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Israel Broadens 3-to-1 Matching Funds Program for Nanotech Research Centers


(TEL AVIV, Israel – SEPTEMBER 18 2006) – The Israeli government will increase funding for Israeli universities over the next 5 years to $82 million in order to strengthen their advanced research centers in nanoscience and nanotechnology, it was announced today.

Israel’s National Nanotechnology Initiative (INNI) director Dan Vilenski announced the funding increase at the 10th annual Journey 2006 technology conference, noting that the increase resulted in large part from the success of a similar matching fund model developed for the Russell Berrie Nanotechnology Institute at Israel’s Technion Institute of Technology in 2005.

“We found that multiple donation matching can work very well for an Israeli nanotechnology center,” Vilenski said. “By extending this model to the nanotech centers at other Israeli universities, we see the possibility of maintaining our recognized leadership in advanced nanotech research.”

The new program provides 3-to-1 matching funds for all private donations to nanotech centers, effectively producing over $230 million in new funding for Israeli nanotech centers through 2011. The program creates a ‘funding triangle’ consisting of the source donor, the university and the Israeli government, where each contributor has explicit input over how matched funding will be used.

Dr. Eli Opper, Chief Scientist in Israel’s Ministry of Industry, Trade and Labor, and a strong proponent of Israel’s nanotechnology initiative, commended the many government and university representatives who have brought the triangle concept through a year-long process of approval.

“This is a very significant amount of money for Israeli nanotech research, Dr. Opper said. It’s especially effective because we’re taking a very innovative approach that encourages collaboration and focuses on our most outstanding researchers. It’s an excellent fit for Israel.”

The triangle donation matching program will give preference to funding research in areas considered to have the strongest potential for Israeli breakthroughs: nanomaterials, nanobiotechnology, nanoelectronics, and nanotech for applications in water treatment and alternative energy.

Matching funds will be granted primarily for research projects and personnel, and not for construction. All universities are eligible for program funding, though a five-year ceiling amount has been set for each university, based on its existing and planned nanotech capabilities.

With the $55.5 million increase in matching funds to become available from 2006, Israel’s nanotech centers stand to be among the world’s best funded, as well as the most respected.

“Worldwide, nanotech research will be more and more competitive in the next ten years,” Opper summarized. “We believe that this new funding model will make the critical difference for Israel. It will help us to retain and attract the most outstanding researchers and to produce the most valuable research.”

Along with Vilenski and Dr. Opper, Israel’s national nanotechnology program has benefited from the vision and leadership of many others, especially Prof. Jacob Ziv, chairman of TELEM Forum and a 1995 Marconi Fellow, and Dr. Dan Maydan, chairman of the INNI and president emeritus of the multinational company Applied Materials, Inc.

Additional details may be found on the INNI web portal.


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