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Director's Welcome

The Northwestern Israel Innovation Project (IIP) is a young institution, established on September 1, 2020, within the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences. I am the director of IIP and a member of the Crown Family Center for Jewish and Israel Studies. I also serve as the Israel Liaison at the Office of the Vice President for International Relations.

So, what is the Israel Innovation Project all about? It was founded to meet the demand for collaborative work between Northwestern and Israeli academic institutions with a focus on the fields of STEM (science, technology, engineering and math). We interpret “Israel Studies” in a broader sense, going beyond the traditional definitions of history, politics and conflict.

The goal of the project is to maintain existing partnerships and support them, further develop them, and concurrently build new academic collaborations and exchanges between Northwestern University departments, faculty and graduate students, and Israeli universities. For example, we will focus on areas such as chemistry, computer science, materials science, neurobiology, renewable energy, quantum physics, and artificial intelligence.

I should add parenthetically that this is a cross-school enterprise. We will join forces with McCormick School of Engineering, Buffett Institute, Feinberg School of Medicine and so forth. In our work, we will strive to raise the interest of the Chicagoland investment and business community in commercializing the potential of existing and future joint research projects.

Lastly, our plans include additional webinars, discussions, lectures, debates, symposia, relating not only to science but also to Israeli society and culture in general.

I would like to thank Dean Randolph for his continuous support, Mr. Lester Crown for his more-than-generous gift that enabled the establishment of IIP, and to our engaged community.

 

Elie Rekhess

Crown Visiting Professor, Israel Studies

Director, Israel Innovation Project

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