By Adam Shwartz, outgoing Director of the Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute
As I prepare to hand the reins of the Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute to our extraordinary incoming Director, Ron Brachman, I’m reminded of the words of Michael Bloomberg, whose vision has made this campus possible. As Mayor of New York City, whenever he introduced a new commissioner or deputy mayor, he’d conclude by saying, “now don’t screw it up.” Well, Ron, my advice to you is the opposite: You are inheriting a place for experimentation – the only way you can screw it up is by not changing anything!
The Jacobs Institute is a place to push the boundaries of academia and explore the emerging frontiers of the digital age. As the outgoing Director of the Jacobs Institute, I have had the opportunity to shape its strategic vision, to oversee the development of its innovative dual-degree programs and to support this groundbreaking partnership between Cornell University and the Technion Israel-Institute of Technology.
The Institute’s core strength lies in its cutting-edge approach to education and its unrelenting focus on possibility. In my time as Director, I oversaw the creation and refining of an innovative curriculum, offering a truly global degree from both Cornell University and the Technion through study entirely in the U.S.
I’m particularly proud of the incredible faculty we’ve brought in and new initiatives we’ve developed. People like Mor Naaman, Shiri Azenkot, Ari Juels and Nicki Dell are cutting-edge researchers pushing the boundaries in their respective fields. Through our partnership with AOL, the Connective Experiences Lab is developing pioneering technologies. And with our recent hires in the field of security and privacy at Cornell Tech joining Ari, we now have one of the strongest groups in the world.
Ron Brachman is the ideal candidate to continue to build the Jacobs Institute’s strategic vision as a global hub of research, education, technology transfer, commercialization and entrepreneurship. As a nontraditional appointment for an academic position, Ron brings a new perspective with his considerable experience managing research teams at industry-leading organizations.
His particular background supports the Jacobs Institute’s unique approach to innovation and learning. At Yahoo Labs, he oversaw the creation of new laboratories in Israel (the Yahoo Laboratory in Haifa), China, New York City, Spain and Chile, among others, building new initiatives from the ground up and growing them to a tremendous scale. His CV is full of the names we all know and respect – AT&T Labs, Bell Labs, DARPA. I am confident that he can help the Jacobs Institute continue to grow, to quickly reach its target goals.
The Jacobs Institute serves as a hub for faculty and students excited about experimental learning. In the next year, I look forward to the continuing success of the Runway startup postdoctoral program, as a bridge for postdoctoral students interested in a more entrepreneurial outlook. I’m proud of the growth of our current hubs for Connective Media and Health Tech and am excited to see how new partnerships are forged at this innovative institution.
I truly enjoyed my time as the Director of the Jacobs Institute, and I am excited to continue to support this global partnership as the Chair of its Board of Directors and as the Senior Executive Vice President of the Technion Israel-Institute of Technology.