The Li Ka Shing Foundation has donated $130 million to the Technion Israel Institute of Technology. The funds will be used to strengthen its home campus in Haifa and enable it to meet its commitment to establish the Technion Guangdong Institute of Technology, a joint venture with Shantou University in Guangdong Province in southern China. This is the largest ever donation to the Technion and one of the biggest in the history of Israeli higher education.
Guangdong Province and Shantou Municipal Government will set aside an additional RMB 900 million ($147 million) to fund construction and initial operations of the Technion Guangdong Institute, and has allotted 330,000 square meters for the campus.
Technion President Prof. Peretz Lavie and Shantou University Provost Prof. Gu Peihua signed the memorandum of understanding between the universities in Tel Aviv today in the presence of Li Ka Shing Foundation and Hutchison Whampoa chairman Li Ka-shing. The agreement will soon be brought for the approval of the Technion’s and Chinese statutory authorities.
The Technion Guangdong Institute will begin offering undergraduate programs in civil and environmental engineering and computer sciences in the 2014 academic year. The establishment of an innovation center, connecting industries in Guangdong with Israel’s technological creativity, will bridge Israeli technology into China and promote joint research and innovation. The institute's language of instruction will be in English and its faculty will be recruited from international researchers and scientists in universities around the world.
Beginning in 2014, Technion Guangdong Institute and Shantou University will conduct life sciences research based on Big Data to tackle the pressing social and livelihood issues like inadequate healthcare system and services, and improvements in clinical diagnosis procedures. By 2020, the institute will offer courses in other engineering-related fields, from mechanical to aerospace engineering.
“In this new world of fluid boundaries, the fast changing, fascinating, and transforming power of technology sometime does seem to wave like a magic wand, bringing new models and opportunities to many frontiers and generating new solutions to entrenched problems at a pace that is often hard to keep up with,” said Li at the signing ceremony. “Our responsibility is to invest in reforms in education that unlock that genius and enable the continuing realization of human potential, building a knowledge rich society and securing a sustainable quality of life for all. Failing to do so amounts to a crime against the future."
The partnership between Israel and the Li Ka Shing Foundation began in 2011, after foundation executives visited the Technion and Prof. Lavie made a reciprocal visit to the foundation's headquarters in Hong Kong. That visit to Technion also resulted in an investment from Li’s private investment company Horizon Ventures in Waze Ltd.. The profits from the sale of Waze to Google Inc. (Nasdaq: GOOG) became part of the donation to Technion.
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on September 29, 2013
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