Technion. 'An example for Chinese universities to follow' Photo: Elad Gershgorn
Chinese billionaire Li Ka-shing. One of most generous donations in history of higher education Photo: Getty Images
Technion to set up institute in China
New technological institution to be established in Guangdong in cooperation with Shantou University thanks to $130-million donation from Chinese billionaire Li Ka-shing's fund. 'Chinese admire Israel's innovation ability,' says Technion president
VIDEO - The Technion
Institute of Technology and Shantou University will establish a joint academic technological institute in China which will focus on the fields of engineering, science and life sciences.
The Technion Guangdong Institute of Technology will be set up thanks to a $130-million donation from the fund of Chinese billionaire Li Ka-shing, chairman of the Hutchison Whampoa corporation.
This is the biggest donation ever received by the Technion, and one of the most generous donations in the history of higher education.
Starting next year, the Technion Guangdong Institute of Technology will offer Bachelor of Arts programs in civil and environmental engineering and in computer science. Courses will be given in English and teachers will be recruited from leading universities around the world.
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While the campus is being built, the institute's first students will study at the Technion for two years and return to Shantou for the third year.
The institute and Shantou University will conduct joint research in life sciences in a bid to tackle pressing social and livelihood issues like inadequate healthcare system and services, as well as improvements of clinical diagnosis procedures, using advanced technologies. By 2020, the institute will begin offering additional courses in other fields of engineering, including mechanical engineering or aerospace engineering.
An innovation center will be built next to the new technological institute, connecting companies from Guangdong to Israeli technological innovation and promoting the penetration of Israeli technologies into China and joint development of innovation and entrepreneurship.
'Israeli bridge in China'
"We are seeing a historic change in the Technion's status here," Technion President Prof. Peretz Lavie said Sunday. "We have become a model for a university which has changed the face of the economy in its country.
"We were selected to assume a huge operation and set up an Israeli bridge in China, with our partners being a Chinese university established under the sponsorship of one of the richest and most generous people in the world, and China's high-tech district.
"We will host Chinese students and researchers," Lavie added, "and our students will be exposed both to different cultures and to different systems of knowledge. We are living in an era in which millions of students study outside the country they live in. Everything is open.
"The Chinese admire the Israeli innovation ability, and it is not unintentionally that a technological park for Israeli companies interested in operating in China will be built next to the campus. It will be a sort of little Israel in the heart of China. It will make it easier for the companies to operate in China and will bring some of Israel's spirit of innovation to China."
Prof. Lavie further noted that the Technion would train the teaching staff at the campus and build the curriculum. "It was important to them that we would develop the curriculum and that it would be at the same level studied at the Technion today. It's heartwarming to see that we are viewed as a factor which can create a reform in the higher education system in China."
The memorandum of understating for the institute's establishment was signed Sunday in Tel Aviv by Technion President Lavie, Shantou University Rector Prof. Peihua Gu, Chinese billionaire Li Ka-shing and Israeli Science Minister Yaakov Peri. It will be submitted to the approval of the Technion and Chinese authorities.
'Technion has advanced Israeli economy'
Shantou University was founded in 1981 at the Guangdong province in southeast China. It operates 10 schools and colleges, five hospitals and 21 academic departments, and offers 36 BA programs, 84 MA programs and 25 PhD programs. The university has 9,448 students.
Li Ka-shing said during the ceremony, “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."
He added, however, that a magic wand always draws its power from the magician holding it. The magic stems from internal abilities, not external power, he said.
“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."
Prof. Peihua Gu said that the "what the Technion has done to advance the Israeli economy through student and staff research and innovation is an example for Chinese universities to follow. If many universities in Guangdong and China do the same as the Technion has been doing in Israel, an innovation-based economy will emerge in China."
The professor anticipates that within 10 years, the institute will become the best school of technology in the Guangdong province, and within 20 years – one of the best schools of technology in China.