2022 Board of Governors Meeting Opens

Technology and Medicine, Strengthening Cooperation Between Academia and Industry; New Records and Historic Appointment of Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion

Technion President Professor Uri Sivan opened the Board of Governors Meeting on Sunday, June 12, with the announcement of a new board member, Professor Adi Salzberg, who has been appointed Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion.

Prof. Sivan’s announcement of the appointment of Prof. Salzberg as Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion was one of the important announcements with which he opened the Technion Board of Governors meeting. In his opening remarks, the President congratulated Technion friends from Israel and around the world who came to the campus to take part in the annual Board of Governors meeting.

“The Board of Governors is a festive event that brings Technion friends from all over the world to our campus, and I am glad that we are once again able to hold it face-to-face after the long pandemic,” he said. “The impressive growth of the Technion, and the preservation of its position at the global forefront of research and science would not have been possible without our donors and the extensive activity of the Technion Societies around the world.”

The appointment of Prof. Adi Salzberg, a faculty member in the Ruth and Bruce Rappaport Faculty of Medicine, went into effect earlier this month. She is the first person in the Technion’s history to hold this unique position. In her new role, Prof. Salzberg will work to promote equality, reduce gender and sectoral gaps, and promote diversity and representation of populations that are not adequately represented among the academic and administrative staff and in the student community.

According to President Sivan, “The Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion stemmed from the recognition that diversity in general, and gender diversity in particular, are important for better science and research, for better academia, and for a better, more respectful and fairer society.”

Technion’s Strategic Plan for the Next Decade

“The traditional university structure is not adapted to the 21st century, which is characterized by challenges that are essentially multidisciplinary,” said President Sivan in his remarks. “Today’s academic, research, and technological reality requires a combination of disciplines and the breakdown of barriers between disciplines and faculties. Scientific and technological breakthroughs today require multidisciplinary research and close cooperation between academia and industry.

“In the past two years, the Technion has formulated a strategic plan for the coming decade, based on the working assumption that academia must adapt itself to the rapid changes that are taking place around us. We understand that we need to deepen collaborations between researchers from different faculties to accelerate research and simultaneously change the teaching and training patterns of our students. The relationship with industry is changing rapidly and we need to find the right place for a leading technology university.

“Breaking down barriers is essential for maintaining the Technion’s status as a world-leading university and for tackling the challenges of the 21st century. These challenges, for the most part, are multidisciplinary. Therefore, we focused on three main fronts: human health, sustainability, and the digital industry.”

President Sivan emphasized that the students will not only study these subjects, they will also apply them in the real world through contact with industry. He also stressed the importance of wide-ranging collaborations with the Technion.

One of the pioneering initiatives is the Human Health Initiative, which bridges different researchers, faculties, and disciplines to promote the application of science and technology for the benefit of medicine and human health. In this framework, grants have already been allocated to three research groups involving dozens of researchers from different Technion faculties. A joint research project has been launched by the Technion and Rambam Health Care Campus aimed at the application of artificial intelligence in medicine. The Larry and Andi Wolfe Center for Engineering and Medicine will focus on applied research in collaboration between the Technion and Rambam Health Care Campus. Also announced was the establishment of the Zimin Institute at Technion, which will harness machine learning and the processing of Big Data for the benefit of all aspects of human health.

Strengthening collaboration between academia and industry

“I do not know of any other university in the world that has had such a profound impact on the economy, society, and security of its country,” said President Sivan. “Israeli high-tech was born here and Technion graduates hold leading positions in the Israeli economy. Scientific and technological breakthroughs today require close cooperation between academia and industry. Over the past two years, we have worked to build a new ecosystem with industry and have promoted joint research on campus.

“We encourage lecturers from industry to participate in academic life at the Technion, to mentor and teach – exposing our students and researchers to real-world challenges and developments. Our goal is to integrate an exclusive hub of leading companies into the campus, with which the Technion has deep research ties, and will become part of our student education program. Together, we will create a meeting point on campus for industry and academia.

“This hub has been gradually taking shape including the following partnerships: software giant PTC was first to join and signed a strategic cooperation agreement with the Technion a year ago, and their R&D center will be relocated from Matam Industrial Park to the Technion by the end of 2022; Google signed a cooperation agreement with the Technion, including research into AI  for medical applications; Doral Energy signed an agreement with the Technion for joint activity in developing solutions to global challenges on climate and the environment; and Intel and Rafael, who are long-standing research partners with Technion. We are proud that Intel has selected the Technion as one of the six academic institutions worldwide with which it collaborates.”

The President added that ties with other leading companies are coming soon in additional core areas that are consistent with the Technion’s strategic goals.

As a result of the tightening of ties with industry, the Technion reported a record number of research agreements in 2021. The pace of establishment of startup companies at the Technion tripled, with a record 15 new companies in the past year . Additionally, a record number of Technion researchers received awards and research grants in the past year.

The Technion Board of Governors lasted three days, during which honorary doctorates and honorary fellowships were awarded to 11 outstanding women and men, as well as important prizes, including the Harvey Prize, which is considered a “Nobel Predictor,” the André Cohen-Deloro Prize for Research on behalf of the Adelis Foundation, and the Technion Medal, the Technion’s highest honor, which was awarded to brothers Yehuda and Zohar Zisapel.

The momentum on campus was tangible. During the Board of Governors sessions, inauguration ceremonies were held at various centers on campus, including the Polak Family Distance Learning Studio, the Mehoudar Inventors Center, the Aviva and Andrew Goldenberg Architecture Studio Pavilion, and the first floor of the Zisapel Building for Electrical and Computer Engineering.

As part of the program, The Marker’s annual high-tech conference was held this week at the Technion. The conference, which was held for the first time in Haifa and at the Technion, addressed technological innovation and the future of Israeli high-tech.

Click below to watch videos from the Technion’s 2022 Board of Governors meeting: