How Israel is Turning Itself into an International Hub for Innovative Brain Technologies.
Israel’s prowess as a high-tech superpower — some say second only to Silicon Valley — has been well documented. But can this tiny IT powerhouse now set its sights on brain technology? Can the Startup Nation become the Brain Nation?
At HYPERLINK “http://www.israelbrain.org/”Israel Brain Technologies, a nonprofit organization dedicated to turning Israel into an international hub of brain technology and related research, this is a riddle we have dedicated ourselves to solving. So, how does a country establish itself as a leading brain-technology cluster?
To our good fortune, many of the factors that made Israel a world leader in high-tech lend themselves to brain technology as well. Israel has one of the highest percentages of skilled technology experts, engineers and scientists in the world. These, of course, are crucial to building a new, ultra-sophisticated industry. Our military, which relies on technological innovation, risk-taking and leadership building, has a major influence on the country’s entrepreneurial spirit as experienced soldiers shed their uniforms and enter the private sector. Integrating these veterans, full of battle-tested knowhow, into a developing new field is a no-brainer.
Innovative programs initiated by the Israeli government — in particular, the Office of the Chief Scientist’s groundbreaking incubator program, which sparked the local venture capital (VC) industry — contributed to the genesis of Israel’s high-tech ecosystem. The Israeli government needs to continue to innovate in order to promote excellence in fields like nanotechnology, agritech and brain technology. The Ministry of Economy’s NewTech program, for example, has been a key force in supporting Israel’s renowned cleantech industry since 2006. Organizations enjoying partial governmental support, such as the Israel National Nanotechnology Initiative, have also been successful in bringing fledgling industries to the world stage.