The Zimin Institute for Engineering Solutions Advancing Better Lives was inaugurated in the presence of Dmitry Zimin and his son, Boris, of Moscow, together with TAU President Joseph Klafter and other senior TAU officials.
The interdisciplinary institute, established to ensure that no good idea goes to waste due to a lack of funding, will award generous research grants to projects with high potential for positive, real-world impact. Ultimately, the Institute’s mission will be to further channel Israel’s renowned startup mentality into the service of humankind.
A vote of confidence in TAU
“There couldn’t have been a better time to launch this initiative,” said TAU President Joseph Klafter at the inauguration ceremony. “The Institute reinforces everything that TAU stands for and that Israel – and the world at large – needs. It positions the modern university, not as an ivory tower, but as an institution that is engaged and responsive to societal needs.”
The establishment of the Institute on the TAU campus demonstrates the deep belief of the Zimin family in the power of Israeli academia to generate fresh solutions for a diverse range of health, environmental and social issues. As Dr. Dmitry Zimin stated, “We established the Institute at Tel Aviv University because of our confidence in the entrepreneurial DNA of Israeli researchers and their ability to translate findings into valuable products with real-world impact.”
“The Zimin Institute combines scientific innovation and entrepreneurship, interdisciplinary creativity and connection to the needs of industry and society,” said Prof. Klafter. “It is a vote of confidence by the Zimin family in our capabilities.”
Dr. Zimin quipped that he “anticipates getting an invitation to the Nobel Prize awarding ceremony of one of the researchers affiliated with the Institute at some point in the future.”
Trailblazing Russian philanthropists
The Institute was established at the behest of Dmitry Zimin, a successful scientist, author, businessman and inventor with over one hundred academic publications and patents to his credit. It marks his second major gift to the University, following the establishment of a project at TAU’s Buchmann Faculty of Law last year, which promotes Israeli-Russian student exchange and the study of Russia law.
A graduate of the Moscow Aviation Institute, Dr. Zimin holds a PhD in technical sciences and, for over 35 years, held leadership positions at the Mintz Radio Technical Institute. He is the former CEO and current Honorary President of mobile telecommunications company VimpelCom, which was the first Russian Federation company to be listed on the New York Stock Exchange. In 2001, upon his retirement, he founded the Dynasty Foundation, the first private non-profit supporting basic science and education in post-Soviet Russia. Dr. Zimin was awarded the Andrew Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy in 2013, often referred to as the “Nobel Prize of philanthropy,” becoming the first Russian philanthropist to be recognized through this prestigious award.
Supporting the most promising ideas
The Institute will support the most exciting research projects in fields such as healthcare, life prolongation, brain studies, and artificial intelligence. Specific topics may include precision medicine, quantitative microscopy for enhancing IVF treatment success rates, deep learning & medical diagnosis, technologies to improve drinking water quality, environmental monitoring, and many, many more.
Supported projects will be selected annually by a dedicated Scientific Board and International Advisory Board. Criteria for funding include applicability of the research and the extent of multidisciplinary collaboration among group members.
Head of the Institute, Prof. David Mendlovic, of the Iby and Aladar Fleischman Faculty of Engineering, gave a presentation on how the Institute will operate. Research grants will be awarded for a period of one or two years; an average of five projects are anticipated to be supported annually; and findings will be presented at biannual international Zimin Institute conferences.
Also in attendance at the ceremony were TAU Rector Yaron Oz; Vice President for R&D Yoav Henis; Vice President for Resource Development, Amos Elad; Senior Executive for Regional Development and Public Affairs Haim Ben Yakov; and the deans of the faculties of engineering, exact sciences, life sciences and medicine.