Australian ambassador visits Ben-Gurion University

April 1, 2022 by J-Wire Newsdesk
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Australian Ambassador to Israel Paul Griffiths has been hosted by the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev.

Ben-Gurion University of the Negev President Prof. Daniel Chamovitz (left) and Australian Ambassador to Israel His Excellency Paul Griffiths shake hands in Prof. Chamovitz’s office                  Photo : Dani Machlis/BGU

During the ambassador’s first trip to BGU, he was struck by the complementarities between BGU and Australian universities.

“There is a dynamism in Israel and at BGU. A readiness to take risks and to be creative. They look to solve global problems, not just local ones. There are a lot of synergies here with Australian interests,” Ambassador Griffiths said after the visit.

The continued massive growth of investment in Israel was of particular interest.

“$26 billion was invested in Israel’s technology ecosystem last year. The technology solutions being generated here presents lots of opportunities for the Australian public and private sector..”

The Ambassador said, “Australian universities contribute significantly to global innovation and our education builds world-leading talent. Combining this with Israel’s ability to commercialise academic research presents enormous potential.”

“We will explore joint research and development and commercialization, joint proof of concepts for new technologies, and academic programs,” he added.

BGU President Prof. Daniel Chamovitz explained the unique academia-government-IDF-hospital-industry ecosystem that is emerging, which will eventually become an innovation district.

Addressing the entrepreneurial spirit that infuses BGU, Prof. Daniel Chamovitz stated: “Tech transfer is undergoing a revolution. BGU is developing a new paradigm in commercializing the innovations stemming from our research. We are proud that a third of Israel’s engineers are graduates of our university – further testimony of our focus on the significance of academia & industry collaboration. BGU is a strategic partner in the Advanced Technologies Park adjacent to the University because we want to create jobs for our graduates in the South, where the future of Israel lies.”

The ambassador noted that BGU was an up-and-coming university, “It’s amazing what they have accomplished in just 50 years.” He praised the University’s focus on global issues and its surging prominence in several fields including cyber security and drylands agriculture – two of the world’s pressing problems.

PitchBook’s 2021 ranking of the 50 leading undergraduate programs that produce the most VC-backed entrepreneurs, rated Ben-Gurion University of the Negev 44 – up two spots from 2020.Ambassador Griffiths was given briefings about BGU’s strengths in cyber security, its agriculture and biotechnology research where he learned about how the university tackles real-world problems by partnering with global MNC’s (multi-national companies) and international thought leaders, from tissue engineering and 3D printing technologies to training global MNCs on the hacker mindset.

The Ambassador noted the similarities between Australia’s drylands environment and the Negev and was intrigued by how BGU’s researchers are developing innovative solutions to allow sustainable dryland agriculture and efficient water use.

“Entrepreneurship is a state of mind, a way of thinking,” Prof. Chamovitz told Ambassador Griffiths, “We are moving the university towards company and startup building; better preparing the leaders of tomorrow; beginning with our first in class entrepreneurship center and student-led venture capital firm.”


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