The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Israel, Chinese universities announce $300 million joint nanotechnology project as ties expand

  • Print

TEL AVIV, Israel - Two top universities from Israel and China announced Monday that they are starting a $300 million research project focused on nanotechnologies, the latest move in booming ties between the Jewish state and the Asian giant.

Tel Aviv University and Beijing's Tsinghua University said they will exchange graduate students and faculty members to work at a joint research centre based at the two institutions.

The co-operation initially will focus on nanotechnology, particularly with medical and optics applications, but may be later expanded to other areas, including raw materials, water treatment and environmental issues, officials from both sides said at a news conference at the Israeli university.

Tel Aviv University President Joseph Klafter said funding will be sought from private and government sources, adding that almost a third of the money already has been raised for the project, which is to be formally launched on Tuesday.

"It's an unprecedented agreement in size and scope," Klafter said. "It was built from the bottom up because it started with our scientists meeting and falling in love with each other."

Tsinghua President Chen Jining said part of the funding will be used to design prototypes, connect academics to the business world and commercialize the products of research. "We have collaborations with many other universities around the world, but this is the first that is so in-depth and innovative" he said.

Israeli Premier Benjamin Netanyahu, who travelled to China last year, has made ties with Beijing a priority.

"We celebrate the success and huge growth of co-operation and connections between Israel and China," Netanyahu said in a statement after meeting with visiting Chinese Deputy Prime Minister Liu Yandong.

Israel is still a tiny partner for the Chinese giant, but trade between the two countries has been growing, reaching $ 8.4 billion last year, compared with $ 6.7 billion in 2010, according to Israel's Central Bureau of Statistics. Beijing seeks access to new technologies in fields where Israel is considered a leader, including agriculture, water desalination and medicine, while the Jewish state is eager to gain a foothold in the huge Chinese market.

"It's an ideal partnership because the two economies don't compete with each other" said Amir Lati, an official from the Northeast Asia desk at the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem. "One focuses on high-tech and the other on manufacturing and huge infrastructure projects."

Last year Haifa's Technion technology institute and Shantou University, located in the southern Guangdong province, signed a smaller co-operation agreement valued around $ 150 million. Chinese companies also have vied to acquire stakes in local companies, including a top insurer and a dairy giant, and expressed interest in the proposed construction of a railway project linking the Mediterranean to the Red Sea.

Yoram Evron, a researcher on China-Middle East ties at the University of Haifa, said that Beijing is seeking to increase its influence in the region, especially to secure the energy imports needed to fuel its growing economy.

For Israel, agreements like the one announced Monday allow it to boost ties with Beijing without angering its key ally, the United States, as increased military co-operation would do, Evron said.

"It serves both interests, it gives China Israeli technology and brings Israel closer to China without irritating Washington," he said.

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Key of Bart - The Floodway Connection

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • An American White Pelican takes flight from the banks of the Red River in Lockport, MB. A group of pelicans is referred to as a ‘pod’ and the American White Pelican is the only pelican species to have a horn on its bill. May 16, 2012. SARAH O. SWENSON / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS
  • A  young goose stuffed with bread from  St Vital park passers-by takes a nap in the shade Thursday near lunch  –see Bryksa’s 30 day goose challenge Day 29-June 28, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

What's your take on a report that shows violent crime is decreasing in Winnipeg?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google