The Technion-Israel Institute of Technology broke ground for the Guangdong Technion Israel Institute of Technology (GTIIT) in Shantou, on December 16. Due to open in 2016, it is expected eventually to accommodate 4,000 undergraduate and 1,000 graduate students in engineering, science and life science.

Leading the ceremony were former Israeli President Shimon Peres, Hong Kong business leader and philanthropist Li Ka-shing, Technion President Peretz Lavie, GTIIT Chancellor Li Jiange; Technion Distinguished Professor and Nobel Laureate Aaron Ciechanover, GTIIT vice chancellor; and Ofir Akunis, Israel’s minister of science, technology and space.

According to a statement from the two institutes, “GTIIT will create not just a new academic facility, but a new era of cooperative research between Israel and China. For the Chinese, the GTIIT brings the Technion’s expertise on creating a topnotch technical institute, as well as a stimulating dose of Israeli-style entrepreneurialism on a strategic level.”

Lavie said, “The combination of the innovative and entrepreneurial spirit of Israel and the unbelievable scale and resources of China will result in a great partnership. Together we will create a major research institute that will help not only China and Israel, but also mankind in general.”

Peres noted that China is one of Israel’s major partners in technology and high-tech, with more than 1,000 Israeli companies active in China.

Groundbreaking of Guangdong Technion Israel Institute of Technology participants included, from left, Technion President Peretz Lavie, People’s Republic of China Vice Minister of Science and Technology Cao Jianlin, Israel Minister of Science, Technology and Space Ofir Akunis, Governor of Guangdong Zhu Xiaodan, former Israel President Shimon Peres, Secretary of the CPC Guangdong Province Committee Hu Chunhua, Chairman of Li Ka Shing Foundation Li Ka-shing and PRC Vice Minister of Education Hao Ping. Photo courtesy of the government of Guangdong Province
Groundbreaking of Guangdong Technion Israel Institute of Technology participants included, from left, Technion President Peretz Lavie, People’s Republic of China Vice Minister of Science and Technology Cao Jianlin, Israel Minister of Science, Technology and Space Ofir Akunis, Governor of Guangdong Zhu Xiaodan, former Israel President Shimon Peres, Secretary of the CPC Guangdong Province Committee Hu Chunhua, Chairman of Li Ka Shing Foundation Li Ka-shing and PRC Vice Minister of Education Hao Ping. Photo courtesy of the government of Guangdong Province

The Technion campus at Shantou, said Ciechanover, “will contribute its extensive experience in training engineers who know how to apply what they have learned, and turn their knowledge into commercial products that focus on science and technology. Our Chinese partners will contribute their diligence and devotion, qualities that we Israelis are somewhat lacking. Therefore, this collaboration will benefit both sides.”

The Technion also has a partnership with Cornell University at the Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute at Cornell Tech in New York City.