|From the President
Setting the Standards
Prof. Peretz Lavie
Since Technion became home to Israelís first Nobel Laureates in science in 2004, we have often used this venue to share with you the spirit of success and achievement in Israel - a tiny country that in a few decades has achieved and consolidated an international standing in science, technology, and innovation.
With the entry of 2011, there are ongoing Technion-empowered success stories to share with you. From innovative blood tests developed by Prof. Arie Admon to diagnose cancer, to the Technion Seed company Argo Medical Technologies that made world headlines with its exoskeleton system allowing paraplegics to walk, to the ongoing buzz of activity from industry giants such as Google in tapping into Technion student brainpower even before they graduate. In January, Prof. Lior Gepstein was heralded in Nature News with his pioneering research that introduces stem cells as a powerful healing technique for cardiovascular disease. We have recently received two Krill Prizes for Excellence in Scientific Research from the Wolf Foundation given to young faculty, and the impressive achievement of seven research grants from the European Research Council.
Yet the Technion is not an island. We see it as our national and international responsibility to uphold the standards of Israeli education across the spectrum. Recently, an article appeared in Globes based on research from the Israel Association of Electronics and Software Industries revealing that although Israeli high-tech has tripled in size, the number of engineering graduates has not risen.
Today, Israeli engineers are as expensive as their European counterparts. This has not prevented companies such as Intel initiating new ventures into Israeli brainpower. Intel Israelís General Manager Maxine Fassberg announced that the company will invest $2.7 billion in the next two years in 22 nanometer technology - taking on 1,000 more employees.
Yet, pre-university education in Israel must evolve and maintain a standard of excellence in alignment with the ongoing needs of the country. Economic growth, development, and welfare in Israel all depend on scientific institutions and the industries nourished by the products of their research. Lacking science students with an appropriate level of knowledge, there will be no proper scientists, engineers, or researchers. It is not enough to set the standards and to achieve success. We must continue to apply, expand, and improve with ever-increasing manifestations of excellence - not to ďkeep upĒ with world progress, but to stay at the frontline of the future.
Just as in the 1950s the Technion was demanded to increase the amount of top-quality engineers to meet the needs of a rapidly growing nation, so in the second decade of the 21st century, Technion is again in a position where it needs to uphold the highest standards of education, and to increase the quantity of top-quality graduates, researchers, and engineers that are behind Israelís security, safety, and success.