The Technion-Israel Institute of Technology has marked a major milestone in its partnership with Cornell University. The academic institutes recently opened Cornell Tech, a sprawling tech-focused graduate campus on New York’s Roosevelt Island.
The new campus spans 12 acres on the 147 acre East River island, and includes academic buildings, offices and a housing complex for students and faculty.
Established in 2013, the Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute, which stands behind Cornell Tech, is supported by a $133 million gift from Dr. Irwin Mark Jacobs, founding chairman and CEO emeritus of Qualcomm. Since then, it has become a catalyst for global entrepreneurship and a driver of New York’s emerging tech ecosystem and local economy.
The Jacobs Institute draws upon professors, research and resources from both the Technion and Cornell, a longtime leader in engineering and computer science.
“In partnership with Cornell University, we’ve developed a model of graduate-level technology education that is unlike any other – one that’s tailor-made not only for New York City but for the challenges of the digital revolution,” Prof. Peretz Lavie, President of Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, said at the opening ceremony last week. “Drawing upon Cornell’s incredibly strong presence and network in New York, we’ve cultivated meaningful new ties between academia and industry, and developed an ecosystem that directly fosters innovation, world-class research and entrepreneurship, driving both economic growth and public good.”
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The Jacobs Institute’s master’s degree programs — in Connective Media and Health Tech — focus on driving innovation in industries in which New York City has historically excelled, while always remaining anchored in technology. Graduates of these programs receive master’s degrees from both the Technion and Cornell — which, as of 2016, makes Technion the first international university to grant an accredited degree on U.S. soil.
The Connective Media graduate program is centered on computer science and engineering, the human and social impacts of technology, and entrepreneurship. The Health Tech graduate program focuses on the cutting edge of transforming how healthcare is delivered and experienced, and was designed to develop innovative new products and services that address real healthcare needs.
Meanwhile, the Runway Startup Program at the Jacobs Institute supports recent PhDs who are likewise able to draw on the resources New York City has to offer as they build on their research to develop tech companies on campus. Over the past three years, Runway postdocs have founded 16 companies — from a smart baby monitor to an urban planning analytics platform — and collectively raised $19 million in funding.
Cornell Tech arose from an economic development initiative of Michael Bloomberg’s mayoral administration in 2008. The initiative sought to attract another engineering school to the city in the hope that it would produce entrepreneurial engineers who would in turn start job-creating companies. Seven bids were submitted for the competition, with the administration ultimately selecting Cornell/Technion’s bid.
As proposed, Cornell Tech would create 28,000 jobs, including 8,000 for academic staff. It would also be able to create 600 companies, leading to $23 billion in economic benefits and an additional $1.4 billion in taxes, during its first three decades of operation.
Photos and video: Cornell Tech, Iwan Baan for the Technion