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Terms and Dates:

  • Winter 2023
    January 8, 2023 to January 18, 2023


Michael Escosia

Cornell Affiliations:

Cornell Tech

Off-campus partner:

Technion Israel Institute of Technology




January 2023 is planned to be in-person

Opportunity Description

Startup Nation: Innovation in Israel (Cornell Tech iTrek)

Title Picture

iTrek is a 1.5 credit, 10-day academic and cultural trip offering students of varying backgrounds an opportunity to be exposed to and participate in the innovative ecosystem in Israel. Pre-iTrek coursework in New York will introduce topic areas and team requirements for the intensive ideation competition involving two major Israeli hospital systems, while coursework in Israel will focus on the development of digital solutions in a design-led workshop.

The program emphasizes the joint Technion and Cornell academic partnership and thus, a major component of the iTrek program is an intensive academic ideation competition during the first half.  Students in engineering and business from Cornell Tech and the Technion are grouped together with professional designers based in Tel Aviv to work collaboratively in an intensified sprint to address challenges, develop workable ideas, and ultimately create social change. The second half of the iTrek is a cultural exploration of Israel focusing on its historical landmarks and emerging startups and organizations, when appropriate. 

Students receive 1.5 Credits 1

1 Note: this course does not count towards technical requirements

Ideation Competition


MindState Sprint – Sourasky Medical Center, Tel Aviv 2020 from MindState on Vimeo.

The first part of the course is in the design-led ideation competition organized by the organization, MindStateMindState is a platform which explores societal challenges through working with teams made up of diverse participants attempting to achieve innovative change, first locally, then globally.

The program starts with the multi-disciplinary teaming of students from both institutions in October of the fall semester. Mixed teams of Technion, Cornell Tech, Tel Aviv University students, and professional designers from Israeli-based companies like WIX and Monday, will collaborate during the semester to design novel engineering and business solutions to some of the most pressing challenges encountered in modern healthcare.  In January, students will prototype a solution in an intense 2.5-day event that involves engineering and product development, accompanied by a business strategy. These solutions will be presented to some of the largest hospital systems in Israel, venture capitalists, individual investors, and several other members of the startup ecosystem in Israel in the hopes of furthering its development.

This year’s projects and theme has not been determined but will focus on creating digital solutions to address the various challenges in a field. Last year, the group focused on the following:

  • global health (e.g., pandemics, natural disasters)
  • the healthcare system (e.g., hospital design, patient's relationship with the system)
  • patient care (e.g., diseases/disorders caused by changes)

Fall Course Schedule

This program requires meeting as a class on specific days/times and with your individual teams scheduled on your own during the fall semester starting in November. This is meant to be highly collaborative and mostly team-managed that involves team members located in different parts of the world. It is expected that work, research, and individual team meetings are self-scheduled between November and January and completed outside of typical work and school hours. Students are expected to communicate and involve every team member in team decisions. Staff will guide you on necessary milestones. 


Time: 11:00 - 14:00



TBD   Course introduction
TBD   Team assignments 
TBD   Pre-departure orientation

Two short team meetings will be scheduled (1- with mentors) early November and (2- with MindState) late November.

Travel Information and Logistics

Official travel dates for the program run from Sunday, January 8 through Wednesday, January 18. All participating students must arrive into Tel Aviv by 3:00 pm on Sunday for group travel to Haifa; otherwise, s/he will be responsible for arranging their own travel at their own expense. Standby for information about possible group flights.

Visas are not required for U.S. citizens for visits less than 3 months. Non-U.S. citizens are responsible for obtaining a visa as required. Students should refer to the Office of Global Learning who will provide the necessary supporting documents by the program. You will receive detailed information on next steps for obtaining the appropriate visa when your application to iTrek has been confirmed.

For estimated costs, visit the Cost page.


Prizes and Outcomes

Winning teams in January are expected to receive up to $5,000 per winning team, exclusive meetings with VC firms to further develop their idea, and/or travel grants – all dependent on availability of funds at the time of the competition.

The MindState Ideation Competition is grateful for the support of the Dr. Joseph Holt and Halaine Maccabee Rose Honor Fund.

Many of the iTrek groups also carry their work into the Cornell Tech Startup Award competition, which happens in the spring. Past winners went on to receive pre-seed funding to jumpstart their venture into real solutions for medical institutions around the world. If you think your potential solution is viable and can compete, you can work concurrently with Startup (or BigCo) Studio and compete after completing the spinout clinic and other requirements for Startup Awards.


Frequently Asked Questions

See Requirements page for FAQ