About USIC

Center Leadership

Susan Lapidus, Executive Director

Prof. Uri Gneezy, Academic Director

Prof. Ayelet Gneezy, Faculty Chair

Innovation and economic sustainability are both vital to the founding and long-term success of organizations. Because each taps into different skill sets and strategies, founders of innovative start-ups often measure success by a quick exit. Conversely, large, historically successful firms may struggle to be as innovative as responsive as smaller, younger competitors.

We see this dynamic in the economies of Israel and the United States. Israel is the “start-up nation,” second only to the US in number of startup companies despite having 1/40th the population and a total land mass equal to New Jersey. Although Israeli businesses are exceptional at idea generation and innovation, however, they often lack the experience, skills, and resources to bring products to market on a large scale and to invest in the financial stability of new ventures.

In contrast, the United States is home to over 25% of the world’s largest companies. American industries are skilled at scaling up and investing in new, profitable markets. Some claim that this has come at the cost of innovation, as other countries close the gap on the number of per capita startups, number of patents, R&D investments, and other measures.

The US-Israel Center on Innovation and Economic Sustainability brings together academics, industry leaders, entrepreneurs and community supporters from around the world to work collaboratively on issues of innovation and growth. These connections foster discourse on both how to innovate and how to translate innovation into economic sustainability.


It’s no coincidence that a center of innovation finds its home in San Diego. As a “cluster of innovation,” we are a geographic concentration of competing and cooperating companies, suppliers, service providers, and associated institutions that together make what has been called the Innovation Capital of the World. San Diego fairly buzzes with cutting-edge R&D, entrepreneurial enterprises, and ongoing growth of established companies in engineering, tech, telecommunications, military science, medicine, and the life sciences. In this environment, UCSD has established itself as a leader in scientific discovery and impact.

The Rady School of Management at UC San Diego was founded in this same entrepreneurial spirit. Here, technical talent meets business skills necessary to implement visionary endeavors. In the 10 years since its inception, Rady School alumni have founded over 45 businesses and continue to make major contributions to our community’s reputation as a hotbed of innovation.

For these reasons, the Rady School at UC San Diego is the ideal host institution for this dynamic center on innovation and economic sustainability.