BOG 2018: Engineering for Life

The Zimin Institute for Engineering Solutions for Advancing Better Lives is harnessing Israeli ingenuity in the service of humankind
11 June 2018
TAU President Joseph Klafter and Mr. Boris Zimin

Dr. Dmitry Zimin of Russia, an engineer, businessman and philanthropist, has a broad-ranging vision: to harness Israel’s renowned startup mentality to raise quality of life for people around the world. To this end, he has partnered with Tel Aviv University’s Iby and Aladar Fleischman Faculty of Engineering to establish the Zimin Institute for Engineering Solutions for Advancing Better Lives.


TAU President Joseph Klafter said, “Dmitry Zimin’s vision is to channel the boundless creativity of Israeli engineers toward bettering the world. Once he saw that Tel Aviv University could deliver such a vision, his decision to partner with us was swift and decisive.”


Founded in 1971, TAU’s Faculty of Engineering is Israel’s largest and most influential engineering school. Today, in addition to its mission to maintain – and sharpen – Israel’s technological edge, the faculty encourages its students and researchers to apply their ingenuity toward generating solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges. Their research – which often brings them together with scientists from other disciplines – spans areas as diverse as water purification, pollution and toxin monitoring, battling disease, renewable energy, cyber-security and many more.


The Zimin Institute will support projects with life-improving applications.  It will also hold a biannual international conference bringing together academics, professionals, and government and industry representatives from Israel and worldwide to share insights.  


The Institute was founded by TAU Honorary Doctor Dmitry B. Zimin, a professor of engineering at the State University – Higher School of Economics in Moscow whose rich academic career spans over 60 years. He is the former CEO and current Honorary President of mobile telecommunications company VimpelCom, which became the first Russian Federation company to be listed on the New York Stock Exchange. For his extensive charitable endeavors, Zimin became the first Russian philanthropist to be awarded the Andrew Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy in 2013. At TAU, he previously launched a project at TAU’s Buchmann Faculty of Law in support of Israeli-Russian student exchange and the study of Russian law.    


“This is a partnership made in heaven,” continued Prof. Klafter. “Tel Aviv University’s well-developed innovation ecosystem and its close and extensive ties with industry make it ideally positioned to advance the applied research that Dmitry is so passionate about.”


Prof. Klafter thanked Dr. Zimin’s son, Boris, for representing his father, who was unable to attend, at the ceremony, held at the Raya and Josef Jaglom Auditorium. Speaking on behalf of his father, Mr. Zimin said, “Thank you for honoring my father and thank you for this mark of partnership. I hope that this institute will be one of our best investments in the future and we hope to see results soon.”


Prof. David Mendlovic of the Fleischman Faculty, himself a serial inventor and entrepreneur, will head the Institute. Speaking at the ceremony, he noted that it would take two years for the high-quality projects selected to mature into technologies that could be implemented. He announced the winners of this year’s research grants: Prof. Yael Hanein (Engineering) and Prof. Tom Schonberg (Life Sciences) in the area of skin sensors; Dr. Noam Shomron (Medicine), DNA sequencing; and Prof. Rami Haj-Ali (Engineering), artificial intelligence algorithms that can predict the optimal time for aortic valve replacement and treatment.



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