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Tel Aviv University and Tsinghua University in China Team Up

An MOU for scientific collaboration on an unprecedented scale was signed between Tel Aviv University and the elite Tsinghua University in China.

Professor Joseph Klafter, President of Tel Aviv University, and Professor Chen Jining, President of Tsinghua University, signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) in Beijing, China, last week, in the presence of Israel Ambassador to China Matan Vilnai, Chief Scientist of the Israeli Ministry of Economy Avi Hasson and leaders of the Israeli business community in Beijing.

Under the MOU, Tel Aviv University and Tsinghua University will pursue strategic cooperation in innovative research and teaching. The two universities intend to co-establish a unique joint center, named the XIN Center, as an international hub for scientific and technical innovation. XIN ("new" in Chinese) will advance interdisciplinary research, provide optimal conditions for creativity, and promote activity in fields that can truly impact society in both countries and the entire world.

The research center will initially focus on fields which enjoy accelerated development both in Israel and in China such as nanotechnology, but in time it will expand to other fields of science. The Center will also aspire toward combining forces with the high-tech industry.

Professor Joseph Klafter, President of Tel Aviv University, and Professor Chen Jining, President of Tsinghua University, signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) in Beijing, China, last week. Photo courtesy of Tel Aviv University  

In the framework of the XIN project, an investment fund will be established to seed ventures initiated by XIN Fellows. The fund of 100 million yuan (about $16 million) will be set up by Infinity Group. Investors in the fund will include the Beijing government and alumni of Tsinghua University.

When excellence meets innovation

The XIN Center will aim to recruit the finest researchers and students in the two countries as well as from the rest of world. It will encourage innovation among students by giving them optimal conditions to create, develop and leverage their ideas in various areas of technology and science. The researchers will serve as instructors and mentors to the research students, and help them develop promising projects.

Prof. Klafter noted that this is an exceptionally important agreement, opening new horizons for Israel and Israeli society. According to Prof. Klafter, the establishment of the XIN Center is evidence of the considerable esteem in which the Chinese hold Israeli innovation and the high academic standards of Tel Aviv University.

President Chen of Tsinghua University expressed the readiness of his institution to work with Tel Aviv University to push forward cross-disciplinary research and explore ways to answer global challenges. The president stressed the importance of cultivating innovative future scientists and leaders.

The Chief Scientist of the Israeli Ministry of Economy, Mr. Avi Hasson, noted that the cooperation agreement is an excellent model for multifaceted collaboration in our modern technological world between academic institutions and industry on an international level.

Participating in the ceremony were also Mr. Amir Gal-Or, managing partner of Infinity Group, and Dr. Chen Lichtenstein, President and CEO of China National Agrochemical Corporation (CNAC).