Head South to the Next Silicon Valley
October 3, 2013
Tech Republic — If you’re looking for where the next Silicon Valley could coalesce, then Ben-Gurion University of the Negev is one of the most important places to watch.
“The groundbreaking work the University is doing in public-private partnerships, the cooperation with the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), the sense of mission and destiny that Israelis have about the Negev, and the determination, urgency and resourcefulness that have been created by Israel’s 65-year existential crisis are creating an environment Research where technology, cybersecurity and entrepreneurship are uniquely positioned to succeed,” writes Jason Hiner of TechRepublic.
September 3, 2013 opened a new chapter in the history of the tech industry and cyber security in Israel. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu led the inauguration of the Advanced Technologies Park (ATP) adjacent to BGU’s Marcus Family Campus in Beer-Sheva.
“Today we are launching the economic anchor that will turn Beer-Sheva into a national and international center for cybernetics and cybersecurity,” PM Netanyahu said at the opening ceremony. “This is a day that will change the history of the State of Israel and we are doing it here in Beer-Sheva.”
The combination of Israel’s perpetual concern with defense and its technological prowess have turned cyber security into one of the country’s most important exports. And BGU has been established as a key player in Israel’s cyber security strategy.
In 2012, BGU became the first Israeli university to offer graduate study tracks in cyber security, a joint initiative of the Departments of Information Systems Engineering and Computer Science.
Now the establishment of the ATP is creating a symbiotic relationship between three potent entities: academia, the high-tech business community and the IDF’s elite technology intelligence units.
Where the magic is expected to happen is in locating these three onto adjacent campuses where they can collaborate on projects, share data, and feed each other’s needs for talent, resources and thought leadership.
Over 60 years ago, Israel’s first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion, envisioned that the Negev would be the future of Israel.
“The south will be at the center of Israel’s activity and concern. Only in these areas is there a little open space, totally absent in the north, and there is room for additional extensive settlement based on agriculture and pasture as well as on workshops, mines and industry…Only researchers and scientists who live within the gates of the Negev…will succeed in revealing what is concealed in the bosom of the earth, and the Dead Sea,” said David Ben-Gurion.
“They will study the blessings of the sky and the sun and the uppermost air which shower endless treasures of energy, dew, winds, and beneficial rays which go to waste because we do not yet know how to utilize them to make the wilderness blossom.”
Today, Ben-Gurion’s vision is being realized by the university that bears his name and the partnerships it has secured.