MIT and BGU Announce Seed Fund

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Ben-GurionUniversity of the Negev (BGU) in Beersheva, Israel, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, Massachusetts, signed an agreement on May 25 to create a new seed fund to finance joint research collaborations and student exchanges.

The MIT-Israel – Ben-GurionUniversity of the Negev Seed Fund is part of MISTI Global Seed Funds. MISTI will offer funds to MIT faculty and researchers to support early-stage international projects and research collaboration.

Many of the joint projects lead to publications, additional grant awards and the development of long-term relationships between international researchers and MIT faculty and students.

“We at BGU are excited and looking forward to tightening our collaboration with MIT faculty and students,” said Dean of the Faculty of Engineering Sciences Prof. Joseph Kost. “I am sure the agreement we signed will facilitate greater collaborative research, graduate student exchanges and further funding from other sources for the benefit of both institutions.”

According to David Dolev, managing director of MIT-Israel and assistant director of MISTI, “We see this as another step in creating widespread, lasting relationships between the scientific communities at MIT and BGU and hope to launch other MIT-Israel Seed Funds in specific areas of interest to both partners.”

From its inception in 2005, the MISTI-MIT Israel program has recruited, selected and placed outstanding students in unique Israel internship opportunities. In total, 40 MIT students from around the United States and dozens of other countries have had internships at BGU.

Kost added that in one 15-week program, select students from MIT come for the summer, go to universities, including BGU, and to commercial companies, such as Teva, as well. He said that the students “connect with faculty members doing work they’re interested in and spend the summer with them, for instance doing lab work. MIT’s purpose in this is to expose them to non-U.S. mentality.”

MIT’s Dean Ortiz and David Dolev, together with Prof. John Lienhard and Prof. Nicholas Negroponte, were in Israel last week as part of Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick’s Trade Mission to Israel: “Massachusetts-Israel Innovation Partnership Mission 2014.” BGU was represented by Rector Prof. Zvi Hacohen and Prof. Joseph Kost. MIT was represented at the signing by MIT-Israel Faculty Director Prof. Christine Ortiz.

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