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Israel's Nanotech program creates a funding triangle

Posted: 29 Nov 2007     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:nanotechnology R&D  Israel research centers  universities  Israel National Nanotechnology Initiative 

Nanotechnology R&D is growing rapidly in Israel according to a website mapping the country's nanotechnology sector, with 81 nanotechnology companies operating in the country, and 326 academic researchers in the field. The figures come from a technology map created by D&A Knowledge Centre.

The country's nanotechnology program, called the Israel National Nanotechnology Initiative (INNI) provides 3-to-1 matching funds for all private donations to nanotech centres, effectively producing over Rs.909.65 crore ($230 million) in funding for Israeli nanotech centres through 2011. According to Eli Opper, the chief scientist of Israel's Ministry of Industry, Trade and Labour, one third of the money will come from Israeli ministries, one third from donors residing outside of Israel and the rest will come from funded universities or institutes.

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.

In addition to matching funds, the Israeli government will also provide over Rs.31.64 crore ($8 million) for nanotech-related equipment purchases and for advanced research projects in water treatment using nanotechnology.

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.

The institutions that will be funded include the Bar Ilan Centre for Advanced Materials and Nanotechnology, at Bar Ilan University in Ramat Gan, which brings together the activities of 18 research groups in chemistry, physics and the life sciences; the Ilse Katz Centre for Meso and Nanoscale Science at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Beer-Sheva, focusing on fundamental research of nanoscale materials and the manipulation of matter at reduced dimensions; the Harvey Krueger Centre for Nanocience and Nanotechnology at Hebrew University of Jerusalem, a multidisciplinary centre that promotes interaction among university scientists in physics, applied and life sciences, and computer science and engineering; the Russell Berrie Nanotechnology Institute at Technion Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa, which unifies the work of more than 100 research faculty in 12 disciplines and supports existing centres in microelectronics, electron microscopy and surface characterisation; and the Tel Aviv University Research Institute for Nanoscience and Nanotechnology, an interdisciplinary centre serving faculties of engineering, exact sciences, life sciences and medicine.

At the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, three distinct centres will be supported: The Braun Centre for Submicron Research, a highly specialised facility enabling the design, material growth, fabrication, and characterisation of mesoscopic electronic semiconductor systems; the Kimmel Centre for Nanoscale Science, which intends to help establish critical research links between molecular biology and nanoscale science; and the Goldschleger Centre for Nanophysics, supporting theoretical and experimental research in nanophysics.

- Amir Ben-Artzi
EE Times Europe

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