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The Technion Institute Receives $130 Million Grant

The Israeli university has received the grant as part of a joint venture with China's Shantou University to build an academy called the Technion Guangdong Institute of Technology

By: Graham Sigurdson
Published: September 30th, 2013 in Business » World
The Technion-Israel Institute in Haifa

On Sunday, the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology received a $130 million grant to construct an academy called the Technion Guangdong Institute of Technology as part of a collaboration with China’s Shantou University.

The grant comes from the Li Ka Shing Foundation and includes profits from a 2011 investment into the Israeli mobile app Waze. The grant is the largest that the Technion has ever received, and is one of the largest to ever be given to an Israeli higher education institute. In June, Google purchased Waze for $1 billion.

According to a report from the Jerusalem Post, Guangdong Provine and the Shantou Municipal Government will allocate $147 million to fund the construction of, and the initial operations of the campus - a 330,000 square meter area located next to Shantou University.

Speaking at the signing ceremony in Tel Aviv, Li Ka-shing - who is believed to be the richest person in Asia - stressed the importance of education to scientific progress. "Our responsibility is to invest in education to unlock that genius and enable the continuing realization of human potential, building a society rich in knowledge and securing a sustainable quality of life for all," he said. "Failing to do so amounts to a crime against the future."

The Technion Guangdong Institute of Technology will begin offering students undergraduate programs in civil and environmental environmental engineering, as well as computer science, in the 2014-2015 academic year. The programs will be conducted in English, with the faculty consisting of researchers and scientists recruited from universities around the world.

In 2014, the Technion Guangdong Institute of Technology will join Shantou University in conducting life sciences research that tackle social and livelihood issues in China. While the campus is being constructed, the inaugural student group will received two years of construction at the Technion main campus in Haifa, before returning to Shantou for their third year.

By 2020, the institute will offer courses in other forms of engineering related fields, namely mechanical and aerospace. Part of the grant’s funds will be put towards upgrading Technion’s primary Haifa campus. Technion’s president, Peretz Lavie, called the partnerhsip as "a major breakthrough and an opportunity to strengthen ties between Israel and China."

"When you combine the innovation and entrepreneurial spirit of Israel with the unbelievable scale of China, you have a great partnership," he added.

Prime Minister Netanyahu visited China in May of this year, and cited increased trade with them as one of Israel’s "main motors of future economic growth." To achieve this, Israel has been laying the groundwork to commence free trade negotiations with China.

In offering Israel a sizeable market, Israel also presents China with some solutions to some of their challenges - a growing middle class and aging population, as well as their plans to urbanize a quarter of a billion people within the next 12 years, and the all the challenges that entails.

Rebecca Zeffert, the founder and executive director of the Israel Asia Center stated "Asia, China included, is facing some of the world’s most pressing challenges. In the past couple of years, Israel has been playing catch-up in its building of stronger ties with countries in Asia, and China in particular. There is still a great deal of work to be done. However, the Li Ka Shing - funded partnership between the Technion and Shantou University is a big step in the right direction."

Related articles: Technion Institute, Israel News, China, Shantou University, Google, Business News
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