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February 25, 2004

UCSD Extension Awarded A $150,000 Grant
For Biotechnology Collaboration With Israel
San Diego's new collaboration with Technion Israel Institute of Technology
will expand opportunities for biotechnology research and education

By Monica Doyle

The University of California, San Diego (UCSD), Extension and the Technion Israel Institute of Technology will collaborate on a set of initiatives designed to foster growth of the biotechnology clusters in the United States and Israel. The collaboration is being fueled by a newly awarded grant of $150,000 from the U.S.-Israel Science & Technology Foundation (USISTF).

"The contract we have just been awarded by the U.S.-Israel Science and Technology Foundation enables us to work directly with the Technion in Israel, on topics related to technology commercialization and regional economic development," said Dr. Mary Walshok, associate vice chancellor for public programs, dean of University Extension. "This is a very exciting collaboration and follows on the heels of a similar agreement with the University of Singapore and the launch of our Global CONNECT network."

The collaboration between UCSD Extension and the Technion is a natural fit. Extension is known for its capability to assess regional innovation capacity and for producing high-quality educational programs in biotechnology. The Technion is widely recognized as Israel's first modern university, dating to 1924, with graduates comprising much of the leadership and workforce in Israel's biotechnology and technology sectors.

By sharing best practices in technology commercialization with the broad range of stakeholders from both institutions, the partnership will make progress in three areas:

1) Expand opportunities for collaboration in biotechnology research and education between UCSD and the Technion, and the United States and Israel through increased understanding of the respective research agendas and capabilities;

2) Improve technology transfer and commercialization processes in Israel through the sharing of best practices of model university-industry partnerships, including UCSD CONNECT, UCSD’s high-technology and life science “incubator without walls”;

3) Create linkages between academia, government, and the biotechnology industry within and between UCSD and the Technion, and the United States and Israel, that are necessary for the development and sustainability of a vibrant bi-national industry cluster.

"It is through strategic partnering that small companies can have global impacts," said Walshok. "If San Diego companies are successful in global marketplaces, that keeps high wage jobs in San Diego, which not only contributes to the tax base, but enriches philanthropy in the region as well."

The collaboration is funded by the grant from USISTF, which was set up by the U.S.-Israel Science and Technology Commission, a government initiative created by Bill Clinton, the President of the United States, and Itzak Rabin, the Prime Minister of Israel, in 1995.

"The intellectual capital that both UCSD Extension and the Technion bring to this project is impressive," said Robin Blatt, chair of the U.S. Biotechnology Panel at USISTC, and editor of The Journal of BioLaw & Business. "By working collaboratively on the development and dissemination of best practices I believe we will begin to see the creation of a model, with the necessary binational infrastructure, to foster technology transfer and strategic alliances among U.S. and Israeli academic institutions and companies."

UCSD Extension and the Technion are also part of a larger consortium being assembled by the USISTF. The consortium will lead to a better understanding of the biotechnology industries in both the U.S. and Israel, as well as catalyze partnerships and collaborations among companies and organizations in both countries.

About UCSD Extension
UCSD Extension provides innovative learning solutions to the San Diego community and abroad by offering more than 600 classes and 120 certificate programs per quarter, as well as a series of public programs designed to improve the region’s economy through entrepreneurial and workforce development, public forums, lectures, and civic roundtables. Learn more about UCSD Extension at or call 858-534-3400.

About Technion Israel Institute of Technology
In operation since 1924, the Technion is the oldest university in Israel. The university offers degrees in science and engineering, and related fields such as architecture, medicine, industrial management and education in an intellectually invigorating environment. Emphasis is also placed on humanities and social science programs, which take on ever-increasing importance in today’s multi-faceted workplace. For more information about the Technion, please visit The English language version of the site is

About US-Israel Science & Technology Foundation
USISTF was established in 1995 by the US-Israel Science and Technology Commission, a bi-lateral government initiative created by the President of the United States and the Prime Minister of Israel. The USISTF has sponsored commission projects covering a broad range of technology issues including information technology, biotechnology, harmonization of regulations and standards, defense commercialization, environmental technology, and telemedicine and medical devices. The foundation is an independent 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation that implements and administers programs mandated by the commission. Members of the USISTF include the Los Angeles Regional Technology Alliance (LARTA), San Francisco-based Burrill and Co., and Chicago Micro & Nano Technology Community (CMNC). USISTF is online at

Media Contacts: Monica Doyle (858) 964-1033


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