Israel is recognized the world over as a leading source of knowledge and innovation in advanced research and technology. Israel's technological achievements are at the forefront
of communications, electronics, computer software, networking, defense, security and life sciences industries.
More than 100 major International technology firms maintain active R&D centers in Israel. Global business surveys consistently place Israel among the most attractive nations for advanced technology development. Israel's workforce is among the highest educated in the world – fully 20 percent of Israel's working population hold academic degrees. For each 10,000 employees, 140 are scientists or technicians, and 135 are engineers, higher than in the US, Japan and the European nations. There are several generous financial incentive program driven by the Israeli government for R&D programs.
Israel's small size and limited financial resources are serious challenges, but its academic, business and government leaders recognize nanotechnology as a key platform for ensuring Israel's continued R&D excellence for decades to come.
Nanotechnology is a natural enabler for Israel. In fact, Israel's small size is also an advantage -- it means sharper focus, more efficient use of funds, fewer commercial obstacles, rapid prototyping and testing, and higher quality standards.
At present, government support is being focused on establishing the nano-science and technology infrastructure for the industrial R&D and production. The "Triangle Donation Matching (TDM)" program is the main government –supported program. It is aimed at creating the technology-base in the academia – active researchers, basic equipment and facilities. In this program government support (1/3) is matched by funding from the universities' sources (1/3) and donations (1/3). The MAGNET (generic R&D) program supports two industry-academia consortia. There are other R&D supporting programs.
A survey of Israel's nanotech R&D (2008 data) held by the Israel National Nano-technology Initiative (INNI) in anticipation of the 2009 NanoIsrael Week, conveyed careful optimism.
The survey will be updated again in 2010.
The survey shows that the Technion employs 119 nano-researchers, followed by 55 researchers at Tel Aviv University, 47 at Ben Gurion University of the Negev, 43 at the Weizmann Institute of Science, 39 at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and 30 at Bar Ilan University. Since 2002, the number of nano researchers in Israel has doubled. The two main scientific disciplines are chemistry (25.6%) and physics (19.5%). Most of the researchers focus on materials (33% of the researchers), electronics and photonics (22%) and biotechnology (17%).
A review of the research stages reached by the researchers indicates that 55% of the researches are in their preliminary stages; 23% in the prototype stage, 15% in the testing phase and 7% are already being commercialized. As a result, several start-ups have already been established.
The survey indicates that there are several dozens nanotechnology based companies operating in Israel todate and despite the difficult times experienced by Israel's economy due to the recent global crisis, investors still regard Israel as a promising opportunity for nanotech R&D. Potential investors conclude that this is the right time for starting partnerships with players from the Israeli academia and industry.
Information on the Israeli nanotechnology activity and contact information can be found on www.nanoisrael.org
NanoIsrael 2010 will be held on November 8 and 9, 2010 in Tel Aviv.
It is organized by Kenes Organizers, (the organizers of the annual Israel Biomed Weeks) and in collaboration with INNI – Israel National Nanotech Initiative and the Nanotech centers of Israeli universities.