Professor Michael (Miki) Elad
Excellence Program head during the years 2015 – 2019
The term “excellence” describes all Technion’s activity. The faculties in the campus strive tirelessly towards excellence and are measured frequently by international evaluation committees. The curriculums are always updated to fit scientific developments and innovations, and new necessities from the industry. Even the Technion’s teaching, which has received a hand full of criticism throughout the years, has come a long way, and is now at a level which can be describe as ‘touching excellence’. As a whole, one can say the students in the Technion are excellent, and that would be even truer in the competitive faculties which have really challenging curriculums.
In this competitive scenery, there is a special gem – The Rothschild Scholars Program for Excellence. This program is intended for the topmost percentile among those who are accepted each year for under graduate studies, and its goal is to guide its student towards higher education and advanced research. Nimrod Moiseyev, who conceived and established the program, can see his vision coming to life year after year, when program alumni choose to continue their studies and reach the highest level in academia and in leading industry. It has been a privilege to get to know up close the program’s work during the four years I served as its head.
It has been a unique delight to meet the best of the Israeli youth, with all its variations: Jews and Arabs, religious and secular, boys and girls, young and older, and to see their development during their studies in the Technion and watch how they mature and make their first steps into the world of research.
The choice of the Rothschild Caesarea Foundation to fund the program’s work is not an obvious one, and for that we are very grateful and view it as a compliment to the level of our work. I end my role and hand over the reins with the understanding that we must constantly strive to do better in order to preserve the excellence that is our benchmark.
Professor Shimon Marom and Professor Erez Braun
Excellence Program heads during the years 2012 – 2015
We were fortunate to head the program during a period of transition. Over twenty years had passed since the Program had been established, since its founder—Prof. Nimrod Moiseyev—envisioned a program that would provide the best possible conditions to exceptional students, conditions that would enable what was not very possible at that time: movement between different specialization fields, flexibility in building study programs, encouraging research already in the early stages of academic training, and associated economic incentives (financial needs, dormitory scholarships and tuition scholarships). Over the years, Prof. Moiseyev’s vision had partially been realized. When we became the Program heads, we found that it was so successful that every Technion Faculty had or was in the process of establishing an Excellence Program that would effectively offer an identical framework to the Technion-wide Excellence Program.
The original Technion Excellence Program had lost its uniqueness. After deliberations, and with the blessing of the Technion administration and the more senior Program heads (Prof. Moiseyev and Prof. Bruckstein), we decided to change the Program’s structure. Our guiding principle stemmed from the recognition of the importance of foundational training for integration among knowledge areas—the exact sciences, life sciences and engineering. The Program, in its updated format, encourages application to the Technion without applying to a specific Faculty. Applying to a specific Faculty takes place at the end of the first full academic year, during which students receive basic and deep training in foundational fields—mathematics and physics—and intensive enrichment in basic scientific concepts, from different perspectives, which enables them to integrate methodologies and content from different disciplines. After a little more than three years of leading the Program in this new format, we—the Program staff and students—knew its strengths and weak points, and entrusted the continued leadership of Program into the trustworthy hands of Prof. Miki Elad.
We were graced with the opportunity to take part in the process of educating wonderful young people, each one so different from the other, and for this, we are grateful. It was also our great good fortune to work with Ms. Tammy Porat, the Program coordinator, the mother of each of her students (and her heads), who without her support and smile would not have been able to advance anywhere, and for this too, we are thankful.
We wish everyone success.
Professor Alfred M. Bruckstein
Excellence Program head during the years 2006 – 2012
The Technion Excellence Program was established 19 years ago, thanks to the donation made by the Chais Family Foundation. The Program objective is to identify people with exceptional abilities and to introduce them to academic research fields in the Technion by building a personalized and flexible study program, designed to enable them to fully realize their academic potential.
The process of selecting students for the Program emphasizes originality, intellectual inquisitiveness and real interest in the sciences and technology. Program candidates are evaluated by a panel of examiners in order to identify the rare combination of outstanding ability and talents along with motivation, maturity and interest in scientific fields or specific technologies, in order to enable these candidates to exploit the academic freedom this Program offers in the best possible way.
Hundreds of faculty members from all the Technion Faculties assist the Excellence Program. Their involvement includes selecting the students that are admitted to the Program and participating as guidance counselors, helping students build a personalized and optimized undergraduate study program in the student’s field of interest as early as possible in advance of their research project, which in many cases will lead them to a graduate degree or to a scientific or technological achievement in addition to their studies.
From a perspective of 19 years after the establishment of the Technion Excellence Program, we can say in all certainty that it has produced amazing results. Many Program graduates have gone on to advanced studies in Israel or abroad, with outstanding scientific achievements. Many of them hold leading positions in innovative high tech companies. Program graduates testify that the Excellence Program made a significant contribution to their scientific and technological development and enabled them to realize their potential in the best way. It is important to note that over the years, Program participants have become models to be emulated in their professional milieu, in the Technion and beyond.
We at the Technion are proud of the exceptional students in this program, and see them as trailblazers, pioneers and leaders in the scientific and technological revolutions of tomorrow.
Professor Nimrod Moiseyev
Excellence Program founder and head during the years 1992 – 2006
There is no doubt that selected students should be encouraged to push forward. To enable them to progress in their studies at an accelerated pace so that they can exploit their latent potential in the best way possible.
The mantra of “learn differently” and the slogan of “our only law is that they are no laws” stem from the recognition of the importance of breaking out of the accepted frameworks, in order to enable deepening and creative development in different and interdisciplinary subjects.