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Posted: Mar 27, 2012
Five years of nanotechnology as an Israeli National Project
(Nanowerk News) With strong representation from Israeli academia and industry, INNI is charged with setting national goals and priorities for advancing nanotechnology in Israel, creating long-range plans that fully exploit Israel's scientific and commercial capabilities.
In the five years since declaring nanotechnology as a national priority, the field marked significant achievements. 88 world-class scientists immigrated to Israel and were accepted as faculty members at the universities. The number of junior scientists in the field (including post-doctorates) is 320, the number of doctoral students is about 800 and the number of masters students is more than 900. In the past three years over 6,000 scientific papers have been published where 1170 of which resulted from collaboration between the universities.
The financial side is also impressive with $101 million invested in the last five years in basic equipment, in addition to 45 million invested in new infrastructure and facilities.
In these years there were 625 collaborations between Israeli academia and industry (domestic and foreign), and 170 "success stories" in the form of startup companies and approved patents, with another 704 patent filings.
Dan Vilenski, a member of the National Committee for Nanotechnology, says, "I believe we are on the correct path to turn Israel into a leading power in nanotechnology. The program's achievements prove:
The existing scientific infrastructure in academia has impressive potential for establishing industry based on nanotechnology.
When a national program is managed with high standards, the result is cooperation between government agencies, academia and industry and the efficient use of public funds. It has yielded a remarkable return on investment."
In light of the achievements of the program during the first five years, it was decided to continue funding the program for another five years but with a change of emphasis. From a program designed to build applied nanoscience infrastructure as a foundation for academia and industry, the emphasis moves to focused R&D programs that can be applied to industrial applications within a reasonable time.
In order to accelerate establishment of industrial activity based on nanotechnology, the university nanocenters have begun to employ industrialists / entrepreneurs whose role is to identify emerging opportunities at the nanocenters at the early stages, to identify strategic partners and to realize application of the emerging nanotechnologies in industry.
The INNI was established as a shared initiative of Israel's Forum for National Infrastructures for Research & Development (TELEM) and Israel's Ministry of Trade and Industry. The INNI Board of Directors is appointed by The Chief Scientist, Ministry of Industry, Trade & Labor. The INNI BoD operates out of The MAGNET Program at the Office of the Chief Scientist.
In 2007, it was decided to establish the area of a national priority project with the goal of creating research infrastructure at six universities that will be the basis for nano industries in Israel. A funding mechanism was established using a triangle support model where the government, the university and private donations each provide a third of the program funding.