A $1.6-million donation by the Gerald Schwartz & Heather Reisman Foundation in support of an academic partnership between the University of Waterloo and Technion-Israel Institute of Technology will support a number of ground-breaking research projects in the areas of quantum information science, water, and nanotechnology.
“The donation is in support of our various collaborative research initiatives we have. It will mean a lot more than just providing financial support. It is a huge endorsement to this fantastic collaboration between two world-class universities,” said Feridun Hamdullahpur, president and vice-chancellor of the University of Waterloo.
“We have some similar understandings, similar goals and similar objectives as to what we could collectively do to really make a big difference in the discoveries of new knowledge in these areas and to get support from private citizens like Gerald Schwartz and Heather Reisman means a lot, because they do believe in the nature of a partnership.”
One of the projects to come out of the Waterloo-Technion Research Co-operation Program – which was established in 2014 and began with a joint conference in Israel – focuses on the use of nanotechnology to treat lung diseases by carrying medicine directly to the source of the problem. This increases the drugs’ effectiveness and minimizes harmful side effects.
The research is a joint project between Waterloo’s Prof. Frank Gu of the Waterloo Institute for Nanotechnology and Prof. Josué Sznitman, of Technion’s faculty of biomedical engineering and the Russell Berrie Nanotechnology Institute.
Another project, in the field of quantum computing, aims to build a scalable, universal quantum computer, which will be capable of things a regular computer can’t do in the areas of database search, machine learning, drug design, information security and more.
Hamdullahpur said that when he discussed with Technion president Peretz Lavie which projects would be best for the two institutions to collaborate on, they agreed that they didn’t want to waste a lot of time talking about the partnership.
“We said let’s get to it and do the thing that is the absolute right thing to do – put our researchers together – and that’s what we did. Within that short year, we ended up with a lot of excellent initiatives, some of which are already producing results right now,” Hamdullahpur said.
“The collaboration between the University of Waterloo and the Technion focuses on joint research between Israeli and Canadian scientists in areas crucial to making our world a better place,” Lavie said.
“I cannot think of a better partner for such projects than the University of Waterloo, and it is the vision and generosity of Gerald Schwartz and Heather Reisman that are making this promising partnership a reality.”
Hamdullahpur said that while Waterloo has agreements with other Israeli institutions, the partnership with Technion is unique.
“There are some other wonderful institutions in Israel, and hopefully we will be establishing more relationships with them, but right now, focus is very important to us and we have put this collaboration onto a solid platform and we really want to focus there and hopefully we will expand this into other partnerships as we go along.”