Fraunhofer and Stef Wertheimer promote applied research in Israel

Press Release / 14.11.2014

The Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft is strengthening its ties to Israel, a world leader in technology. To that end, Europe’s largest organization for applied research is cooperating with the Israeli industrialist Stef Wertheimer. The goal of the partnership is to bring Fraunhofer institutes together with companies, research institutions, and the public sector in Israel.

© Photo Stef Wertheimer

Fraunhofer‘s new partner: the Israeli industrialist Stef Wertheimer.

© Photo Nazareth technological park

The partnership will start with a research seminar at Nazaraeth technological park.

To further this goal, Fraunhofer and Lavon industrial park have signed a letter of intent to establish a joint communications platform. Wertheimer owns the Lavon complex, which is located to the north of Haifa. The partnership will give Fraunhofer access to networks of excellence in Israel and the opportunity to work with its companies, universities, and research institutions. For their part, the Israelis will gain the opportunity to network with Fraunhofer institutes and scientists. Further goals include launching joint research projects, organizing scientist exchanges, and intensifying educational transfer. Initially, activities will focus on manufacturing-centered industry in northern Israel.

The further strategic development of the partnership will be the responsibility of an expert group led by Wertheimer and Raoul Klingner, Director International Business Development at the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft. Other supporters include Emanuel Liban, Chairman of the Israeli Society of Mechanical Engineers, and Prof. Rafael Wertheim, scientist at the Fraunhofer Institute for Machine Tools and Forming Technology IWU in Chemnitz and a close confidant of Wertheimer’s.

“Bringing relations to a new level”

“Israel is one of the most innovative countries in the world,” says Prof. Reimund Neugebauer, President of the Fraunhofer -Gesellschaft. “As a location for technology-oriented companies, Israel is particularly well-known for its many successful start ups. Fraunhofer has had ties with the country for many years: together with the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, for example, we are optimizing the effectiveness of various medications, while a previous collaboration successfully improved  the efficiency of production processes at an industrial company located in Lavon industrial park . Our partnership with an industrialist of Stef Wertheimer’s caliber, who is so highly regarded in Israel and Germany, will bring this exchange to a new level. The partnership follows the clearly defined principles of our internationalization strategy: scientific added value for Fraunhofer and positive effects for Germany and the partner country. Next year we will be celebrating 50 years of German-Israeli relations. I’m delighted that our cooperation will further strengthen the good relationship between the two countries.”

“Fraunhofer is one of the leading research institutions in the world,” says Stef Wertheimer. “The principal focus of our cooperation will be on promoting applied research in Israel. Each side will benefit from the knowledge and expertise of the other. However, for me it was important that the cooperation should achieve more than just the exchange of research know-how. It will also create jobs and have an educational component. And because good education and good jobs are major contributors to stability in our region, partnerships like this will hopefully give a boost to the peace process between Palestinians and Israelis.”

Successful entrepreneur and philanthropist

The successful Israeli industrialist Stef Wertheimer was born in 1926 in Kippenheim in southwest Germany. He founded Iscar Metalworking Company to the north of Haifa in 1952. In 2006, he sold the company to investor Warren Buffet. Today it is one of the largest toolmakers in the world and employs around 6,000 people. For several decades, Wertheimer has been founding industrial parks in less well developed regions of Israel, creating technology jobs and related education and training opportunities. He views this endeavor as an effective way to support the peace process in the Middle East. Wertheimer maintains close contact with Germany. For example, he collaborates with the state government of Baden-Wuerttemberg in the area of vocational education (“Meister” program for master craftspeople). In 2012, he was awarded the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany.

To initiate the cooperation, both partners are planning to hold a seminar on production-oriented technology in December 2nd at the Nazareth technological park with representatives of Fraunhofer institutes as well as Israeli industry and academia.