A delegation from Université de Rennes 1 visits Israël's major universities

Professor David Alis, President of Université de Rennes 1, and Professor Pierre van de Weghe, Vice-President in charge of International Relations, were in Israël this October to visit three major universities

A delegation from Université de Rennes 1 at Technion
  1. A tour of Technion and the Faculty of Materials Engineering
  2. Tel Aviv University and the Porter School of Environmental Studies
  3. A day at the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Beer Sheva

Photo: Sébastien Linden from the French embassy in Israël, Professor Wayne D. Kaplan, Executive Vice President for Research at Technion, Professor Adam Shwartz, Senior Executive Vice President at Technion, Professor David Alis, President of Université de Rennes 1, Professor Pierre van de Weghe, Vice-President in charge of International Relations, Etienne Charbit from the French embassy in Israël.

Visits and meetings, on 22 and 23 October 2017, were organised by the French Embassy in Israël. They coincided with the beginning of the school year, providing a lively atmosphere with welcome events taking place throughout the campuses.

The visit was the opportunity to reflect on future cooperation between Université de Rennes 1 and Israël's universities, for example, in the fields of cyber security and environmental sciences.

A tour of Technion and the Faculty of Materials Engineering

Professor Adam Shwartz (Senior Executive Vice President) and Professor Wayne D. Kaplan (Executive Vice President for Research) presented Technion on the morning of 22 October. The meeting highlighted Technion's orientation towards technological research with a strong emphasis on value creation through the transfer of results to the economic world. Today, almost 1600 companies originate from Technion, of which 53% from information and communication technologies (ICT) and 24% from life sciences. With over 14000 students (9600 BSc and 3300 Msc), Technion has 18 faculties, 52 research centres, 135 training programmes (55 undergraduate and 80 graduate programmes).On an international level, Technion has two off-site campuses: a joint graduate school with Cornell Institute (New-York) and Guangdong Technion Israel Institute of Technology.

The Faculty of Materials Engineering, and in particular the microscopie platform, was presented by Dr Yaron Kauffmann. It has 14 faculty members, 24 senior researchers, 3 undergraduate programmes and an average of 28 PhD thesis are defended each year.

Tel Aviv University and the Porter School of Environmental Studies

In the afternoon, Professor Raanan Rein, Vice-President, presented Tel Aviv University. The university is the biggest in Israël with 30 000 students, 50% of whom are enrolled on master's degree or doing a PhD. It has 9 faculties, including health, chemistry, cyber security (consistent throughout the country's universities) and a business school. Innovation and entrepreneurship have an important role in the university's development. The major part of their international cooperation is with the US (joint degrees and summer schools) and in Europe, with Germany. They also have an off-site nanotechnologies centre in China.

The Porter School of Environmental Studies

A visit and discussions took place with the director of the Porter School of Environmental Studies, Professor Collin Price. This institute, which is similar structure to the OSUR (Earth and Universe Sciences Observatory) in Rennes, covers a wide range of disciplines related to environmental sciences which are approached in a multidisciplinary manner. They offer a Master's degree in Environmental Science taught in English and the possibility to participate in a summer school. The visit was the opportunity to discover one of the institute's buildings which is 50% self-sufficient in terms of power.

Professor Collin Price, Director of the Porter School of Environmental Studies at Tel Aviv University; Professor David Alis, President of Université de Rennes 1

A day at the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Beer Sheva

On 23 October, the delegation visited the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, at one and a half hour's train ride from from Tel Aviv. They were welcomed by Professor Steve Rosen (Vice-President for External Affairs). They were given an overview of the university which was founded relatively recently in 1969 and has around 20000 students, a third of whom are involved in research-oriented training. It is a multidisiplinary university with a policy to welcome students from minorities such as bedouins.

Following the visit, a meeting took place around the theme of cyber securtiy, with a welcome address from the president of the university, Professor Rivka Carmi, the first female university president in Israël. Around the table were Professor Danny Hendler, Vice-Director of the Cyber Security Centre, and Professor Shlomi Dolev (both having spent some time at Université de Rennes 1). The local ecosystem is dedicated to cyber with IBM, RSA, Elbit, Verint and Deutsche Telekom (present since 2008, and one of only two research centres outside Germany) close by.