The Central Bohemian Region STAR has welcomed the stars of Israeli innovation
The Czech Republic has the potential to rank among the Top 10 World Innovation Destinations. How to achieve this, and can the experience of a technological superpower such as Israel be transferred to the Czech environment? On November 20, almost 100 participants of the Czech-Israeli Innovation Day organized by STAR Research & Innovation Cluster and the Czech-Israeli Mixed Chamber of Commerce in the ELI Beamlines laser center in Dolní Břežany discussed this.
It is difficult to find a more suitable place to hold a conference on innovation in Bohemia than the scientific and technological cluster STAR (Science and Technology Advanced Region) on the southern outskirts of Prague. The BIOCEV, ELI and HiLase science and research centers for more than 10 billion crowns are located on 6 km 2 . There are hi-tech companies focused on biotechnology, X-ray optics and 3D metal printing. STAR region was awarded CzechInvest as an attractive region of the Czech Republic this year. Not in vain he is nicknamed Silicon Valley in Central Bohemia. “Israel and its technological miracle are a great inspiration for STAR. I believe that today’s exchange of experience with Israel will help us significantly in building the cluster, ” said
Věslav Michalik, Mayor of Dolní Břežany and Chairman of the Board of Directors of STAR..
“It’s a great day. Czech and Israeli scientists and businessmen gathered here, the format that I see as the most important for our country in the future. It is a dialogue on the entry of science and research into practical manufacturing processes and trade. From my point of view, the era of industry is already fading, and now a new era of innovation is needed. And that’s where Israel is one of the best countries in the world, ”said Pavel Smutný, president of the Czech-Israeli Chamber of Commerce.. At the same time, he added that Czechs have similar ability to improvise and creativity as Israelis. Examples of successful cooperation can already be found.
The Czech Footprint in the Development of New Drugs
The Czech-Israeli meeting program was divided into three areas: science and research, business, and possible implications for regional development such as STAR. The scientific section was represented at the highest possible level. From the Weizmann Institute of Science, prof. Joel Sussman , whose insights contribute significantly to the understanding and treatment of diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease or autism. “The main goal for both sides is to get an idea of where we can be mutually beneficial and where we can establish good cooperation. I think our party can learn from some highly innovative ideas, such as ELI and BIOCEV. Conversely, Czechs can be inspired by management and management in Israel. This is a way to create ideas, “said prof. Sussman, and he has not forgotten to mention the recently opened program of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic and the Weizmann Institute, based on which the first Czech PhD students are heading to Israel.
Another scientific speaker was the world-renowned biochemist from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, prof. Amiram Goldblum. The discoverer of the algorithm for solving extremely complex combinational problems and the founder of several successful companies presented the process of drug development, including patenting, cooperation with industry and Czech partners. Prof. Among other things, Goldblum served as Director of Yissum’s Technology Transfer Officer at Hebrew University. His scientific activities have reached the cover of Time magazine.
From rockets to medical needs
The industrial part of the program was launched by Gideon Sturlesi , CEO and President of LifeBond. An experienced manager, founder of several medical companies and investment funds, has long been the commercial director of the Israeli arms factory Rafael. The combination of military and civilian research is, according to many, behind the Israeli miracle. One of the presented stories of such cooperation is the equipment in CCTV missiles. By gradual cooling, the technology protects the rocket tip from overheating during flight. In healthcare, technology has been used for example in prostate examinations and other surgical procedures.
Oren Simanian, who is an important figure in the Israeli start-up ecosystem , talked about how to create a successful ecosystem. According to Oren, a network of interactions between people, organizations and the environment is needed to establish a successful start-up ecosystem. Entrepreneurs always need an eco-system, a community in which to share their experiences, gain support, and create products that benefit society. ” And if the bureaucracy throws your feet in business, look beyond,” Oren Simanian advises.
Smart cars in smart cities
For a successful development of the region, a high-quality infrastructure and environment for the life of the population is necessary. An example of “good practice” was the Israeli city of Ra’anana, considered one of the most successful in implementing the Smart City concept. He was represented at the conference by Mayor Ze’ev Bielski , according to which the success lies in offering services oriented directly to the needs of the population, rather than creating large and expensive systems. It also considers public-private partnerships (PPPs) or the provision of services using “open data” from municipalities to be key.
The field of mobility innovation was represented by Guy Pross , founder of TLV 31 °, a consultancy that has more than 500 corporate, municipal and government clients looking to deploy smart solutions in their processes – from automotive to mobile technology. On the Czech side, Jarmila Plachá from ŠKODA AUTO DigiLab, who this year concluded an innovation partnership with Champion Motors Ltd., an Israeli importer of the Czech brand, spoke at the conference . One of the objectives of this agreement was to gain direct access to innovative projects, hi-tech start-ups and IT-talents in Israel, which will be of great importance to ŠKODA AUTO.
So how to apply the Israeli model in Czech conditions when most successful technologies are based on the defense industry? “If you don’t have a business based on war, focus on education,” said Mayor of Ra’nan, Ze’ev Bielski, during the final panel discussion. “Innovation is not just technology, IT, start-ups and similar terms. Innovation starts with ourselves, innovation begins with the need to change the environment around us. And the best way is to focus on the youngest generations, ” said Iris Ambor , director of Southern Europe from the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Even the Czech side is not behind in this respect. Through its university, ŠKODA AUTO offers students the opportunity to test their own business in “laboratory conditions”. Israelis like to say that innovation is part of their DNA. Hopefully, our next generation (not only at STAR) will also be equipped with this valuable genetic information, and the Czech Republic is truly one of the Top 10 Innovative Destinations.