of Technology (GTIIT) Prof. Moshe Eizenberg; Head of the Helen Diller Center for Quantum Science, Matter and Engineering  Prof. Gadi Eisenstein; and Director General of the Samuel Neaman Institute for National Policy Research Prof. Moshe Sidi.

This is Monister Wang Zhigang’s first visit to Israel, aimed at strengthening cooperation between China and Israel through innovation and technology. The Minister came to Technion to gain insight into  cooperation in research and entrepreneurship between China and the Technion and to learn from the Technion’s extensive experience in promoting technological innovation.

Minister Wang Zhigang at the Technion. Right to left: Prof. Moshe Sidi, Prof. Gadi Eisenstein, Prof. Adam Shwartz, Chinese Minister of Science and Technology Wang Zhigang, Prof. Moshe Eizenberg, and Prof. Dan Shechtman

Prof. Shwartz presented the some of the research carried out at the Technion and spoke about the Technion’s branches in New York and China. The Minister – a trained electronics engineer – thanked Prof. Shwartz for the reception and said that he came to Israel to strengthen technological cooperation between Chinese and Israeli companies. “The Technion has trained thousands of engineers,” he said, “It’s a significant and central factor in Israel’s technological development. The three Nobel Prize laureates and the Technion’s high placement in academic rankings testify to its research and academic excellence.”

The field of technological innovation is currently one of the key strategic goals of the Chinese government, which views technological development as a means of transforming China into a technology and science powerhouse. “The Chinese government views innovative and technological progress as a growth engine for China and a resource for promoting the welfare of its residents,” said the Minister.

At the meeting, Nobel Laureate Prof. Dan Shechtman said that 30 years ago he introduced an entrepreneurship course at the Technion. To date, about 10,000 engineers have benefitted from this program. Twenty percent of those students were later involved in the development of entrepreneurship in Israel. He said that on his many visits to China, he has lectured extensively on entrepreneurship and innovation in organizations. He  presented a project with which he’s involved in Qingdao, China: in which science is introduced to children already at kindergarten.

Prof. Moshe Eizenberg told the Minister that last year, the first set of students began their studies at  the Guangdong Technion-Israel Institute of Technology. This year, 280 new students will begin studying on three tracks. Upon completion, they will receive a certificate from both the Technion and the Chinese Ministry of Education. “To date, we have recruited 20 new faculty members from around the world who are beginning to assemble their labs, submit research proposals, and recruit graduate students,” said Prof. Eizenberg. “In training the students at the Technion’s branch in China, we grant them the high academic standards of the Technion in Haifa, including courses on innovation and entrepreneurship.”

Chinese Minister of Science and Technology Wang Zhigang with Dr. Erez Karpas and Robot Thiago

Prof. Gadi Eisenstein presented the Helen Diller Center for Quantum Science, Matter and Engineering to the Minister. “Quantum is at the heart of global research and we are at the forefront of a technological revolution in this field. It is, therefore, a major research area on which the Technion will focus and invest in the coming years. China, too, has many projects in the quantum field, and we will be happy to take part in research collaborations.”

After the meeting, the Minister visited Dr. Erez Karpas’ cognitive robotics laboratory at the Davidson Faculty of Industrial Engineering and Management. Dr. Erez Karpas has specialized in tools for planning robotic activity, with an emphasis on the work of robots and humans in a shared space. The laboratory under his leadership, which was recently renovated in cooperation with Intel Israel, and the course he teaches at the Technion also deal with these subjects.