The Advanced Technologies Park (inaugurated 2013) is a joint venture of the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev and the Be’er-Sheva Municipality, with other partners, such as: the Israeli real-estate company “Gav-Yam“; the American design & construction company KUD; and the I.D.F. Telecommunications Division. This innovative cyber & high-tech complex, that will cover ca.200,000 square meters when completed (adjacent to the Northern/University Train Station), already includes leading international companies, like: EMC, RSA, Oracle, Deutsch Telecom, Lockheed Martin, JVP Cyber Labs, WiX, Incubit (Elbit), Mellanox, CyActive (Paypal), BGN Tech Transfer (BGU), dbMotion (Allscripts), “Dalet,” RAD Data Communications, Rafael – Advanced Defense Systems, AudioCodes, NESS, WeWork, IBM, an I.D.F. Information Center, and CERT-IL (Israel’s national cyber headquarters) and more–altogether employing over 1,200 engineers & high-tech workers. Moreover, the first Israeli Center for Digital Innovation (CDI, founded 2016) is also situated in this park. By 2022, the adjacent I.D.F.’s ICT (Information & Communications Technology) Campus should also be completed and inhabited.
According to Prime Minister Benjamin (Bibi) Netanyahu, Be’er-Sheva is well on its way to becoming a “cyber capital” and one of the leading cyber powers in the World. The partnership formed by the Israel National Cyber Bureau (INCB), the Be’er-Sheva Municipality, and the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, in conjunction with other academic, industrial & military cyber hubs, form Project “CyberSpark” – a growing cyber innovation arena – 08-8656280, http://www.7×7.org.il. Since 2018, this first international cyber research center is focussing on: cyber protection and regulaton; smart transportation; and smart cities, and has a ‘living lab’ for virtual simulations.
Every year in November, the Gav-Yam Park holds an international “NexTech” Conference, at which hundreds of cyber-tech pioneers and interested participants present and hear about the latest cyber and technological innovations in the world: digital, medical, mechanical, geophysical, etc.
In 2018, the first (hopefully of many) ‘international digital-innovation think tanks’, established at the Center for Digital Innovation (CDI) in the Be’er-Sheva High-Tech Park, under the auspices of “Bigidea” (an Israeli summer-camp program for foreign youth held in English in Israel); the Be’er-Sheva Municipality & the Jewish Agency, completed its program. This special outreach program brought bright, technological-minded young people here to brainstorm together, to learn Hebrew, & to realize their potential in Be’er-Sheva – “The Opportunity Capital of Israel.”
In 2014, two Be’ershevan entrepreneurs, Eliav Elhadad and Mayan Almasi first produced the colorful, watch-like “Barkid” bracelet for keeping track of the whereabouts of children and/or senile adults. It alerts the responsible family members of their absence and provides GPS/WAZE locations for them on the guardians’ smartphones, when the wards stray farther away from them than the predetermined distance. This prevents the forgetting of babies & small children in parked cars. In 2017, they created an enhanced model called “Carefid Digicare” – https://www.barkid.co.il/pages/contact.
Prof. Moti Herskowitz (at BGU since 1979) in the Chemical Engineering Dept. served as BGU‘s Vice-President and Dean for Research and Development since 2003. His Blechner Center/I-CORE research team developed an alternative to the use of crude oils–a technique for the production of renewable fuels by the direct hydrogenation of CO2 and he developed an eco-friendly, on-vehicle hydrogen fuel system that produces the required hydrogen fuel inside the vehicle while releasing 45% less toxic CO2.
Prof. Emeritus Sidney Loeb (1917-2008, at BGU from 1967-1982) was one of the pioneersin the field of ‘reverse osmosis’ (RO) (a new source of green energy at that time). He developed a semi-permeable anisotropic [i.e., directionally-dependent] membrane and invented ‘pressure-retarded osmosis‘–both essential to the processes of desalination, food processing, waste purification, etc.
Prof. Yigal Meir (b.1957-, at BGU since 1994) of the Physics Dept. and the Ilse Katz Center for Meso- and Nanoscale Science and Technology solved the “0.7 anomaly” conductance problem in the field of nanoelectronics.
Prof. Emeritus Yigal Ronen (b.1940-, at BGU 1970-2015) served as Vice-Rector of the University and Dean of the Kreitman School for Advanced Studies (1995-2002); as Dean of the Engineering Faculty (2003-2008); as Head of the Nuclear Engineering Dept. three times; as President of the Israel Nuclear Society; and as a fellow of the American Nuclear Society. He published a book and over 180 scientific articles in the fields of nuclear science and archaeology (his hobby). Among his discoveries are: the efficient use of the element Americium as a nuclear fuel; the 27-N nuclear correlation (named the “Ronen Correlation”); Ronen‘s “GoldenRule for Cluster Radioactivity;” and for his valuable work on the ‘denaturing’ of reactor-waste plutonium by the addition of Americium to create a “proliferation-resistant fuel” that cannot be weaponized. In 2009, the Russian Academy of Sciences in Saint Petersburg awarded Prof. Ronen an honorary doctorate, their highest honor granted to any foreign scientist.
In 2007, General Manager Judah Simon and his Be’er-Sheva-based company – EST [Environmental Systems & Treatments] – developed a mobile device for treating dangerous chemical wastes by superheating them and rendering them into harmless gases.
In 2007, BGU students from the Dept. of Mechanical Engineering designed the first in a series of formula race-cars named “Spirit of Ben-Gurion” that participated in the USA 2007 FSAE [Formula Society of Automotive Engineers] Competitions. A decade later, they’re still designing and racing their latest models.
Even though the City of Be’er-Sheva sits in the middle of the Negev Desert and has no natural bodies of water at hand, a number of advanced marine technologies have originated at the BGU Zuckerberg Institute for Water Research, that just signed a collaboration agreement with the Wisconsin Water Council to jointly develop new water-related technologies. Since 2013, BGU students have also been involved in submarine technology and keep improving the autonomous RoboSub named “Hydro Camel.“
In 2006, a group of five 9th-graders (age 15-16) from the Rager High-School in the Neveh Ze’ev neighborhood (Ran Di’i, Eyal Halali, Oren Freud, Nadav Eliyahu & Tamir Zvidah) developed an inflatable sleeping bag that won them the 1st place in the 2006 Israel Southern Region Young Entrepreneurs Contest and 5th place in the national competition. They now own and manage the profitable international “Sleep Air” business.