January 12, 2012 Technion, Cornell to Form New School

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news_id125Story published in the CJN January 12, 2012

Abigail Klein Leichman
Israel21c

JERUSALEM  The Technion-Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa will team with Cornell University to establish NYCTech, a new school of applied engineering in New York.

The proposal from the two schools was chosen by New York from submissions made by seven competing international institutions.

The campus for 2,000 students will be built on New York City’s Roosevelt Island using $100 million in municipal funds and $350 million from Charles F. Feeny of Duty Free Shoppers that will pay for the first phase of the building project. The goal is to turn the Big Apple into the next Silicon Valley by leveraging the expertise and reputation of both schools. The Technion, often referred to as the MIT of Israel, is known worldwide for its engineering innovations and technology transfer successes. Its faculty includes three Nobel laureates.

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced the selection of the winning proposal at a press conference Dec. 19 at the Weill Cornell Medical College in Manhattan. Technion president Peretz Lavie, who flew to New York for the event, stated that NYCTech is not meant be a branch of either school, but an entirely new and different sort of institution.
I stand before you with great excitement and pride,  Lavie said. I just returned from Stockholm, where our Prof. Dan Shechtman was awarded the Nobel Prize in chemistry. My excitement today is no less than my excitement was there.

He added that the Technion is in the midst of celebrating the 100th anniversary of the laying of its cornerstone, which was made possible by the support of New York philanthropist Jacob Schiff.

Today I feel that we are closing a 100-year circle, a circle of a partnership between New York and Haifa,  Lavie said.

Bloomberg described the project as transformative.

Of all the applications we received, Cornell and Technion’s was the boldest and most ambitious,  he said

Cornell president David Skorton said NYCTech is expected to fuel the city’s growing tech sector  by generating jobs, startup companies and commercialized inventions.
The school is expected to open for the 2012-2013 academic year in temporary quarters while construction of the 2.1 million-square-foot, environmentally friendly campus gets underway. It is expected to include classrooms, science laboratories, a conference centre, housing and other facilities powered, at least in part, by solar energy and geothermal wells.

Israeli Consul General Ido Aharoni called the new partnership more than just a collaboration between organizations, but rather an alliance of leading young minds.

From left, Technion-Israel Institute of Technology president Peretz Lavie, president of New York City Economic Development Corporation Seth Pinksy and Cornell University president David Skorton shake on the deal to establish a new applied engineering school in New York. [Photo courtesy of the Technion]