The considerable contributions of the Weizmann Institute to the State of Israel can be seen everywhere, in all sectors, especially in industry and science education. On this page are descriptions of the Institute’s contributions to industry and national policy. Click here for information on the pioneering activities of the Weizmann Institute in the field of science education.
WEIZAC, one of the world’s earliest electronic computers and Israel’s first, was designed and built at the Institute, its construction completed in 1954. This computer has recently been recognized as a milestone in the world history of computer development. Following WEIZAC, two Golem computers were built at the Institute in the 1960s, laying the foundation for the software industry in Israel, today one of the country’s leading economic sectors. The Institute’s Feinberg Graduate School was the first academic institution in Israel to teach computer science.
The Weizmann Institute of Science was the first to introduce cancer research in Israel, the first to build particle accelerators, and the first to establish, in 1959, a technology transfer company - Yeda - that enriched Israel’s economy and drove the country’s advanced industries forward.
The first hi-tech park in Israel, Kiryat Weizmann, was established in Nes Ziona on the initiative of the Weizmann Institute. Today it is home to dozens of companies developing and manufacturing pharmaceuticals and other products based on Institute scientists’ inventions. New innovations on the horizon include advanced vaccinations, nanomaterials that might greatly improve the functioning of various machines, unique molecules and antibodies for advanced medicine, innovative electro-optic components and sophisticated research tools.
Thousands of Israeli citizens, including new immigrants and graduates of the Institute’s Feinberg Graduate School, find jobs in companies manufacturing advanced products based on knowledge provided by the Weizmann Institute of Science.
Drugs developed at the Institute and already approved for use in different countries include Israel’s first ethical (original) drug, Copaxone, for the treatment of multiple sclerosis, produced and marketed by Teva; another multiple sclerosis drug, Rebif, produced and marketed by Serono; and a new vaccination for viral liver infection (hepatitis B), to be produced and marketed by Biotechnology General. An original method for bone marrow transplants from mismatched donors is implemented at a number of hospitals in Israel and abroad, as is a non-invasive method for distinguishing between malignant and benign tumors using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
Numerous additional drugs, including a treatment for type 1 diabetes and a vaccination for spinal cord injuries, are today in advanced stages of clinical trials.
Institute scientists have developed improved varieties of agricultural crops: protein-rich, high-yield wheat; early-ripening melons; disease-resistant Delilah cucumbers and others.
Electronic encryption systems developed by Institute scientists are being manufactured in Israel and serve, among other applications, for encoding and decoding satellite-TV broadcasts.
These products, manufactured mainly in Israel and sold around the world for billions of dollars a year, bring a great deal of foreign currency into Israel.
Institute scientists have initiated the establishment of technological “incubators” that assist inventors and entrepreneurs in their first steps.
The tradition of Institute scientists holding public service posts goes back a long way:
Dr. Chaim Weizmann, the Institute’s founder and first President, served as the first President of the State of Israel. Prof. Ephraim Katzir, who was one of the pioneers of Institute research and headed its Biophysics Department from 1949 to 1973, was Israel’s fourth President and a recipient of the Israel Prize in natural sciences.
Institute scientists have served as Chief Scientists in various government ministries and have held such positions as President of the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities, Chairman of the Planning and Budget Committee of the Council for Higher Education, Director-General of the Israel Atomic Energy Commission, and Chairman of the National Council for Research and Development. Other Institute scientists have headed various national task forces.