Israel's Economic Development: The Role of Institutionalized Technology Transfer

40 Pages Posted: 16 Sep 2004

Date Written: February 3, 2005


Until 1948 the year Israel gained independence from Britain, its land was mostly barren, sparsely populated, and its agriculture performed by small communes of inexperienced farmers. Its manufacturing was cottage industry in format. Over the years, Israeli universities and institutes have researched various aspects of agriculture and agricultural engineering needs for arid and semi arid zones of the globe. Like in the US such developments were immediately transferred to the agricultural communes and to private farmers on a gratis basis. As a matter of government policy it has shared much of its agricultural knowledge with developing countries. Eight years after independence, the first University/Institute technology transfer (TT) unit (YEDA) was established by the Weizmann Institute of Science. This organization is still operational and has amassed a long track record of successful TT to the private sector. Since early 1980s all other universities, medical research institutions, and government laboratories have followed suit with their own TT organizations. Israel has over a dozen each, of high tech business incubators and technoparks. Israel?s per capita exports in 2002 were 16.58 greater then in 1970 despite the fact that its population has more than doubled during that period. Today, Israel is an R&D pioneer in software, telecommunications, biotechnology and the life sciences. ?t is an undeclared nuclear power, and the world?s 5th largest exporter of advanced weapons systems. Much of that was accomplished through institutionalized TT from abroad and from indigenous innovations at its government and university laboratories using the US model as reviewed in Reisman and Cytraus, (2004).

The real-world facts assembled, and insights gained from results of fairly simple statistical analysis of hard data are pregnant with meaning for socio-economic science practitioners and researchers alike. Lastly, some analyses to support future policy decisions are suggested.

Keywords: Technology transfer, History of Technology Transfer, Israeli technology transfer; Israel; Intellectual property; Diffusion of technology, Development, Agricultural extension, Incubators, Technoparks, Policy

Suggested Citation

Reisman, Arnold, Israel's Economic Development: The Role of Institutionalized Technology Transfer (February 3, 2005). Available at SSRN: or

Arnold Reisman (Contact Author)

Reisman and Associates ( email )

Shaker Heights, OH 44122
United States

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