Report: Iran Catching Up to Israel in Tech

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu uses a chart as he speaks about the Iranian nuclear program during the 67th session of the United Nations General Assembly September 27, 2012 at UN headquarters in New York. Photo by Avi Ohayon/ GPO / Flash90
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu uses a chart as he speaks about the Iranian nuclear program during the 67th session of the United Nations General Assembly September 27, 2012 at U.N. headquarters in New York. (Avi Ohayon/GPO/ Flash90)

A new study shows that since the deal that Iran struck with Western countries on development of its nuclear program, the country has increased its scientific capability and capacity significantly – to the extent that it is quickly closing the gap with Israel.

The study, conducted by a foreign policy study center at the Technion and based on data from UNESCO, compared, among other things, the “human capital” that Iran and Israel had in terms of researchers, students, and other individuals who could engage in development of high-tech projects. In Israel, approximately 14 out of every thousand students had the math, science, and technical skills to work in top tech projects; in Iran, the study found, that number is 25 per thousand.

Iranian universities are also improving by leaps and bounds. Already, universities in Iran release twice as many academic studies per capita as Israeli universities. Not all of the Iranian studies can be considered legitimate, however, since they, as a matter of course, discount any research done in Israel, which has collaborated on tens of thousands of studies in all areas of science and research.

Neither Israel nor Iran are leaders in math studies, but Iran has been improving in this area as well, the study showed. In addition, Iran has made a special effort to increase its capabilities in cybersecurity and missile technology – two developments, the study said, that greatly concern the IDF. And the country has a very clear academic development program, aimed at turning it into a regional leader in science.

“The conclusion to be drawn from this study is that Israel must take quick and dramatic action to maintain its quality and lead over Iran in technology areas,” the study said. “It is a matter of not only national security, but ensuring that Israel has access to international markets and can retain the customers it already works with.”