Nanotechnology R&D gets $230m funding

The government will provide $82 million in new funding, making nanotechnology one of the most supported technology fields.

Israel National Nanotechnology Institute (INNI) announced yesterday that Israeli government would increase funding for Israeli universities over the next five years to $82 million in order to strengthen nanoscience and nanotechnology research centers. The new program provides 3-to-1 matching funds for all private donations to nanotech centers, effectively producing over $230 million in new funding nanotechnology through 2011. The new funding makes nanotechnology one the most supported technology fields.

“In 2015, the global nanotechnology market is expected to have a turnover of $1.1 billion. Everyone believes that this market will grow at rates similar to those shown by the semiconductor market. Where is Israel in this field? $1 billion was invested in nanotechnology in the US last year, Europe invested the same amount, and Japan nearly as much. The world’s nations invested $4 billion altogether in nanotechnology last year. Israel invested $18 million in the field last year, mostly through the MAGNET program (Generic Pre-Competitive Technologies and R&D). It’s not enough,” INNI director Dr. Dan Vilenski told “Globes” yesterday.

The additional funding is part of a joint support program of the Office of Chief Scientist, the Forum for National Infrastructures for R&D (TELEM), the Ministry of Finance Budget and Accountant General Departments, the Ministry of Science and Technology and the Israel National Academy of Sciences and Humanities. Vilenski, Chief Scientist Dr. Eli Opper, Ministry of Finance budget director Kobi Haber, TELEM Forum chairman Prof. Jacob Ziv, and INNI chairman and Applied Materials president emeritus Dr. Dan Maydan will head the venture.

The new financing uses a triangle model, in which participating universities will match one third of the total funding from their own budgets and another third from donations. The state will provide the final third. The amount of donations raised by the universities will determine the total amount of funding. This model is already being successfully applied at the Technion - Israel Institute of Technology Russell Berrie Nanotechnology Institute, which raised $26 million in donations for total funding of $88 million, after the Technion added another $10 million to the amount it undertook to provide.

Five research institutes have announced that they will participate in the program: Bar Ilan University, Tel Aviv University, Ben Gurion University of the Negev, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and the Weizmann Institute of Science. Each institute has already pledged financing from their budgets and state budgets, and have raised donations for the new five-year $230 million program. The actual investment will depend on due diligence of the donations, which is the only obstacle at the moment.

The money will be invested in three channels: nanotechnology education, applied research, and derived developments by companies. Each year, the universities will be reviewed according to the number of nanotechnology students, patents, and start-ups. Institutes that fail to meet the criteria will not receive financing for the following year. INNI added that in addition to matching funds, the Israeli government will also provide over $8 million for nanotech-related equipment purchases and for advanced research projects in water treatment using nanotechnology.

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes.co.il - on September 19, 2006

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2006

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