The Scientific Advisory Committee to the Kinneret Innovation Center

The Scientific Advisory Committee (“SAC”) to the Kinneret Innovation Center (“KIC”) is a committee of experts, chaired by the esteemed Prof. Shimon Gepstein, that provides academic and research expertise to the center’s management team and community of innovators.

The committee ensures there is alignment between innovation focus, investment and activities in the KIC, to provide the best possible platform for collaboration between academia and industry in development of innovations and new technologies that may result in gainful employment opportunities for faculty members, graduates and the wider regional population.

The Kinneret Innovation Center’s Scientific Advisory Committee is

  • By Invitation Only
  • Voluntary
  • Approved by the KIC Management and the Scientific Advisory Committee Chairman

The roles and responsibilities of the SAC include:

  • Participating in KIC events
  • Mentoring KIC innovators
  • Assess, opine and/or guide R&D and early stage technology innovations
  • Advise on prospective partnerships for the KIC
  • Recommend and match experts and/or advisors to active projects, initiatives or startups
  • Review technology and/or research submissions
  • Train innovators for efficient planning and use of academic research facilities
  • Tests and trials – share expert knowledge to validate, test and trial new technology innovations


Prof. Shimon Gepstein – Chairman

President of the Kinneret Academic College and winner of the Moshe Yanai Award for Excellence in Academic Education in 2011, Prof. Shimon Gepstien is an esteemed Professor of Biology and former Dean of the Faculty of Biology at the Technion. He received his M.Sc and Ph.D from Tel-Aviv University on the role of plant hormones (cytokinins) on germination. As a post-doctoral fellow with Prof. K. V. Thimann at the UC in Santa-Cruz, he initiated the studies on the role of plant hormones (ABA and ethylene) in the process of leaf aging (senescence). His patented generic technology for increasing yield and biomass in semi-arid and marginal lands, delays the aging process of transgenic plants and significantly improves their drought tolerance.
Shimon continues to lead and participate in various research activities in collaboration with top research institutes in Israel, such as the Israeli Center of Research Excellence (I-CORE), Grand Technion Energy Program (GTEP) and Grand Water Research Institute (GWRI). Among other national activities, Shimon currently serves as the Chair of the National Committee of Biotechnology of the Ministry of Agriculture.

Prof. Sybille Heilbrunn

Dean at School of Social Sciences and Humanities at the Kinneret Academic College. Sybille is skilled in sociology, entrepreneurship education, quantitative research, and research design. A strong education professional with a Bachelor’s degree focused in Empirische Kulturwissenschaften from Eberhard-Karls-Universität Tübingen. Sybille published a paper on the Transformational Leadership and Organizational Citizenship Behavior in the Arab Educational System in Israel: The Impact of Trust and Job Satisfaction and a second paper, titled Repeat Migration and Multicultural Identity: A Case Study. Her research interests include social solidarities, solidarity in organizations, and Entrepreneurship.

Mr. Shery Lev

CEO, co-founder and research development manager of Green Fingers Ltd., and Head of Agriculture at Kibbutz Kinneret. Prior to that, Shery was the subtropical and citrus division manager at Zemach Avocado, and has spent eight years in the agricultural research organization as a researcher of plant genetics and biochemistry, where he focused on molecular analysis of fruit quality traits, including phytonutrient, aroma and sugar content. Shery obtained his Masters degree in Agriculture, Agriculture Operations and related Sciences at the Hebrew University, where he also completed his Ph.D in Plant Sciences and Genetics.

Dr. Ofir Menashe

Water and wastewater microbiologist, Ofir founded BioCastle Water Technologies Ltd., a company set up to commercialize the applications of the patented Small Bioreactor Platform (SBP) technology which Ofir invented.
Ofir specializes in environmental biotechnology and has focused his efforts since 2008 on R&D of the SBP technology to utilise micro-organisms to reduce the environmental footprint compared to the use of other water conservation and treatment technologies. The SBP technology is used by BioCastle to develop new water treatment processes thereby expanding water treatment capabilities into new frontiers, making water less polluted and safe to use and/or disposal.
Dr. Ofir received his Ph.D in Biotechnology and Food Engineering (2008), and his M.Sc. in Medical Science (2002) from the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology. He holds a B.Sc. in Life Sciences (1996) from Ben-Gurion University, and is a Faculty member at the Water Industry Engineering department of the Kinneret Academic College.

Prof. Avraham Shitzer

Dean of the Achi Racov School of Engineering at the Kinneret Academic College and Head of the Department of Gas and Petroleum Engineering, Prof. Avraham Shitzer is an expert in mechanical engineering and an esteemed and well published researcher and educator. His research interests concentrate on energy, air conditioning and modelling of bio-engineering phenomena covering a range of topics such as: thermal modelling and behaviour of biological media, applications of heat transfer in medicine and biology, temperature regulation in mammals to name a few.
Avraham obtained his Ph.D. in Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, from the University of Illinois, and his earlier B.Sc. and M.Sc. degrees from the Technion, Israel Institute of Technology, where he has been teaching and conducting research for the past 40 years.

Prof. Ram Shpiner

Head of the prestigious Water Industries Engineering Department at the Kinneret Academic College, Ram is a member of the managing committee of the Israeli Water Association and a senior consultant to Balasha-Jalon Infrastructure Systems, where he designs water and wastewater treatment plants. Ram is also a Senior lecturer at the Technion Institute of Technology in the department of Environmental Engineering. Ram obtained his Ph.D at Imperial College London in 2007, where his thesis focused on the treatment of produced water in ponds systems aimed at the production of highly valuable biomass. Prior to that, he obtained his M.Sc. from the Technion in 1996, where his thesis centered on the effect of domestic garbage grinders on the sewage systems and waste water treatment plants.

Dr. Ran Suckeveriene

Group leader of the Laboratory of Polymers, Composites, and Nanocomposites at Kinneret Academic College, Ran is an experienced lecturer, scientist and faculty member of the Water Industries Engineering Department at the Kinneret Academic College since 2013 . A Technion graduate with extensive industry experience, Ran has been an industry consultant for many years, leveraging his vast multidisciplinary expertise in polymers, composites, electrochemical and electro-mechanical sensors and nanomaterials. More recently, he joined the management team of the Kinneret Innovation Center and works as CTO at Obvislim LTD.

Mr. Ron Yitzhaki

A senior executive with significant experience in agriculture and tourism management, Ron is an expert in organizational and business structures, marketing, branding and financial management. He is currently CEO of Zemach Nisyonot and Zemach Tissue Culture Ltd., both are leading-edge agricultural technology organizations in the Jordan Valley. Ron is a well-respected and highly knowledgeable leader in the influence of materials on sustainability, experimental agriculture and other regional programs in the Jordan Valley.