NETANYA, Israel Israel is becoming a hotebed of research and development into nanotechnologies, with 81 companies participating operate in Israel, according to a website mapping the country's nanotechnology sector.
The site , which was built by D&A knowledge center, also lists 326 academic researchers in the field of nanotechnology.
The country's nanotechnology program, called the Israel National Nanotechnology Initiative (INNI) provides 3-to-1 matching funds for all private donations to nanotech centers, effectively producing over $230 million in funding for Israeli nanotech centers through 2011. According to Eli Opper, the chief scientist of Israel's ministry of industry, trade and labor, one third of the money will come from Israeli ministries, one third from donors residing outside of Israel and the rest will come from the funded univesities or institutes.
The program creates a 'funding triangle' consisting of the source donor, the university and the Israeli government, where each contributor has explicit input over how matched funding will be used.
In addition to matching funds, the Israeli government will also provide over $8 million for nanotech-related equipment purchases and for advanced research projects in water treatment using nanotechnology.
The triangle donation matching program will give preference to funding research in areas considered to have the strongest potential for Israeli breakthroughs: nanomaterials, nanobiotechnology, nanoelectronics, and nanotech for applications in water treatment and alternative energy.
Matching funds will be granted primarily for research projects and personnel, and not for construction. All universities are eligible for program funding, though a five-year ceiling amount has been set for each university, based on its existing and planned nanotech capabilities.
The institutions that will be funded include The Bar Ilan Center for Advanced Materials and Nanotechnology (BICAMN), at Bar Ilan University in Ramat Gan, which brings together the activities of 18 research groups in chemistry, physics and the life sciences; The Ilse Katz Center for Meso and Nanoscale Science at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Beer-Sheva, focusing on fundamental research of nanoscale materials and the manipulation of matter at reduced dimensions; The Harvey Krueger Center for Nanocience and Nanotechnology at Hebrew University of Jerusalem, a multidisciplinary center that promotes interaction among university scientists in physics, applied and life sciences, and computer science and engineering; The Russell Berrie Nanotechnology Institute (RBNI) at Technion Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa, which unifies the work of more than 100 research faculty in 12 disciplines and supports existing centers in microelectronics, electron microscopy and surface characterization; The Tel Aviv University Research Institute for Nanoscience and Nanotechnology, an interdisciplinary center serving faculties of engineering, exact sciences, life sciences and medicine.
At the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, three distinct centers will be supported: The Braun Center for Submicron Research, a highly specialized facility enabling the design, material growth, fabrication, and characterization of mesoscopic electronic semiconductor systems; the Kimmel Center for Nanoscale Science, which intends to help establish critical research links between molecular biology and nanoscale science; and the Goldschleger Center for Nanophysics, supporting theoretical and experimental research in nanophysics.