Chief Scientist to close some technology incubators

200 technology life sciences, biotechnology, nanotechnology, communications, software, outer space, medical, and homeland security projects are being carried out at 24 technology incubators.

Sources inform "Globes" that the Ministry of Industry, Trade, and Labor Chief Scientist Eli Opper will close some technology incubators. The reason is not lack of money; several incubators do not have enough projects to justify their existence.

200 technology life sciences, biotechnology, nanotechnology, communications, software, outer space, medical, and homeland security projects are being carried out at 24 technology incubators.

Half the incubators were privatized over the past three years by bringing in investors and venture capital funds. Because of budget limitations, the incubators slated for closing down have not yet been privatized. Privatization will be continued, because it has been demonstrated that privately operated incubators are better, and yield results.

Two more incubators will be privatized this year, and two others will be closed. Two will be closed in 2006, and two more in 2007. These plans will leave eighteen incubators all privatized.

Opper said, “We’ve decided on the process, without deciding which incubators will be closed. It’s a difficult process, but it’s possible and necessary at a time of privatization and streamlining.” He declined to comment on political pressure on the minister of industry, trade, and labor by local authority heads seeking to preserve incubators slated for closing down.

In order to save money without harming projects having potential, incubators whose independent operation is not worthwhile will be merged into successful incubators. The merged incubators will be able to retain the names of both of their constituent elements, and will belong to two local authorities.

Published by Globes [online] - www.globes.co.il - on July 7, 2005

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