The smallest microsatellite of its kind at the lowest cost with the lowest power consumption... Miniature electronic circuits that assemble themselves with the help of DNA... Giant towers using the conditions in the desert to produce energy and desalinated water... Implanted biological systems to monitor disease and provide medication in exact dosage... Cancer fighting virus... "Virtual supercomputers" - These are a few of the cutting-edge projects being investigated at the Technion - Israel Institute of Technology.
Established before the state, the Technion, Israel's oldest university, will celebrate its 75th anniversary in 1999. For more than seven decades, its researchers and its more than 45,000 graduates have been at the forefront of Israel's technological advance. Israel's primary source of trained engineers and scientists and its most comprehensive academic center for science, technology, and applied research, the Technion is one of the few such institutions with a medical school.
"The Technion led Israel's high-tech revolution with its dramatic growth to over 11,500 students studying technology, science, medicine, architecture and urban planning," notes past Technion President Professor Zehev Tadmor. "Technion graduates comprise some 74 percent of the managing directors of Israel's electronics industries; and nearly two-thirds of Israel's industrial exports - in electronics and chemicals - can be traced to the Technion and its graduates."
Inside Technion laboratories, work is under way on numerous projects to help shape the future. Israel's Gurwin II TechSat, a 48 kg (106 lb.) microsatellite recently launched on a Russian satellite, was developed at the Technion and built in conjunction with twelve of Israel's leading high-tech industries. Measuring 45 cm (18 in.) on each side, the cube-shaped satellite is the smallest and least expensive of its kind, with the lowest power consumption for its size.
The wide range of sponsored industry research projects conducted at the Technion are mostly interdisciplinary, drawing on the resources of several faculties to achieve innovative perspectives and results. The projects are coordinated through the Technion Research & Development Foundation Ltd. (TRDF), a limited liability company wholly owned by the Technion and charged with harnessing Technion expertise for business, industry, and public and private organizations. As a result of its outstanding capabilities, TRDF conducts research for leading companies in the United States, Europe, Asia and South America.
In recent years, the Technion's activities have expanded to establishing and nurturing new companies. A subsidiary, Technion Entrepreneurial Incubator Company Ltd. (TEIC), Israel's first and largest entrepreneurial incubator, which originally opened to serve immigrants from the former Soviet Union, helps establish high-tech enterprises and provides entrepreneurs with facilities for the development of inventions.
Today, several dozen Technion subsidiary start-up companies develop, manufacture, and market select products based on Technion-developed technologies. And the Technion is setting the stage for tomorrow. "The exploration of new cutting-edge fields in science and technology, along with training engineers in computers, electronics and other high-tech fields, will provide a foundation for new industries in Israel," explains Tadmor. "No less important, these activities will enable Israel to maintain its position at the frontier of science and technology."