Abigail Klein Leichman
December 20, 2011, Updated September 12, 2018

Winning proposal by Israel’s Technion Institute and Cornell University to be basis of New York’s ‘transformative’ applied engineering campus.

Technion and Cornell presidents

Photo courtesy of the Technion
From left, Technion President Peretz Lavie, President of New York City Economic Development Corporation Seth Pinksy and Cornell President David Skorton shake on the deal.

The Technion-Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa will team with the Ivy League Cornell University in establishing NYCTech, a new applied engineering school in New York. The two schools’ proposal was chosen from seven competing international institutions.

The campus for 2,000 students will be built on New York City’s Roosevelt Island using $100 million in municipal funds and $350 million from an anonymous donor.

The goal is to turn the Big Apple into the next Silicon Valley by leveraging the expertise and reputation of both schools. The Technion, often referred to as the MIT of Israel, is world-renowned for its engineering innovations and technology transfer successes. Its faculty includes three Nobel laureates.

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced the selection of the winning proposal at a press conference December 19 at the Weill Cornell Medical College in Manhattan. Technion president Peretz Lavie, who flew in for the event, stated that NYCTech is not meant be a branch of either school but an entirely new and different sort of institution.

100-year circle between NY and Haifa

“I stand before you with great excitement and pride,” Lavie told the assemblage. “I just returned from Stockholm, where our Prof. Dan Shechtman was awarded the Nobel Prize in chemistry. My excitement today is no less than my excitement was there.”

He added that the Technion is in the midst of celebrating the 100th anniversary of the laying of its cornerstone, which was made possible by the support of New York philanthropist Jacob Schiff. “Today I feel that we are closing a 100-year circle, a circle of a partnership between New York and Haifa.”

Bloomberg termed the project “transformative.” He said, “Of all the applications we received, Cornell and Technion’s was the boldest and most ambitious.”

Cornell president David Skorton said NYCTech is expected to “fuel the city’s growing tech sector” by generating jobs, startup companies and commercialized inventions.

The school is expected to open for the 2012-2013 academic year in temporary quarters while construction of the 2.1 million-square-foot, environmentally friendly campus gets underway. It is expected to include classrooms, science laboratories, a conference center, housing and other facilities powered at least in part by solar energy and geothermal wells.

Israeli Consul General Ido Aharoni called the new partnership “more than just a collaboration between organizations, but rather an alliance of leading young minds. We are looking forward to the innovations that this dynamic partnership will create.”

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