“From Academic Innovation to Real World Impact”: Zimin Institute Conference at Technion

Four new Zimin Institute winning projects have been announced in Haifa

A Zimin Institute Conference has taken place at the Technion, the main technological university in Israel. The conference was led by Tech-AI.Biomed, the medical arm of the Technion’s Artificial Intelligence Center, Tech.AI. The event focused on the translation of academic innovation into medical applications and was divided into three main parts, all dealing with innovation in medicine: the idea, the transition from basic research to product, and the real-world impact. The conference opened with welcoming remarks from Prof. Uri Sivan, the Technion President, and Mr. Boris Zimin, president of the Zimin Foundation.

Prof. Uri Sivan pointed out that the combination of science, innovation, and investment is what the Technion stands on, as well as the point of its joint interests with the Zimin Foundation. “This important partnership is a central component of the Technion Human Health Initiative (THHI), which aims to advance human health through interdisciplinary research that harnesses technologies, including artificial intelligence, for the benefit of medicine. As a leading institution in both medical research and artificial intelligence, the Zimin Institute exemplifies two of our prominent strengths. We thank the Zimin Foundation, appreciate its decision to establish its third institute at the Technion, and congratulate it on the first conference being held at the Technion,” Prof. Uri Sivan said.

Boris Zimin, the head of Zimin Foundation: “For us as a fund it is important to be not just philanthropists, but also investors. However, our investments  don’t belong to the realm of pure money alone: we invest into things that actually change lives. And I am happy to say that we see the investments into Zimin Instituts as the most successful in this respect. I truly hope that we are going to see some real results very soon. We shall continue to develop ZI in Israel and plan to open a third institute in the country, also in the field of healthcare and technological innovation.”

Mark Shmulevich, Zimin Institute Director: “We realize that Israel is the ideal country for an initiative like the Zimin Institutes and others like it. Let me explain why. Imagine an audience with several dozens of Israeli scientists. Someone asks them: ‘Please raise a hand if you want to start a company of your own in order to turn your invention into a real, useful product to help people.’ I am sure that over 50 percent people in that audience will raise their hands. In the USA we would see about 30 percent of raised hands, in many other countries, we would not see more than 5-10 percent. Israeli universities are a very fruitful environment for ideas to appear and be brought to life.”

Leonid Solovyev, operations manager at the Breakthrough Prize Foundation, which has joined in funding ZI projects at the Technion: “For us, ZI is an experimental project that lets us observe how inventions from scientific labs become real-life products. One of the projects of the Breakthrough Prize Foundation is rewarding the best inventions in physics, mathematics, and medicine. We have never before given our award to a Technion representative and hope to see this change as soon as next year.”

During the conference, the winners of the 2024 Zimin Foundation grants were announced.

The partnership between the Technion and the Zimin Foundation was formalized in 2022 with an agreement in which the Foundation vouched to support the establishment and operation of the Zimin Institute for AI Development in Medicine at the Technion. The Institute is headed by Prof. Shai Shen-Orr from the Ruth and Bruce Rappaport Faculty of Medicine. The first Zimin Institute opened in Tel Aviv six years ago: the Zimin Institute for Engineering Solutions Advancing Better Lives at Tel Aviv University, headed by Prof. David Mendlovic.


May 31, 2024

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